Living Room Lecture: Western Colorado Desert
This presentation discusses the results of archaeological studies within the western Colorado Desert of Southern California over the past 100 years. The region represents the traditional lands of the Cahuilla, Kumeyaay (Ipai and Tipai), and Kwaaymii. Malcolm Rogers worked in the western Colorado Desert during the 1920s and 1930s and made important observations about pictographs, petroglyphs, geoglyphs, cleared circles, trails, house remains, and other cultural remains throughout the region. A summation of results and a commentary of the major excavation projects in the study area from the 1950s through the 2000s are also offered, as well as the results of certain site survey projects. Michael Sampson’s observations about site survey data within this region will consist primarily of the cleared circle sites and similar sites, as well as certain occupation sites and food processing sites. The archaeological remains of this study area predominately date to the Late Prehistoric Period and early historic period; evidence of cultural remains from the Archaic Period is relatively sparse. However, the Archaic Period is well represented at Indian Hill Rockshelter, a site that will be discussed.
The archaeological data from the study area reflect rich, long-held cultural practices that seem consistent with ethnographic accounts and indicate people with strong ties to these lands. Mr. Sampson’s research demonstrates that the Indigenous people of the region viewed their land holistically and chose places for use due to a favorable geographic setting, the presence of certain natural resources, and an inherent spiritual nature in specific landscape features and particular locations. The desert also possesses the capacity to inspire, to evoke memories in oral traditions, and otherwise promote knowledge and well-being.
Date: Thursday, June 15, 2023
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Online on Zoom
Cost: Pay what you wish
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About the Presenter
Michael Sampson is a retired California State Parks archaeologist; in his career, he worked throughout the state but primarily in Southern California. His research interests include California Archaeology (in particular, the Colorado Desert and local mountains), stone tool technology and function, ceramic artifacts, traditional fiber technology, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, California red wines, and others. Michael has a BA in Anthropology from CSU, Northridge and a MA in Anthropology from Washington State University. He is co-director of a California non-profit research organization, Center for Research in Traditional Culture of the Americas. Michael coauthored the California Archaeological Resources Protection Act with Dr. Susan Hector for which they were awarded a Governor’s Historic Preservation Award in 2011. Michael was awarded an Excellence in Cultural Resource Management Award by the Society for California Archaeology in 2013. In 2016, Michael was given the Award of Honor by the San Diego Congress of History for his contributions to the preservation of history in our region. Michael is also a long-time volunteer in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.