Analysis of a Skeletal Population from Archaeological Site CA-SCL-134

Primary Investigator: Brieann DeOrnellas

Faculty Sponsor: Alan Levanthal

I am currently analyzing a Muwekma Ohlone ancestral skeletal population that was excavated at archaeological site CA-SCL-134 located in the City of Santa Clara.  I am conducting this research under the supervision of instructor, archaeologist, and co-principal investigator Alan Leventhal.  To obtain radiocarbon dating analyses of seven of the burials from this population, I applied for—and was awarded—the College of Social Sciences Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Grant totaling $2,280.  The AMS radiocarbon testing dated the burials to be between ~1000 BC to AD 505, thereby chronologically placing this mortuary population in the newly revised temporal Scheme D that is defined as the Lower Berkeley Pattern (+2100 – 600 BC) through the Middle 2 of the Upper Berkeley Pattern (AD 420 –AD 585).

This research provided me with new skill sets and networks, thus providing me the opportunity to work directly with and for the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area on their ancestors and ancestral heritage sites.  In May of 2017, I was invited by the Muwekma tribal leadership to work as an anthropological consultant to the tribe as an archaeological field excavator at site CA-ALA-565 located in Sunol, California.  Since then, I have been continuously working part time on that site along with four other SJSU graduate students Alisha Ragland, Arianna Heathcote, Alicia Hedges and Kanya Yoshihiro as field archaeologists and Chairwoman Rosemary Cambra, Vice Chairwoman Monica V. Arellano and tribal member Arnold Sanchez as part of the burial recovery program for this ancestral mortuary population.  Furthermore, I have also been trained as a monitor overseeing the heavy equipment subsurface excavation for utilities and other construction activities.

Working this job with integrity and cultural sensitivity has resulted in enhanced experience and the development of new competencies, as well as invitations for continued involvement as an archaeologist for the tribe.  More recently, I participated with the tribe in the burial excavation located at the Guadalupe Mines site in San Jose, and have been involved in the skeletal analysis of the Guadalupe Mines and Sunol burials along with fellow anthropology undergraduate students Leslie Hoefert and Amanda Jorgenson.

Alicia Hedges, Alisha Ragland, Arnold Sanchez, Brieann DeOrnellas and Arianna Heathcote at the Sunol Site

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