We are Celebrating 50 Years of Archaeology at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park!

2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the first archaeological excavations at the Santa Barbara Presidio.  This Thursday at 7:00pm in the Presidio Chapel, Bob Hoover and Mike Imwalle, two archaeologists with decades of combined experience in the field, will be presenting an illustrated lecture on excavations at the Presidio.  To help gear up for what promises to be an informative lecture by our favorite experts, we are doing a special series on the blog.  For the next three days we will be presenting mystery objects excavated on the Presidio site.  Can you guess what they are?  All will be revealed when Mike Imwalle announces the answers at the end of the lecture on Thursday.

Here’s your first mystery object(s):  have fun!

Once You Dig It Up, What Happens to It?

By Tacy Kennedy

Tacy Kennedy with her mosaic vase, a parting gift from the 2011 Field School students.

This is a great question, and after serving as 2011 Archaeology Field School Lab Director I can give you the answer!

I have had the good fortune to be a part of the Presidio Archaeological Field School for the past two years, first as a student and then this year as the Archaeology Lab Director. After my field school I volunteered at the Presidio and learned the system used for cataloging artifacts. This later led to the opportunity to serve as lab director this summer.

Field school students excavating near the Presidio's outer defense wall. Photo by Tacy Kennedy.

During the field school, students split their time between learning excavation techniques and processing finds in the lab. The first thing that the students do in the lab is sort the artifacts by size (> or < 1/2”) and by type.

The artifacts are then counted and weighed and those measurements are recorded on inventory sheets. Most of the items fall into general categories that have been previously observed by archaeologists at the Presidio. Common artifacts are roof and floor tiles, nails, bottle glass, and various types of pottery known to have been used at this site during both the Spanish period and during later occupation.

A sampling of the objects excavated by the 2011 field school. Photo by Tacy Kennedy.

Once the sorting and recording of the artifacts has been completed, the artifacts are bagged and given to me, the lab director, along with the inventory sheets, to be entered into the official catalog on the computer. It is my job to look at each artifact or group of artifacts and evaluate whether the finds have been correctly identified. As this is a learning environment and many of the students have not come into contact with items commonly found in this area, particularly those students from other parts of the country or world, artifacts are occasionally mistakenly identified as something else. If I find that an item has been incorrectly identified, I fix the entry on the inventory sheet and notify the students of the mistake and explain to them what the item is so that they will recognize it in the future.

Field school students sorting and recording artifacts in the lab. Photo by Tacy Kennedy.

Once I decide that the artifacts have been correctly identified, I enter them into the catalog. Up to this point the artifacts have simply been categorized by type, but in the catalog each item is assigned a category (personal, military, etc.) and then within that category a general material type is chosen (masonry, ceramic, etc.). The material type is then further refined to specific material type (copper, plaster, etc) and finally the object itself is specifically identified (marble, bead, etc.). To further describe the artifact there are places to describe what portion of an artifact was found (whole, rim, etc.), the color of the artifact, and the count and weight that were recorded on the inventory sheets. Once all of the information for the artifact has been input into the computer, tags are printed and placed in the bags with the artifacts so that any future observers will know exactly what they are looking at and where it came from.

During a moment of lightness, the field school students recreate Leonardo Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" while visiting La Purísima Mission State Historic Park.

Tacy Kennedy is the winner of SBTHP’s 2011 Higman Internship. She is currently working on a Masters Degree in Human Osteoarchaeology at the University College Cork.

Thanks team, Presidio Pastimes: The Santa Barbara Presidio’s Asian American Neighborhood was a Hit!

On Saturday October 1, SBTHP hosted our second annual living history day featuring Santa Barbara’s Asian American traditions at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. Over 500 visitors attended the event to watch performances of Taiko drumming, Hula, and Tai Chi, and try their hand at origami and Chinese brush calligraphy among many other activities.

SBTHP's Asian American History Advisory Committee with Education Department staff. Top row, from the left: Peggy Hergenroether, Karen Anderson, Kay Van Horn, Ambi Harsha, Keith Mar, Deborah Cristobal. Bottom Row, from left: Meredith Brockriede, Juliet Betita, Helen Wong, Terease Chin and Paul Mori.

We are grateful to our Asian American History Advisory Committee for their boundless enthusiasm and hard work in pulling off this ambitious event. SBTHP maintains many volunteer committees who assist with all of our projects and programs. We rely on these community members for the creativity, dedication to partnership, and sweat equity that help take our programs from good to great.  Thanks team—and we can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Take a Seat in the Presidio Chapel!

Several years ago SBTHP board member Tim Aguilar showed us a Mission-period bench he had acquired. Tim noted that a few benches of the same design would be appropriate additions to the Presidio Chapel.    Although we know that most of the residents of the Presidio would have kneeled on floor mats during services, a few benches like Tim’s likely lined the walls during the early-nineteenth century.  A recent donation by Virginia Ridder made reproduction of Tim’s bench possible.   Thanks to the hard work of Tim and many interns, students, an experienced carpenter, and a talented blacksmith, we now have seven reproduction benches lining the walls of the Presidio chapel.   Want to view the world from the perspective of an early nineteenth-century Spanish resident of the Presidio?   Next time you visit, pop into the Chapel and take a seat!

Carpenter Moises Rodriguez cutting wood for the benches. Photo by Mke Imwalle.
Archaeology intern Frank Arredondo assembling the benches. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Blacksmith Moises Solis from La Purisima Mission State Historic Park making hand-forged nails for the benches. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Tim Aguilar priming the benches. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
2011 Presidio Archaeology Field School students (with their instructor, SBTHP Board President Bob Hoover, on the left) add the final coat of paint. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
The benches installed along the walls of the Presidio Chapel. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

Are You Ready? Thai on a Truck is Coming to the Presidio Neighborhood!

Thai on a Truck. Courtesy of Karen Tripp of the blog http://www.warningsugarygoodness.com

This Saturday from 11am -3pm, Thai on a Truck, one of Santa Barbara’s premier gourmet food trucks, will make an appearance on Canon Perdido Street in front of the Presidio.  The truck’s visit to the neighborhood coincides with Presidio Pastimes: The Santa Barbara Presidio’s Asian American Neighborhood, a free living history day that will celebrate all of the Asian and Asian American traditions in our community.  In honor of the diversity of Asian foodways, Thai on a Truck will be offering a a pan-Asian menu for this event.  Our staff can recommend the basil stir-fry with shrimp.  What do you plan to try?

Sushi Making: “The rice is like glue!”

Sushi-making instructor Fukiko Miyazaki. Photo by Amanda Gonzalez.
By Amanda Gonzalez

On Saturday, September 10 the first of four workshops from the Arts and Traditions of the Presidio Neighborhood Workshop Series was held at the Japanese restaurant, Kobachi. Fukiko Miyazaki, owner of Studio Nihon, led the workshop in an ambient room filled with murals depicting men fishing and various other sea life. Fukiko was assisted by Chikako Shinagawa, a lecturer of Japanese linguistics and language pedagogy at UCSB.

Fukiko Miyazaki assisted by Chikako Shinagawa. Photo by Amanda Gonzalez.

The restaurant was filled with laughter and enjoyment as Fukiko taught the group the history of sushi in Japan, the history of the California Roll, and other traditions from Japan. Fukiko taught how to make Makizushi or California Roll sushi, a Vegetarian Roll, and Temakizushi or Hand Roll sushi.

One of the favorite stories among the group was about Fukiko’s grandmother who taught her that rice is like glue. The group had the opportunity to learn this firsthand when they used rice to make the Nori seaweed stick together, a necessary step in making the Hand Roll sushi.

David Bolton looks on as another workshop participant chops cucumber. Photo by Amanda Gonzalez.

Once all three types of sushi were made, the group indulged in their delicious creations, accompanied by soothing green tea. At the end of the afternoon everyone thanked Fukiko and Chikako for an exciting afternoon where they successfully learned a new skill. The workshop ended and people left with recipes for sushi and a newfound skill set. Our participants wanted to know how to express their thankfulness in Japanese, so Fukiko and Chikako taught the appropriate response, arigatou gozaimasu or thank you very much.

ありがとうございました (arigatou gozaimashita) to Fukiko, Chikako, and to all our participants! If you missed the workshop, you’ll have the opportunity to meet Fukiko at Presidio Pastimes on October 1st! Learn more about Studio Nihon.

The workshop participants enjoying the fruits of their labor. The author is in the green sweatshirt. Photo by Meredith Brockriede.
Amanda Gonzalez is the Office Manager at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.

Rare Books Owned by the de la Guerra Family Now at the Presidio Research Center

By Torie Quiñonez

The Presidio Research Center recently received a donation of the personal papers of Delfina de la Guerra, the last member of that illustrious family to reside in the Casa de la Guerra. Delfina was born in 1861, and was the daughter of Pablo de la Guerra and Josefa Moreno y Castro. Aside from her travels as a young woman, she spent her whole life at the Casa, until just ten years before her death, when she went to live with a friend who cared for her until she died.

Torie Quiñonez looks for identifying marks to help date and catalog the de la Guerra books. Photo by Anne Petersen

The woman with whom Delfina spent the last years of her life was a relative of the Campbell family, currently of Virginia. They inherited a trunk that had been left with various family members and ended up having belonged to Delfina de la Guerra. A trove of personal effects from the trunk was brought to us by the Campbells, including two eighteenth century books that probably belonged to her.

One of the books is a guide to the holy city of Rome for the Catholic tourist. Printed in 1769, the year of the first Spanish occupation of Alta California, this book was almost 100 years old by the time Delfina could read it.

The other book, printed in 1788, is a work in Latin by a Father Franciscus (or Franz) Henno. It appears to have been intended for use in the religious and moral instruction of young people. If anyone reading this blog knows more about Father Henno, please comment!

These books will be cataloged and added to the Research Center’s small collection of rare books, while remaining intellectually linked to the Delfina de la Guerra Collection from which they originate.

Torie Quiñonez is the librarian at the Presidio Research Center, a library and archive available to the public by appointment at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park

It Takes a Village to Tend the Presidio

On Saturday September 17, SBTHP hosted about twenty volunteers who signed up to work at nonprofits all over Southern California through United Way’s Day of Caring event.

Turning new compost into the vegetable garden on the Presidio Northeast Corner. Photo by Anne Petersen

The volunteers accomplished a tremendous amount of work at the Presidio in four short hours, including whitewashing adobe walls, preparing beds for a winter garden, and making adobe bricks.

Preparing the furrows for a new crop of wheat. The volunteer team from Pacifica Suites rocked! Photo by Anne Petersen

For more photos of Day of Caring at the Presidio, look for the winter issue of La Campana, SBTHP’s membership publication (Not a member? Join today!).

Whitewashing new plaster patches on adobe walls. Photo by Anne Petersen

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