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Western National Parks Association; Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
two kids throw spears at cutouts of ice age animals
Celebrate Archeology Day
Performances, games, activities, and more!
Saturday, October 16 | 10 AM–3 PM

October is California Archeology Month and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is celebrating with Archeology Day. Bring the entire family for a day of fun! Activities include:

  • Observe Native American performances
  • Dig up "artifacts" in the hands-on dig box
  • Throw an atlatl spear
  • Watch flint knapping demonstrations
  • See genuine local artifacts on display
  • Enjoy presentations by local archeologists
  • Become a Junior Archeologist
Presented by the National Park Service (NPS), California State Parks, and Western National Parks Association

Speaker Program:

10:30 AM–Native Songs & Stories
Ted and Dennis Garcia, Chumash elders
Chumash Native American elders Ted and Dennis Garcia lead a blessing followed by an indigenous story and song program.

12 PM–Boats, Basques, Beets, & Bosses
Dr. Colleen Delaney, California State University Channel Islands
Rancho Guadalasca was a Mexican-era land grant located on the edge of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Oxnard Plain. This talk focuses on lesser-known residents and events from the 19th century, including Basque sheepherders, Japanese sugar beet farmers, a steamship line, and homicide.

1 PM–Bearing Witness: A Legacy Oak Tree and its Mysterious Contents
Austin Ringelstein, NPS archeologist and Master Cruz, NPS park guide
Come and “witness” bottles and real artifacts found inside the trunk of the historic Witness Tree oak at Paramount Ranch. Learn some history about the site, learn from an archeologist how to date glass bottles, and help try to solve the mystery of the origins of these items!

1:30 PM–Bullets, Bottles, & Bricks: Stories and Finds from a Santa Monica Mountains Homestead
Ryan Ballard, family descendant; Professor Patty Colman, Moorpark College; Austin Ringelstein, NPS archeologist; CSUN student volunteers
This presentation includes stories about the life and legacy of African American homesteader Alice Ballard and information about the artifacts found after the Woolsey Fire that potentially reveal her cabin site.

All-day Activities:

Flintknapping Demonstrations (all ages)
Come and see the methods and techniques that Native Americans used in the past to create stone tools for hunting, processing food, and making everyday equipment.

Atlatl Demonstrations (all ages)
Learn how to use an atlatl to increase the throwing distance of a spear, then try your hand at it! This ancient technology was used around the world before the development of the bow and arrow.

Replica Historic Artifact Display Table (all ages)
Take a look at a variety of replica artifacts from the historic period, and learn how archeologists use these artifacts to determine the age and function of a site.

Replica Prehistoric Artifact Display Table (all ages)
Explore a variety of replica artifacts from the prehistoric period, and learn how archeologists use these artifacts to determine the age and function of a site.

Post-Woolsey Fire & Leave No Trace (all ages)
Come see real artifacts from the Santa Monica Mountains, found in the field after the Woolsey Fire and recovered from the NPS curation facility. Learn about Leave No Trace ethics and what to do if you find an artifact out on the trail.

Sand Box Archeology (children)
Play archeologist for a day! Learn how to carefully excavate artifacts from the Native American, Mission, and historic American periods, and see how these artifacts can tell us about how people lived.

Junior Ranger Activity (children)
Become a Junior Archeologist of the Santa Monica Mountains and earn a Junior Archeologist patch!

Archeology Coloring Pages and Archeology Laboratory (children)
Learn about the techniques of archeology while coloring images of artifacts, archeology tools, and field activities. Back in the lab, you need to analyze and document each artifact in order to help recreate the story of the site. Learn how to analyze your own artifact and how you can help protect the past!

Angeles National Forest (all ages)
Hands-on activity grinding acorns and learning methods that Native Americans used in the past to harvest and process food.

JMA Associates Archeology and Paleontology (all ages)
Learn the difference between archeology and paleontology; hint: archeologists don’t dig dinosaurs!

This is a free event with free parking. For more information, email samo@wnpa.org or call 805-370-2302. For directions to the Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center, click here.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center
King Gillette Ranch
26876 Mulholland Highway
Calabasas, CA  91302


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