Ishi Wilderness Survey II 2016 - Passport in Time

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California - Lassen NF
Closed! Ishi Wilderness Archaeological Survey and Site Monitoring, Part II

Ishi Wilderness by USDA Forest Service via Wikimedia Commons
Black Rock in the Ishi Wilderness

June 6-12, 2016 (including weekends)

Must commit to full session

The beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains have been explored and settled by representatives of many cultures throughout history. However, the first to call the area home were the Yana. This indigenous people were comprised of four groups: the Northern Yana, the Central Yana, the Southern Yana, and the Yahi. Each group had relatively distinct boundaries, dialects and customs, but all lived on wild game, salmon, fruit, acorns, and roots. Their territories encompassed approximately 2400 square miles of mountain streams, gorges, boulder-strewn hills, and lush meadows. This remote area of rugged landscape represents some of the last known hiding and refuge areas of the Yahi-Yana Native Americans. Unfortunately, after contact with Euro-American settlers (ca. 1848), the Yahi-Yana were virtually eradicated and, in fact, thought extinct until a lone survivor, named Ishi, came out of hiding in 1911. Ishi died in 1925 and, with his passing, the Yahi-Yana ceased to be federally recognized as formal tribes.

This was a tragic event in history, but the Yahi-Yana left their mark on the land, and the region in which they lived and thrived for centuries is home to abundant occupation, subsistence, and tool-production sites. Sadly, archaeological sites in this area also have a long history of destruction and looting damage. This year’s project will entail archaeological survey and site condition assessments in the Ishi Wilderness along Deer Creek, and aims to identify and record newly discovered archaeological sites and monitor the condition of known sites. PIT volunteers will once again join Forest archaeologists, who will teach (or hone) basic survey and site recording skills, such as compass use and navigation, map reading, artifact and feature identification, GPS use, proper recording of finds on site forms, and sketch maps. With these skills, teams will perform archaeological survey, record discovered sites, and monitor known sites for damage. This is an important project in a beautiful and archaeologically rich environment – we hope you’ll join us for another “hike into the past” this June!

Number of openings: 6

Special skills: Volunteers must be physically capable of hiking long distances (~5-7 miles each day) over rough, and often steep terrain, in a variety of weather and environmental conditions (poison oak is common, and temperatures can be in the 90s); previous archaeological survey, mapping, artifact identification, sketching, GPS, and/or site recording experience helpful, but not required

Minimum age: 18 years old

Facilities: Primitive, creek-side, tent camping available at no charge; chemical toilets and water provided by FS; volunteers responsible for personal camping equipment, meals, and transportation to camp (Note: high-clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles are needed to access the camping area; rides can be provided at need – if selected, please inform the project leader if you will need a ride at the time you are contacted)

Nearest towns: Chico, (35 miles over rough, dirt roads)

Applications due: April 18, 2016
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