Metal-Detecting the Ponderosa Way PIT Project
Stanislaus National Forest, California, 2009
By Stacy Lundgren, Archaeologist
The Mi-Wok and Groveland District Archaeologists conducted a joint effort on their respective districts in the Stanislaus National Forest for the Metal-Detecting the Ponderosa Way PIT Project. The Ponderosa Way, an 800-mile-long fuelbreak, was the largest project ever undertaken by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the state of California. The Forest Service archaeologists were joined by the local area BLM archaeologist plus fourteen volunteers, who contributed a total of 472 hours of their time metal-detecting along the Way high on the ridge tops of the Sierra Nevada during four of the hottest days of the year. The week began with an outing to nearby Columbia State Park, progressed to the fieldwork, and ended with a day of artifact accessioning - cleaning, measuring, photographing, drawing all artifacts recovered from the field. While some of the artifacts had little to do with the Ponderosa Way and more to do with 1950s-era household trash, enough items were located to tell us we were on the right track. Historic maps and aerial photographs provided the clues to where to look and our volunteers provided the enthusiasm and dedication in the looking itself. This project was just the beginning in the planned documentation and interpretation of this significant resource.