An Archaeological Analysis of Craft Production in the San Francisco Bay Area Shellmounds

Summer 2010

Fanya Becks : Anthropology

Mentor: Kent Lightfoot, Anthropology

My summer research involves analyzing old archaeological collections to study the meaning of a specific type of site unique to the San Francisco Bay Area and Delta regions, shellmounds, for evidence of craft production. I will be looking through lots of shell material and soil samples for evidence of stone tool and shell bead production, in the form of stone manufacturing debris and possibly drilled or shaped shell. Evidence of production in these sites can help establish the types of uses and meanings that shellmounds had in California’s prehistory as well as add information about the everyday activities of the Coast Miwok and Ohlone peoples in the Bay Region.

The opportunity to do research over the summer gives me the chance to really dig into research for my senior thesis. With the 8 weeks this summer exclusively dedicated to working on my research I will be able to look at a whole extra site at least and possibly two so that I will have a wider base of evidence to draw conclusions from. On a personal level, having been chosen for the opportunity to stay and do research has really helped me connect with the graduate students in my department and access information as more of a colleague than a student. It is helping to build my confidence that archeological research is something that I can succeed in as a career.