The San Diego Royal Presidio is the most significant archaeological site on the entire West Coast and the City of San Diego is just using it to grow grass!” laments Paul Chace, Ph.D., a local archaeologist who has taken it upon himself to promote the study and development of this historic site located on the hill in Presidio Park overlooking Old Town.
“The Presidio, founded by Spanish soldiers, sailors and missionaries, and in use from 1769 to 1834, was the first European settlement on the Pacific Coast. It marks the origin site of our city. Buried beneath the grass on Presidio Hill is a large fortress about 300 feet square, with walls, bastions, living units, chapels and a cemetery where more than 200 of our first citizens are buried.
“This site needs to be studied and interpreted and brought to the attention of the world as a World Heritage site,” said Chace, who is not alone in his evaluation of the importance of the Royal Presidio. Read more.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Two skeletons that rested undisturbed on a San Diego cliff top for nearly 10,000 years are at the center of a modern court battle.
The University of California, San Diego, had intended to transfer the skeletons of a man and woman to a American Indian tribe for traditional burial. But lawsuits are complicating the plan.
The bones were discovered in 1976 during an excavation at University House, the traditional La Jolla home of the UC San Diego chancellor. The university was preparing to hand over the bones to the local Kumeyaay tribe when three UC professors filed a lawsuit Monday in Northern California to block the transfer.
Margaret Schoeninger of UC San Diego, Robert Bettinger of UC Davis and Timothy White of UC Berkeley argue that the bones are precious research objects and there is no evidence that they are Native American remains.
In a declaration, Schoeninger said the skeletons were not buried in a way consistent with ancient Kumeyaay practices and collagen taken from the bones indicated the two ate ocean fish and mammals different from that of the tribe. Read more.
In the back rooms of the San Diego Archaeological Center, Ad Muniz oversees thousands of artifacts that illuminate the region’s distant past.
Stacked on massive rolling shelves are Indian relics dating back some 10,000 years: From tiny flakes of rock —— byproducts of arrowhead production —— to large portable grinding stones that once helped sustain indigenous families, the collections represent the evidence of people throughout the ages discovered at some 20,000 sites around the county.
As the center’s collections manager, Muniz is directly responsible for the proper cataloging and storage of this historical treasure, and after decades of work in the county and overseas, he still can’t take his mind off of the artifacts. Read more.
SAN DIEGO — Two ancient skeletons uncovered in 1976 on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, during construction at the home of a University of California chancellor, may be among the most valuable for genetic analysis in the continental United States. Dated between 9,000 and 9,600 years old, the exceptionally preserved bones could potentially produce the oldest complete human genome from the continent.
But only if scientists aren’t barred from studying them.
Attempts to unlock the skeletons’ genetic secrets are stalled in a dispute pitting UC scientists against their own administration. Five of the scientists wrote with alarm in a letter published May 20 in the journal Science that UC administrators aren’t allowing studies on the skeletons, which were discovered on property owned by UC San Diegoin La Jolla, California. Read more.