|Archaeology and Restoration
2011 Santa Barbara Presidio
Archaeological research has played an integral role in the development of El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park for nearly forty years. James Deetz conducted the first known archaeological excavation of the Presidio site in 1961. During the late-1960s and early 1970s a dedicated group known as the Presidio Volunteers focused excavations on the Chapel site and the adjoining Padre's Quarters. Using the 1788 Goicoechea/Fages plan as their guide, they also excavated at various locations around the quadrangle in order to determine the alignment and location of the original Presidio quadrangle. This information would provide the basis for the eventual reconstruction of portions of El Presidio de Santa Bárbara.
During the past five decades the site of El Presidio de Santa Bárbara has been the focus of numerous educational archaeology programs. During the 1970s students from Santa Barbara Junior High School, Santa Barbara High School, and Santa Barbara City College participated in archaeological investigations at the Presidio. In 1983 an archaeological field school from the University of California, Santa Barbara began exploratory excavations in the northeast corner of the Presidio quadrangle. Field schools sponsored by California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1994 and 1995 concentrated on the identification of Presidio structures in the northwest corner of the quadrangle. In 1996, 1998, and 2000, California State University, Long Beach conducted field classes at the Presidio using various geophysical techniques. Seismic resistivity, proton and cesium magnetometers, and ground penetrating radar were introduced to students as they surveyed the Rochin Adobe property in search of the southeast corner of the Presidio. Archaeological education programs have also been conducted for Girls Incorporated, Girl Scouts, and Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara.
Presidio artifacts representing cooking and food preparation are the most common items recovered from the excavations. Clothing related items and personal items such as coins and beads have also been recovered in large quantities. Dozens of artifacts from recent Presidio excavations are featured in the exhibit Memorias y Facturas currently on display in the northeast corner of the Presidio quadrangle.
SBTHP archaeological staff has also overseen the stabilization of El Cuartel, the oldest adobe in the California State Parks system. El Cuartel is an original Presidio adobe (1788) designed to house a soldier and his family. Stabilization work was funded by a grant from the California Department of Parks and Recreation's Cultural Stewardship Program. The stabilization work included the removal of a concrete slab from the interior of the building and repairing damage from basal erosion on the exterior. With the adobe wall stabilization completed, SBTHP archaeological staff is now working with a team of architects and engineers to develop a plan to seismically retrofit the adobe.
SBTHP's archaeological staff continues to conduct field, archival, and laboratory research on a number of ongoing projects within El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park as well as other SBTHP owned properties. Ongoing research projects are being conducted at Casa de la Guerra, the Santa Inés Mission Mills, and the Rochin adobe.
Plan Your Visit
The Presidio Archaeology Laboratory is located at 916 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.
|El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park • Casa de la Guerra • Santa Inés Mission Mills • Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens
123 East Canon Perdido Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 • (805) 965-0093 • FAX (805) 568-1999 • www.sbthp.org
|© 2010 Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. A 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. JAB Design|