Herb DallasHerb Dallas, Jr.
Associate State Archaeologist (Retired)

Information Phone: 916-653-2030

As Associate State Archaeologist, I worked for State Parks for 24 years. I started working with Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) in their HQ in Sacramento.

My early projects in DPR included surveys in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Calaveras Big Trees SP, Bodie SHP, Columbia SHP, Martin Ranch, (potential OHV parcel near Coalinga Junction) and Marshall Gold Discovery SHP. Recently I have been conducting excavations in Pio Pico SHP in Whittier, in Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu, and in Gaviota State Park near Santa Barbara.

Professional Interests:  They include adobe buildings, historic sites, especially Spanish colonial sites, aboriginal settlements, prehistoric hunter/gatherer societies, and prehistoric cultural change and adaptation. Archaeology is an exciting field and the diversity of sites and subject areas in DPR is vast. Today we are undergoing a renaissance in California Archaeology and Archaeology in general. One day, I might be restoring a historic adobe in Malibu and the next week surveying for California Indian sites in Santa Susanna near Chatsworth. We have recently completed a restoration of an 1840’s adobe in Whittier, California. We decided to restore this adobe to a period that we had well documented: the early 1880’s. This called for me to conduct diverse studies from geophysical studies, soil, pollen, to restoring hardware, excavating inside and outside the adobe, and managing a video project on the adobe and the life of Pio Pico. Recently I participated in Huell Howser’s program on the restoration of the Pio Pico adobe for his video series on PBS: California Gold©.

Educational Background:  I hold a B.A. degree in Anthropology with a concentration in Archaeology and a minor in English. I spent two summers excavating sites in the Four Corners area in a park called Hovenweep National Monument (thanks to NSF grants). It was an exciting time of investigating early agricultural practices, prehistoric towers, and prehistoric water control devices called check dams and rim dams. The experience was life changing. Our crew visited Canyon de Chelly, Mesa Verde National Park, and the Hopi Mesas. This experience was enough to convince me to change my major from Physics to Anthropology. Subsequently came archeological surveys in California and once I graduated from college to start working for private Cultural Resource Management (CRM) firms throughout California. These firms are hired by agencies or developers to evaluate cultural resources following legal and professional guidelines. They are now the largest employers of Archeologists in the nation.

I have surveyed and excavated throughout California and I have recorded sites in virtually every major county in California. I have also excavated in a rock-shelter in southwestern France that dated to 22,000 years ago as well. Just after entering graduate school, I got a call from DPR who had a couple of job openings for archeologists. I interviewed with them and they hired me to work in State Parks. My first project was a survey in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. We recorded several archeological sites: including a historic shingle mill, work camp, and a couple of prehistoric sites. What a great opportunity for me, as the agency not only had a wide variety of archeological sites throughout California but they owned the land and hence controlled the protection of the resources that would be worked on.

After working in HQ for a few years, another new position opened up in Monterey with their regional office. This was a new position that entailed working on sites in the Central Coast area as a first line of defense for Parks to protect resources. It truly was exciting and overwhelming. I had responsibilities in 7 Park Districts, with about 76 parks, and hundreds of archeological sites and dozens of historic buildings. At first it was only me. One park alone had about 60,000 acres of land. The jurisdiction extended from San Francisco in the North to Ventura in the south. I conducted small excavations at historic sites like the cottage in Pt. Lobos SR, the Spooner Ranch House in Montana de Oro, Santa Cruz Mission adobe, Las Cruces adobe, Chumash sites in San Luis Obispo, La Purisima Mission, and many others. We have had external threats to cultural resources from utility companies, developer’s, and oil companies. I have been involved with several legal cases and worked with the California Attorney General’s Office as an expert witness. The work involved frequent travel.

Chumash Millingstone site at Leo Carrillo State ParkIn recent years I worked in the Southern Service Center in San Diego. The diversity of projects here has been dramatic as well. I have worked on general plans for parks Like Leo Carrillo State Park, Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park, Los Angeles State Historic Park, Antelope Valley Indian Museum, and La Purisima Mission SHP. I have conducted surveys in Cuyamaca Rancho SP, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Crystal Cove State Park, Gaviota State Park, Leo Carrillo State Park, and Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park.

Excavations have been conducted in Pio Pico State Historic Park, Leo Carrillo State Park, Crystal Cove State Park, and Gaviota State Park. Leo Carrillo SP presented some exciting discoveries. We excavated this classic Millingstone Chumash site (yes, that is right a Chumash site that was over 8,000 years old, and found that it had been occupied since 8500 years before present (B.P.). Chumash site pictured at the right.

We found the inhabitants had been fishing, hunting, using boats for travel, but were fairly sedentary contrary to popular belief at this time. This data is teaching us a lot about their lifestyle: what they ate, how they lived, & what tools they used.

Pio Pico Abode, Whitter CaliforniaAnother large project was the restoration of the Pio Pico Adobe (pictured here) and the reconstruction of the cultural landscape from the 1880’s.

If you like the outdoors, hiking, and the natural and cultural environment, you might be interested in archeology. You have to enjoy problem solving and have an analytical mind.

My personal interests include fly fishing, wine tasting, reading, hiking, and baseball card collecting. I like to watch old movies. I am a Laurel and Hardy fan.