The California Department of Parks and Recreation (formerly California Division of Beaches and Parks) has been publishing the results of their archaeological and historic research for over 50 years. Beginning with the very first publication on excavations at Sutter's Fort (#1) all the way up #31 a biographical account of the careers of three prominent parks archaeologists, California State Parks has endeavored to publish the results of its investigations and management of a wide range of California's most important cultural heritage sites.

PDF copies of the archived reports are now available, below. For more information about State Parks archaeological publications, please contact Richard Fitzgerald by email at or by phone at 916-653-2030.

Papers on Old Sacramento Archeology.
1980 Archeological Report (#19)

Over the last two decades Old Sacramento has been the scene of increasingly large-scale archeological investigations. Indeed, it is possible that the Old Sacramento National Historic District, as the original mercantile heart of the city, is the most intensively investigated nineteenth-century urban site in the western United States. Most of the work has consisted of salvage excavations, the primary goal of which was rescuing from destruction the buried remains of Sacramento’s history. This report describes the resource of which all of this work has centered and to summarize the excavations that have taken place. Concomitant, the report increases both our understanding of the potential of urban archeology in Sacramento and to facilitate scientific study of the cultural remains of earlier Sacramentans.

The Bottles of Old Sacramento: a Story of Nineteenth-Century Glass and Ceramic Retail Containers, Part I.
1980 Archeological Report (#20)

This report is on the nineteenth-century bottles recovered during archeological excavations in Old Sacramento State Historic Park. It has long been obvious that in the urban deposits of this period, glass and ceramic bottles and their remnants are among the best preserved and most abundant of artifacts. The document attempts to describe and provide a historical context for all the labeled nineteenth-century bottles from this National Historic District, and includes a few artifacts from the beginning of the twentieth century as well. Information deals with both glass and ceramic containers and their closures, our criterion for inclusion being their use as containers of retail products

Papers on Merced County Prehistory. California. 
1983 Archeological Report (#21)

The excavations at CA-MER-130 marked the final phase of field work in the San Luis Reservoir area under the salvage program implemented by the California Department of Parks and Recreation for the State Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The investigation of this small upland site expands our knowledge of occupation patterns along the western edge of the San Joaquin Valley. More importantly, work here marked an introduction to problems of tribal identification base on archeological data in an area previously simply classed as Northern Valley Yohuts, by Kroeber in 1925.  The immediate concern with MER-130 was twofold: 1) were the foothill sites related to the Valley Yohuts sites, as 2) if they were indeed related, what was the specific nature of their function in the aboriginal system during the protohistoric period. These two questions are basic in any research plan for the westside region. This reports focus is site MER-130, located due east of Pacheco Pass near the juncture of the Merced, Santa Clara, and San Benito County lines. The pass was utilized prehistorically by the population of the San Joaquin Valley and from early in the Spanish period as a route to and from the valley.

Ceramic Marks from Old Sacramento. California.
1983 Archeological Report (#22)

The report is a directory of identified historic period ceramics recovered from archeological excavations in Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Thousands of marks were examined, the majority referring to potteries in Staffordshire, England. The document includes all the printed and impressed marks, found on Euroamerican dinner and utility wares recovered in Old Sacramento. A total of 238 marks are included in this report, representing 103 manufacturers and importers. This directory of marks was compiled with three objectives. First to simplify the accurate identification of ceramic marks found at Old Sacramento archeological sites. Second, provide great accuracy in dating archeological deposits in reference to specific marks, rather than to manufacturers. And third, in providing a reference for identifying and dating ceramic marks, contribute to the growing study of historic ceramics on the West Coast.

The Diaz Collection: Material Culture and Social Change in Mid-Nineteenth Century Monterey, California.
1983 Archeological Report (#23)

The Cooper-Molera Adobe in Monterey, California has long been a prominent local landmark. Build in the late 1820s by J.B.R. Cooper, an immigrant American ship captain and trader who had married into an important local family, this property was soon subdivided and went through a variety of ownerships. The longest single occupation involved the household of Manuel Diaz, a Mexican-born merchant who purchase the northwest half of the house and land in 1848.  The Adobe is operated by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, which since the 1970’s, has sponsored several archaeological investigations at the site, as part of the restoration effort. This report deals with the excavation and analysis of a single feature, a mid-nineteenth-century privy deposit, associated with the Diaz family. This study of the artifacts from the Diaz privy reviews these objects as products of understandable choices by the individual household on consumers in a particular geographic and social setting during a specific historic period.

The Chinese Laundry on Second Street: Papers on Archeology at the Woodland Opera House site.
1984 Archeological Report (#24)

The archeological record at the Woodland Opera House in Woodland, California contains evidence of the diverse use of the site. Examination of the deposits under the Opera House provided clear testimony to the presence of a harness and saddle shop established in the 1860s and Chinese laundrymen who worked there in the 1870s. As in many small towns in the western United States, Woodland’s Chinese community shrank with the dwindling numbers of immigrants and the death of its aging residents. This report details the results of historical and archeological investigations undertaken by the California Department of Parks and Recreation as part of the Woodland Opera House restoration project. The primary objectives of this work were to identify significant cultural resources and to document or recover those threatened by the impending restoration work. The historical and archeological evidence reported here is designed to reinstate the nineteenth-century Chinese residents of Woodland as an important part of the history of that community.

The Archeology of Mitchell Caverns.
1989 Archeological Report (#25)

The Mitchell Caverns are limestone caves located on the east slope of the Providence Mountains, located in the eastern Mojave Desert, San Bernardino County, California. The Chemehuevi Indians, a division of the Southern Paiute, occupied the Providence Mountains region in the historic era. In 1956, the property was obtained by the State, which opened it to the public as a park in 1958; known as the Mitchell Caverns Preserve, a part of the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area. This report documents excavations and archeological collections, numbering 295 specimens, from the Mitchell Caverns. The collections contain a large proportion of textile artifacts, including two seed beaters, only a few of which are known from archeological contexts. Many basketry fragments, sandals and cordage comprise the remainder of the textiles, as well as modified plant material. Other artifacts include three chuckwalla hooks, projectile points, hafted and unhafted knives, fire drill hearths, arrowshaft straighteners, ground sherd disks and other pottery, wood forceps, bone awls, a bone needle and a scapula grass cutter. The accumulation of data reported herein adds to the knowledge of culture history of the eastern Mojave Desert.