Native Americans have relied on the changing natural resources of the Morro Bay region for the past 8,000 years - hunting, gathering, and fishing from local camps and villages. Archaeological sites contain the physical remains of these past activities and environments, and archaeologists, Native Americans, and scientists from various disciplines work together to collect and interpret the information that lies in the ground. Although our predecessors left no written history, the oral traditions of their descendants, combined with physical evidence uncovered during archaeological excavations, can create a picture, as yet incomplete, of past lifeways.
Archaeologists begin an investigation with certain questions in mind, such as:
- How old is the site?
- How long did people live here?
- How did they obtain and prepare their food?
- How has the natural environment changed over the last 8,000 years?
Objects and features found at a site - stone and bone tools, plant and animal remains, house pits and fire hearths - are examined to answer these and other questions about how human cultures have changed over time.
Most archaeological studies conducted in California are the result of construction projects. Fortunately, State and Federal laws protect archaeological sites, so we are able to retrieve information that would otherwise be lost. It must be remembered, however, that archaeological excavations, by their very nature, are destructive, so studies must be conducted in a controlled and systematic manner, with careful documentation of each find.
For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.