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7.2: Activity 1 - Excavating the Land of Candy - A Cultural Resource Management Exercise

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    Darcy L. Wiewall, Antelope Valley College

    In this exercise, you have been hired to record and submit required Resource Record DPR (Department of Parks and Recreation) forms for an archaeological site that was discovered during construction of a new building at the college. The site has been temporarily identified as the “Candyland” site. The first part of this exercise requires you to participate in a team recording the newly discovered archaeological site, and the second part requires you to complete Resource Record DPR forms for submission to the California Office of Historic Preservation. You will be put into a team to complete this assignment.

    Part 1: Recording Instructions

    1. Determine the site boundary. This is a team discussion. Each team will survey the site and determine its extent. When the density of the artifacts diminishes, each team should define a line as where they think the site boundary ends and mark it with the pin flags.
    2. Determine what archaeological materials are present. After marking the site boundary, the teams will mark the archaeological materials present (clusters of artifacts, ecofacts, and features) with pin flags. They will be mapped later.
    3. Determine the site’s dimensions. Based on the site boundaries, determine the size of the site in meters (e.g., 15 meters east/west by 22 meters north/south).
    4. Determine a scale for the site map. Your site map must fit on 8.5 x 11 inch graph paper. Allow room on the page for the north arrow, site name, scale indicator, team names (first and middle initials and last name (e.g., D.L. Wiewall)), date, and key/legend used to identify the types of artifacts, ecofacts, and features.
    5. Determine the best place for your datum. Where on the site can you observe and map all of the artifacts, ecofacts, and features?
    6. Overall site data. Each team will work together to determine and record the bearings in degrees, distances in meters, and densities of the features, artifacts, and ecofacts from the datum. Divide your team into pairs and have each pair record a different area of the site. For example, one pair can be in charge of recording the data (degrees, meters, description) and drawing the overall site map while the other pairs record information for identified activity areas. The data collected by each pair will be shared with the team to complete a final site map. Each cluster of artifacts, ecofacts, and features will be referred to as a locus (singular) and the collection of densities as loci (plural).
      1. Individual locus data: Record the bearing in degrees and the distance in meters from the datum point to each identified feature, artifact, and/or ecofact locus. Each feature and locus should have its own designations (e.g., Locus 1 Feature 1 and Locus 1 Feature 2).
      2. Inventory and Description of each locus. After determining how many loci the site contains, each student pair is to write a detailed description of the activity area describing the features, artifacts, and ecofacts present. Each pair must complete an inventory of the materials. For example, record the number of artifacts and ecofacts and describe them by color, size, shape, and condition, referring to the following key to determine what types of materials you are identifying (e.g., manos, projectile points, Gopherus agassizii bones).
      3. Interpretation. As a team, hypothesize about the activities that could have occurred at the site and at each locus.
    7. Part I Final Submission: Each team will submit (1) a site map, (2) an inventory and description of each locus, and (3) an overall interpretation of what activities are thought to have taken place at the site.

    Key to the artifacts/ecofacts


    1. Mano = small and large pink and green eggs
    2. Metate = black eggs
    3. Pestle = turquoise eggs
    4. Hammer stone = red and black striped eggs


    1. debitage = multi-colored candy in clear wrappers
    2. flake tools = multi-colored eggs
    3. bifaces = small and large blue eggs
    4. projectile points = butterscotch-colored and red-colored candy wrappers
    5. cores = small and large purple eggs
    6. obsidian = orange eggs
    7. fire-affected rocks = blue camouflage eggs


    1. Brownware pottery sherds = small and large yellow eggs


    1. Antilocapra americana = gold-foil butter-n-cream candy
    2. Lepus spp. = red striped candy
    3. Sylvilagus spp.= green striped candy
    4. Gopherus agassizii = strawberry wrapped candy

    Part 2: Completion of the Resource Record Form

    In the second part of the exercise, you will complete the four required Resource Record DPR 523 forms provided in Appendix 4. Consult the Resource Attribute Codes (also in Appendix 4) to complete the forms. Additional information on how to complete these forms can be found in the Office of Historic Preservation’s manual for recording of cultural resources (

    Note that the Primary Record P3a and Archaeological Record A4, A5, and A13 descriptions should be as specific as you can make them based on the types of artifacts, ecofacts, and features present. Use the assigned articles and other resources to describe what is present and determine what activities and behaviors took place at the site. Completed DPR sample forms will be provided to you.

    What type of site do you have? How did you determine this? Be creative! Be sure to describe the flora and fauna associated with your site.