Archaeological Data Recovery for the Santa Clara University Garage and Art and Art History Building
Client: Santa Clara University
Location: Santa Clara County
Project Manager: Sarah Peelo
• Albion’s senior archaeologists are experts in California Colonial Period archaeology and managed a large crew of archaeologists excavating features and processing artifacts from the only Indian village associated with a mission ever thoroughly examined in California.
• We developed a consortium of experts to analyze and interpret the unique artifacts uncovered during this project, previously undiscovered in a California mission setting, providing new insight into the indigenous experience in this historical moment.
• Our team’s scientific and technical skills enabled us to reduce the impacts of construction to this important resource through data recovery, analysis, reporting, and public interpretation, resulting in the successful expansion of Santa Clara University.
One way Santa Clara University continually responds to the needs of their growing student population is through campus expansion. The construction of a parking garage and new Art and Art History academic building were part of the University’s development plans. Given the known archaeological sensitivity of the campus, Albion developed and executed a detailed cultural resources mitigation plan for this project. In the planning stage, Albion collaborated with the University’s planning and design team, as well as engineering and construction subcontractors to maximize resource preservation, thereby reducing the cost and time needed for archaeological excavation and analysis. This project required not only Albion’s expertise in mitigation planning, but also in testing, data recovery, and construction monitoring. We monitored the mechanical excavation of the project area, identified and documented a number of archaeology features, and directed the hand-excavation of those determined to be significant under CEQA. We cataloged and analyzed the recovered artifacts, and are currently drafting a multi-volume data recovery report.
Our on-going investigation has revealed that the project is within the Indian village at Mission Santa Clara. The archaeological data recovered from this unique and significant site offer a rare perspective on the indigenous experience in a colonial setting. We are using archaeological data derived from this project to create avenues for dialog between the University, tribal communities, and the general public, and also to engage with scholars in professional archaeological and historical societies. The first art exhibit in the new Art and Art History building displays sketches of artifacts recovered beneath the building’s footprint. The University is working with Native American consultants to develop and install interpretations of indigenous life at the Mission within the landscape near the project site. In addition, Albion has presented findings from this project to professional societies, such as the Society for California Archaeology.