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Ancient Site Discovered at Channel Islands National Park

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Photo courtesy National Park Service

courtesy National Park Service

June 3, 2017
The National Park Service (NPS) discovered a significant ancient Native American site while conducting archeological monitoring during a rehabilitation project of the historic Main Ranch House on Santa Rosa Island.

Archeologists discovered artifacts characteristic of ancient Paleocoastal sites that were occupied by the first islanders on the northern Channel Islands between 8,000 and 13,000 years ago.

Scientists now believe that ancient sites from this period may be evidence of a coastal migration following the North Pacific Rim from Northeast Asia into the Americas, part of the peopling of the new world.

The ancient site was discovered under the Main Ranch House, part of the historic Vail and Vicker Ranch at Bechers Bay, in the process of lifting the building to construct a new foundation.

“The northern Channel Islands have one of the largest and most significant clusters of early coastal sites in the Americas with more than 100 sites over 7,500 years old,” said Jon Erlandson, University of Oregon Archeologist and leading expert on Paleocoastal archaeology. “We suspect the site is at least 10,000 years old, with evidence of some of the earliest people on the West Coast, the first Americans.”

Among the artifacts uncovered were two types of stone tools that are distinctly representative of early North American Paleoindians —Channel Islands barbed points and crescents. Made from local island chert and used for hunting and fishing, they are signatures of a sophisticated technology of early tool making on the Channel Islands.

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Mammoth excavation at Channel Isands

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Mammoth skull unearthed at Channel Islands. Photo courtesy National Park Service

A team of archeologists and paleontologists is unearthing a well-preserved mammoth skull from Santa Rosa Island in Channel Islands National Park, California.

The skull, which had been named “Larry,” was originally discovered in an eroding creek bed in 2014. Once the removal is completed, Larry will be flown to a museum for further study.

For more information, and a primer on mammoths in a North America, here’s a piece from the National Park Service. 

Death on Channel Islands

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Missing Man Found Dead on Santa Cruz Island
Date: December 18, 2012

CHANNEL ISLANDS, Calif. — A 23-year-old man, Christopher Anthony Mondiek from Dublin, Ohio, was found dead Dec. 18 on the beach at Yellowbanks Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island within Channel Islands National Park, according to the National Park Service.

Search and rescue crews made the discovery shortly after 8 a.m. Investigators believe his death was caused by a fall from one of the cliffs, Park Service officials said.

On Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012 the National Park Service was notified by park concessioner Island Packers, that Mondiek had not returned from an overnight trip to Santa Cruz Island. Park staff began searching on Sunday, but was not able to locate Mondiek.

On Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, the National Park Service requested assistance with the search from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. A helicopter was sent to the island, but was soon turned back due to stormy conditions.

Search and rescue crews responded back to the island Tuesday morning ultimately making the discovery of Mondiek’s body on the beach below a steep cliff.

Mondiek’s body was brought back via boat to the Ventura Harbor. The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office will handle the investigation as Coroner detectives determine the exact circumstances of the death. Park Service official said the initial information suggests the death may have been accidental.