The Channel Islands, off the coast of California near Santa Barbara, have been visited by man for 13,000 years and continuously inhabited for at least 11,000 years. When the islands’ oldest known inhabitant, known as Arlington Springs Man, was alive the four northern Channel Islands were all still united together as one mega-island. Visitors can explore the remains of the prehistoric villages of the Chumash people, historic period ranches, and military structures while divers and snorkelers can view the Winfield Scott shipwreck, which sank in 1853.
Archaeological Fun Fact: The tomol is a canoe made of redwood planks and paddled like a kayak. The Chumash used tomols to navigate around the Channel Islands. Pieces of tomols have been found in prehistoric middens (trash deposits), and the construction of these boats was described by European explorers and early anthropologists.
Park website: www.nps.gov/chis/
Golden Spike National Historic Site in Utah commemorates the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. Visitors can view a reenactment of the completion ceremony, replicas of two steam locomotives, and evidence of the construction methods. Thousands of Chinese immigrants labored on the railroad while enduring discrimination and their contributions are memorialized at the site today.
Archaeological Fun Fact: Since the project launched in 2013, more than 90 archaeologists have collaborated with historians on the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project, helping to gain a better understanding of the lives and culture of the Chinese laborers who built the Transcontinental Railroad.
Park website: www.nps.gov/gosp/