California Field School – Clear Lake Archaeology Project

This listing expired on January 8, 2022. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: State Park Rd, Kelseyville, CA 95451, USA

Season: July 6, 2021 to July 29, 2021

Application Deadline: June 15, 2021

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field School, Volunteer, Staff Position

RPA Certified:

Foothill College

Project Director:
Dr. Samuel Connell

Project Description:

Three weeks in the Clear Lake basin on a research and service learning program of study for $800 (scholarships available). Eight course credits are offered [Anth 17L, 51,& 52]. Finally, Foothill College’s Department of Anthropology is offering a low cost field program in California. Led by Dr Samuel Connell and colleagues, we are studying the remarkable history of the Clear Lake region through time. This summer student survey and excavations will focus on the historically significant site of the Ely Stage Stop, which was used as a stage coach stop, public house, hotel and a school for boys. Students will be learning all aspects of fieldwork from survey, ground-penetrating radar, excavation techniques and laboratory work. The work involves defining foundations of the main building, finding the privies and excavating the out buildings. Each student is required to carry out individual research on a topic of their choice and prepare a Student Independent Pilot Project final paper. Lastly, every student will be heavily involved in community development projects with various stakeholders, to include the Lake County Historical Society.

Period(s) of Occupation: 1850s colonial contact with Pomo indigenous peoples and beyond. Clear Lake is the largest fresh water lake in California. It was densely settled by indigenous peoples as a central gathering place for millennia. In the 1850s the region escaped the Gold Rush, but farming and mining eventually came to dominate the colonial landscape. The native Pomo are world famous for basketry, and the farm land is as famous today for its pears and grapes. The climate mirrors the Mediterranean and the people are eager to show its riches. During the last century Lake County was the go-to destination for tourism because of its amazing thermal springs fed by active volcanic underground water sources. Massive resorts surrounded the lake, this was Hawaii and Cancun all-in-one. What happened? What is the story behind the relationships we see today between native California populations and western farmers. It is a complex history, it is an American story, all taking place in a beautiful lake basin that has been relatively isolated for centuries from the massive development that much of the rest of California has undergone. But it is coming. Roads are getting wider, highways are being developed, and people are moving in - forced out by rising housing costs and Covid, or an interest in the potential of making great wine from these grapes - the landscape is changing once again. There is a pressure to document what we can before it is lost.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: TBD

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: No experience required, only a willingness to have fun in the sun.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Group camp ground at Clear Lake State Park which holds 40 people. In addition, cabins are being rented, but will cost more. People can also choose to stay in local accommodations. Fishing and water activities are all within the state park. Food will be catered by local professionals. Covid protocols will be followed, all activities will be outdoors.

Academic Credit:
8 units of college credit. Anth 52: Archaeology Field Methods (4 units) Anth 51: Archaeology Survey (2 units) Anth 17L: Intermediate Archaeology Laboratory (2 units) Optional Anth12: Applied Anthropology (4 units)

Contact Information:

Sam Connell

Foothill College, Department of Anthropology

Los Altos Hills




Phone: (650) 499-6500

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