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David Middlecamp: Excavation revealed hints of county’s past

A FINGER BONE FOUND SATURDAY IN PISMO BEACH Dr. Charles Dills and an important find. Photo by Mike Raphael
A FINGER BONE FOUND SATURDAY IN PISMO BEACH Dr. Charles Dills and an important find. Photo by Mike Raphael

Mankind’s curiosity had led to the first moon landing a few days earlier. Closer to home, archaeologists were exploring the past.

Covered in a story published on July 23, 1969, this was an unusual dig — it was not spurred by construction pressure, and it was a largely volunteer effort.

Archaeology is often funded by a wealthy patron or, if the work has enough general interest, a foundation grant.

An archaeological effort funded by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. had been started a year earlier at Diablo Canyon in advance of its nuclear power plant construction.

Perceptions have changed since the 1960s. An uncounted number of American Indian sites were bulldozed for freeways and homes in the 1950s.

This was an era before American Indians were brought in as site monitors for burial sites.

Paraphrasing the question, a site monitor once asked me, “Would you like people to dig up your ancestor’s bones and put them on display?”

My answer would be no. But still I am curious about what life was like here before the Europeans came.

If anyone knows the results of the study, or where the artifacts are, please post a comment on my Photos from the Vault blog.

Visit David Middlecamp’s blog at http://sloblogs.thetribunenews.com/slovault.

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