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Museum Guest Lecture on Anza-Borrego Archaeology

The San Bernardino County Museum Guest Lecture Series continues on Wednesday evening, October 25, when Joan Schneider presents “What’s Doin’ Down South: Recent Archaeology in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.” The lecture, at 7:30 p.m. in the museum’s Fisk Gallery, is free and open to the public.

In the earlier years of archaeological survey in the California deserts, the Archaeological Survey Association, as well as many well-known early investigators such as Malcolm Rogers, Adan Tregenza, William and Edith Wallace, Clem Meighan, and others worked in the Colorado Desert. “Within the boundaries of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and other state parklands in the region, archaeological research has taken a somewhat different approach,” said Schneider, “but it is always based on the work of our predecessors. The extremely archaeologically rich (both prehistoric and historic) parklands hold more sites than all of the other state parks combined.”

Schneider will discuss very recent work at both prehistoric and historic sites in Coyote Canyon, Borrego Palm Canyon, Piedras Grandes, and Carrizo Creek areas. She will offer an overview of major projects such as Meg McDonald's excavations at Indian Hill Rockshelter; Joan Oxendine's excavations at Barrel Springs; and Mike Sampson's excavations at Mine Wash Village. “This talk will conclude with a summary of what we know, what we don't know, and what we hope to do about it,” said Schneider. “You can also find out what we’ve learned about using helicopters for survey in the hard-to-get-to Colorado Desert out-back.”

Dr. Joan S. Schneider earned both a M.S. and a Ph.D. degree in Anthropology from UC Riverside. She worked as a Research Associate for a number of years there and then became Interim Executive Director for the Western Center for Archaeology and Paleontology at Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet. Since 2001, she has been a part of the archaeological staff of the Colorado Desert District, California State Parks, as Associate State Archaeologist. Her research interests are focused on the technology and anthropology of rock quarrying, the tools used by women in prehistory, the roles that women played in prehistoric lifeways, and the prehistoric archaeology of arid regions. She has worked extensively in the Mojave, Colorado, Sonoran, and Negev deserts, in the Peninsula Ranges east of San Diego, and has an on-going research project in Israel. For her work in the Middle East, she has received grants from the Samuel E. Kress Foundation and the Irene Levi-Sala Archaeological Research Foundation. She has published in international, national, regional, and local professional journals including publications of the San Bernardino County Museum Association. 

The San Bernardino County Museum sponsors its guest lecture series to share current research by prominent researchers and scholars with the public. Scheduled for this year’s series are Ron Burgess on hydroelectric power (January 24, 2007), Marline Zuk on penguin sexual politics (February 28), Julie Rathbun on Saturn’s moon Enceladus (March 28), Joan Fryxell on boiling volcano lakes (April 25), James Sandos on converting California (May 23), and Alexis Tray on biological anthropology and forensics (June 27).

The San Bernardino County Museum is at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays and holiday Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 (adult), $5 (student or senior), and $4 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit

The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. If assistive listening devices or other auxiliary aids are needed in order to participate in museum exhibits or programs, requests should be made through Museum Visitor Services at least three business days prior to your visit. Visitor Services’ telephone number is 909-307-2669 ext. 229 or (TDD) 909-792-1462.



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