• ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    52 min 48 sec ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    RT @hallockanne: I was so lucky to hear woke bae Matt Desmond talk about his #Evicted book last night at @ArtsandLectures. Data driven, hea…
    53 min 16 sec ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    No. 17 Gauchos Fall to No. 4 UCLA in Irvine https://t.co/B0mOjir2MA
    1 hour 12 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    Tally Ho! and all that. The organizing principle of the Danish Quartet's program is The Hunt:… https://t.co/NHuLA7uBhV
    1 hour 18 min ago
  • UCSBengineering twitter avatar
    UCSB researchers unlock another piece of the puzzle that is crystal growth https://t.co/e7JdE4bbex https://t.co/BLGWvcZ7XQ
    1 hour 39 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    RT @GranadaSB: Compañía Nacional de Danza and director José Carlos Martínez combine original pieces of Spanish dance and choreography with…
    2 hours 7 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    From soil management to big data: Here's a list of emerging environmental solutions with a promising future… https://t.co/I7CcTKfSUR
    2 hours 59 min ago

UCSB Researcher Receives $100,000 NOAA Grant for Archaeological Research

Thursday, May 13, 2010 - 17:00
Santa Barbara, CA

Thanks to a $100,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), UC Santa Barbara graduate student Amy Gusick is searching underwater landscapes in Mexico this week, hoping to find evidence of ancient habitations.

Working with colleague Loren Davis, associate professor of anthropology at Oregon State University, Gusick on Friday will begin the second phase of a research project that started in 2006. Their research will take place off the coast of Isla Espiritu Santo in the Sea of Cortez. Gusick, a Ph.D. student in anthropology at UCSB, and Davis are hoping to find underwater sites that provide proof of human coastal migrations to the New World some 15,000 years ago.

"There are two sites on that island that date to this period (10,000-15,000 years ago)," Gusick said, "but because sea level is up about 95 meters from where it was then, other sites that date to this time period may have been inundated. We think there may be rock shelters in the water there. It would be great to find these inundated rock shelters, and, hopefully, preserved evidence of the first Americans."

A 2006 bathymetric survey of this area off of La Paz convinced Gusick and Davis that this was a prime area for further study. In 2008, they conducted scuba surveys in about 60 feet of water that produced mounds of shells which they believe were collected by early settlers. However, since they were working in a national park area, there were limits to their exploration. "We had to dig with our hands because we could not get permits to use any tools at that point in the project," Gusick said.

The NOAA grant, combined with funding from the National Geographic Society/Waitt Family Foundation, has made it possible to expand their research. The dives that begin Friday will be more extensive –– and more important.

"This one is bigger," Gusick said. "We'll be working at depths up to 200 feet and hope to find preserved cultural material in this inundated area. We have identified 15 specific areas and we'll be making dives focusing on these targets. We are looking for evidence of tool manufacturing and resource extraction."

The researchers will be taking core samples and will use an airlift dredge made specifically for this project to vacuum sediment from the sea floor.

"Underwater archaeology has always focused on things like shipwrecks," Gusick said. "Prehistoric underwater archaeology is a new discipline. We're trying to understand the migration patterns of people who settled here. We're building a case for the importance of this research."