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Exploring Ranching History on San Miguel Island

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Date: November 9, 2010
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

During the November lectures, Dr. Julia Costello, one of California’s most respected historical archeologists, will discuss new findings about early sheep ranches on San Miguel Island.

According to Costello, intensive ranching over the last 150 years drastically changed the island landscape. Erosion of the newly barren ground created sand drifts that covered the 1850’s era Niedever adobe and the Mills-Waters ranch that followed it. 

In 2009, Costello directed an archeological study of these sites revealing new information about who actually built the ranches and what life was like for those who lived and worked on this remote, windswept island. In addition, Costello will discuss findings that the Nidever adobe was a more substantial structure than previously thought. She will also demonstrate through aerial photographs how, in the end, some of the ranch remnants were covered by sands exposed from overgrazing.

Costello, who received her PhD from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1990, has served as President of both the Society for Historical Archeology and the Society for California Archeology. She is also a member and chair of the State Historical Resources Commission. For the last 30 years Costello has specialized in researching sites relating to California’s European colonization through the early 20th century. She is currently an archeologist with Foothill Resources, Ltd. in Mokelumne Hill, CA.

The “From Shore to Sea” lecture series is jointly sponsored by Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary with support from Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. The purpose of the series is to further the understanding of current research on the Channel Islands and surrounding waters. The lectures occur at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 9, 2010, at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way in the Santa Barbara Harbor and Wednesday, November 10, 2010, at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center, 1901 Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor. The programs are free and open to the public.

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