The California Archaeological Site Stewardship Program
The California Archaeological Site Stewardship Program (CASSP) is a
network of concerned people committed to protecting California's rich
cultural heritage. The program uses professional archaeologists and
trained volunteers as stewards to monitor sites throughout the state.
Stewards promote protection through monitoring, education, research,
and public awareness. Their presence enhances the preservation of California's
cultural resources for all. The goals for CASSP are:
The CASSP motto is "Caring, Sharing, and Protecting." The Society for
California Archaeology (SCA) sponsors CASSP and works with several agencies
and organizations to implement this program. CASSP partners include:
Department of the Interior--Bureau of Land Management, California State
Office; California Office of Historic Preservation; California Native
American Heritage Commission; Discovery Works, Inc; Imperial Valley
College Desert Museum; Maturango Museum; and the Society for California
Archaeology. CASSP provides training to organize local groups of volunteer
site stewards. Volunteers must attend two days of training and sign
an ethics and confidentiality agreement before they become site stewards.
Volunteers first attend an eight-hour workshop, where they review the
local archaeology, history, and natural history; learn about Native
American views concerning archaeology sites; study safety issues, and
learn about the goals, methods, and operations of CASSP. Lunch is provided
at the training site, which gives volunteers an opportunity to informally
share their backgrounds and experiences. CASSP also provides the training
notebooks, videos, and other workshop materials, but local experts,
including the group's coordinating archaeologist, provide the specific
local information needed by the volunteers. If a volunteer signs the
ethics and confidentiality agreement, then he or she can participate
in the second part of the training--a field trip with the coordinating
archaeologist to the site that the volunteer will be monitoring. The
second part of the training is very important because it provides hands-on
training to the volunteer, and it gives both the volunteer and the coordinating
archaeologist the experience of working together.
- To protect and to preserve prehistoric and historic archaeological
resources for the purposes of conservation, scientific study, interpretation,
and public appreciation.
- To increase public knowledge and awareness of the significance
and value of cultural resources.
- To support the understanding of national, state, and local preservation
- To support the recordation and to provide the on-going physical
record of the site to assist with permanent site management.
In 1999, with the initial grant from the Bureau of Land Management,
teams of site stewards were formed in Ridgecrest and El Centro. These
volunteers are regularly visiting and recording their observations on
more than 50 archaeological sites that have been open to public visitation,
but were not monitored. On May 13, 2000, CASSP will organize another
team of volunteers to monitor archaeological and historical sites in
the Bishop area. BLM archaeologist Kirk Halford will serve as the coordinating
archaeologist for this team. CASSP is pleased to offer this training
at the Owens Valley Paiute Community Center.
In 2000, CASSP will seek outside funding to extend our program to other
areas of the state. We are looking for professional archaeologists to
work with trained volunteers and we are looking for interested individuals
to volunteer as site stewards. To learn more about CASSP, please contact
Beth Padon, program coordinator, at (949) 733-1915, or by email
at email@example.com, or by regular mail at Discovery Works,
P O Box 51476, Irvine CA 92619.