PCAS General Meetings

Monthly lecture meetings feature noted archaeologists and anthropologists who provide insight into a variety of topics. Lecture meetings are held at the Irvine Ranch Water District Community Room, 15500 Sand Canyon Avenue (between the I-5 and I-405) in Irvine, on the second Thursday of each month, at 7:30 pm. Meetings are free and open to the public. See vicinity and detail maps of PCAS meeting location. For additional directions, please call Scott Findlay, 714-342-2534.

Please Note: The Irvine Ranch Water District neither supports nor endorses the cause nor activities of organizations which use the district’s meeting rooms that are made available as a public service.

You are invited to join the speaker and PCAS members for dinner before the general meeting. It's an informal opportunity to visit with an acknowledged expert. We meet at 6:00 pm at a local restaurant. Please check the newsletter (left menu) for location.

Schedule and Speakers

Please note that last minute changes may occur.

June 8, 2017

Nathan Acebo

Reassembling the Black Star Canyon Village

Survey and excavation of Black Star Canyon Village,


The Black Star Canyon Village (CA-ORA-132) has been documented as a historic period site that was associated with the events of the “Battle of Black Star Canyon” during which a group of Native American horse thieves were massacred by hired American fur trappers in 1832. However, little effort has been made to empirically analyze the site within the broader late prehistoric settlement system and the transitional eras of colonialism. This project is focused on evaluating the concept of socioeconomic autonomy in the California prehistoric and colonial coastal mountain hinterlands by assessing connections between the continued production of habitation practices and the dependencies formed through the consumption of traditional and colonial era material culture. This leads into an analysis of how pre-Hispanic systems may have influenced socioeconomic structures from which historical Native identities emerged. The goal of such work is to provide insight into the late prehistoric/protohistoric settlement patterns of the southern California coastal mountains and transformations in indigenous habitation at the site across the eras of colonization by examining spatial, stylistic, and behavioral characteristics of lithic, ceramic, faunal, and historical-era artifact production, consumption, and use patterns. This approach is significant because current models of pre- and post-contact settlement have not fully incorporated the northern Santa Ana Mountains into articulation of late social complexity. Black Star Canyon Village provides a case study on colonial hinterland occupation.


Nathan Acebo is a Ph.D. candidate in the Stanford University Anthropology Department and the Stanford Archaeology Center, and he is the recipient of the Stanford University Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education Doctoral Fellowship. He received his MA in anthropology from Stanford, and his BS in anthropology with an emphasis on cultural resource management at Cal Poly Pomona. He has participated in various colonial/prehistoric archaeological and ethnographic research projects in the Mojave Desert, southern Channel Islands, San Francisco Bay Area, and the historic Chinatowns of San Jose, California. Research focuses include network analysis, lithic analysis, microscopy (use-wear), ethnogenic models, and dominance/resistance theory.

No meetings in July and August


September 14, 2017

Dr. James S. Kus

What’s New at Machu Picchu


October 12, 2017

Dr. Alan P.  Gold

Ghost Dance Rock Art


November 9, 2017

Dr. Janine Gasco

Cacao (Chocolate) in Precolumbian and Contemporary Mesoamerica


December 14, 2017

Dr. Dennis L. Jenkins

Paisley Caves