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.

The Irvine Ranch Water District neither supports nor endorses the causes or activities of organizations

that use the District’s meeting rooms which are made available for public use.

PCAS Zoom Meetings  

October 13, 2022 In-Person and Zoom Meeting

Dr. Gabriel Sanchez

Investigating the Native Range of California's Endangered Anadromous Salmonids


Salmon are vital components of marine and freshwater ecosystems and essential to California's indigenous peoples; however, several native salmonids are vulnerable to extinction or extirpation. The statewide reduction of California's salmon populations necessitates integrative approaches to investigate their history and biogeography. Working in collaboration with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County, and California State Parks, this study employs archaeological datasets to help define which salmon were historically present in coastal central California streams over the last ~7,000 years. The research is pertinent for the endangered Coho salmon as their historical biogeography is debated. Some researchers argue that they are not native south of the San Francisco Bay; others suggest Coho are native as far south as Santa Cruz, while others extend the range to Monterey County. Applying ancient DNA and ancient proteomics to salmon remains, this study examines which salmon were native to coastal streams as a means of helping tribal and state resource managers prioritize stream protection and restoration, water allocation, and inform land-use practices.

Gabriel M. Sanchez is an Indigenous Anthropologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oregon. He is the director of the Coastal Archaeology and Ancient Proteomics Laboratories.

Currently, Dr. Sanchez is involved in a collaborative and community-based participatory research project with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County, and California State Parks to investigate the native range of California’s endangered salmon species, which are vulnerable to extinction or extirpation.


Working with the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County and the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Sanchez investigates Indigenous persistence during the Spanish mission era in California. Specifically, the research team is investigating a series of archaeological sites located away from two nearby missions to understand how Esselen ancestors evaded the Spanish mission system at hinterland sites and continued practicing traditional lifeways despite colonialism while engaging with Esselen ancestors within the mission system.

November 10, 2022

Brian Barbier

The Experimental Archaeology of Olivella Shell Bead Making

Brian Barbier will share the results of his Olivella bead replication experiments and discuss some ways this research can be applied to the archaeological record. Olivella beads were used by California Indians as markers of identity, status, and wealth. Some individuals were buried with thousands of beads—others with few or none. As bead styles and production methods changed over time, so did the labor required to make them. Through a series of replication experiments, Brian answers an array of important questions, including how much labor is required to make each of type of Olivella bead and how changes in labor bear on our assessment of bead production and bead use through time.

Mr. Barbier is a a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at UC Santa Barbara, the Associate Curator of Anthropology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (SBMNH), and Coordinator of the Central Coast Information Center, now also at SBMNH. Mr. Barbier has spent decades learning and teaching traditional technologies and crafts such as flintknapping and basket weaving. He applies his practical knowledge of these skills to his archaeological studies by performing replicative experiments aimed at better understanding traditional technologies.

December 8, 2022

Dr. Timothy Rowe

The Hartley Site, New Mexico


January 12, 2023

Joyce Stanfield Perry


February 9, 2023

Dr. Vance T. Holliday


March 9, 2023

Dr. Edward J. Knell


April 13, 2023

Dr. James Snead

Relic Hunters: Archaeology and the Public in 19th Century America