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. See location below for October 12, 2023 meeting.

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.

Many past PCAS lectures are available on the PCAS YouTube channel.

PCAS Zoom Meetings  


November 9, 2023

In-Person and Zoom Meeting (Speaker will not be present at the in-person meeting.)

Dr. James Kennett

Massive Effects and Consequences of the Younger Dryas Cometary Impact with Earth 12,800 Years Ago

Most recently, Dr. James Kennett has been investigating, with others, widespread geological and archaeological evidence in support of a major fragmented comet impact with Earth 12,800 years ago. Massive energy release from this impact caused continental-wide wildfires, impact winter, and other severe environmental changes. This presentation will summarize the YDB cosmic impact hypothesis, consistent in explaining at least six major events that have long puzzled the scientific community: 1) the massive, abrupt, and synchronous extinction of the megafauna over North and South America including most large mammals (e.g. mammoths, horses, camels, sloths, saber tooth cats, etc.); 2) the abrupt disappearance of the North American Clovis Culture, and the contemporaneous human culture in South America; 3) the sudden triggering of abrupt cooling known as the Younger Dryas climatic interval over broad areas of Earth; 4) massive and abrupt outburst flooding into the oceans due to the sudden draining of proglacial lakes that had accumulated near the melting ice sheets; 5) the resulting abrupt major change in the way the ocean circulates; 6) the climatic triggering of the earliest known incipient agriculture as recorded in the Middle East.

Dr. James Kennett is a still active Professor Emeritus in Earth Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Research Professor with the Marine Science Institute, of which he was Director from 1987 to 1997. A native of New Zealand, Dr. Kennett’s work in marine geology and paleoceanography over the last 60 years has helped provide a comprehensive understanding of the climatic, oceanographic, and biological processes that shaped the Cenozoic Era (last 65 million years) leading to our present day environmental and biotic conditions.


December 14, 2023

In-Person and Zoom Meeting (Speaker will be present at the in-person meeting at the Duck Club. See map.)

Dr. Scott Sunell

A Guiding Light: The Piedra de Lumbre Quarry, Flaked Stone Tools, and Precontact Archaeology Aboard MCB Camp Pendleton

Flaked stone tool analysis supports much of our knowledge about the precontact archaeology of MCB Camp Pendleton—particularly around questions about the distribution of local and non-local raw materials in archaeological contexts, about the use and transport of artifacts in local trade networks, and about the nature of precontact territorial organization reflected in these patterns. The history of flaked stone tool analysis aboard MCB Camp Pendleton will be reviewed with an emphasis on the Piedra de Lumbre (PDL) quarry as a case study because of the importance of that material in these arguments. An assemblage of previously excavated flaked stone tools and debitage of PDL from late Holocene contexts at sites on MCB Camp Pendleton was analyzed to review the hypotheses that direct procurement characterized access to the raw material during this period and that the distribution of the material reflects transport costs and precontact territorial boundaries. The future directions for flaked stone tool analysis on MCB Camp Pendleton should be 1) to test hypotheses about human-environment interactions through time; 2) to increase the focus on the expedient use of low-quality raw materials; 3) to draw on ethnographic and historical data to inform hypotheses concerning late Holocene lithic production processes; and 4) to address changes through time in methods of lithic reduction.

Dr. Scott D. Sunell is an anthropological archaeologist with 12 years of experience in academic archaeology and in Cultural Resource Management (CRM). He currently works as a staff archaeologist for Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Pendleton, the largest and most active Marine Corps training installation on the West Coast. His dissertation work and published scholarly research focus on the prehistory of Santa Barbara County, with an emphasis on lithic analysis on the northern Channel Islands. Dr. Sunell’s current research interests include two main projects. First, he is pursuing an analysis of flaked stone tool use, settlement patterns, and late Holocene archaeological dynamics in the area of MCB Camp Pendleton in addition to (and outside of) my role as a staff archaeologist on base. Second, he works with a multitribal coalition among the Chumash descendant community to reclaim indigenous knowledge at the village of Tlakayam’u on western Limuw (Santa Cruz Island, California), bringing archaeological data and methods to bear on questions of interest to that community. His other research interests and recent projects cover a wide range of topics in southern California’s past. These include the analysis of spatially distinct toolstone sources at Sec he (Agua Caliente); the study of patterns of kin-oriented modes of production in the Santa Barbara Channel; and the historic period development of transnational material culture patterns among ethnic Mexican and overseas Chinese diaspora communities in Redlands, California.


January 11, 2024

Dr. Loren G. Davis


February 8, 2024

David Nichols


March 14, 2024

Dan Potter


April 11, 2024

Jared Mathis