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  


October 12, 2023

In-Person and Zoom Meeting (Speaker will be present at the in-person meeting at the alternate location: IRWD Office Building, 15600 Sand Canyon Ave, Irvine. See map.)

Dr. Ian Straughn

Archaeology in Interim Spaces: Excavation and Pedagogy at the Historic Bonita Camp Site on the UCI Campus

Prior to William Pereira’s grand architectural interventions in higher education, the land that would become the UCI campus housed an outpost of the Irvine Ranch operations. Today, what remains of the Bonita Camp site, are three unoccupied and rapidly deteriorating early 20th century farm houses. Colloquially known as “The Farm,” its incorporation as part of the campus has witnessed uses ranging from an ethnographic laboratory, an experimental K-8 school, and now an archaeological classroom. Using data gathered from three sessions of excavation as part of the “I DIG UCI” field methods course, this talk will explore how such interim spaces operate as particular nodes of learning and doing within the framework of totalizing forms of land development embodied in the Irvine master plan and UCI’s role as catalyst. The research presented explores whether any future preservation of the site necessarily involves the destruction of its interim character and the opportunities which that affords in creating a diversity of loosely regulated spaces on a public university campus. Put differently, we can ask the question: What possibility is there for such an intensely planned and regularized campus like UCI to maintain such a site indefinitely as an interim space? At what point do ruins simply need to be dealt with?

Dr. Straughn is Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Anthropology at UCI where he specializes in the archaeology of the Middle East post-late antiquity and developing pedagogical innovations in training students with interests in the archaeological record. His research has included excavation and survey in Syria, Jordan, Armenia, and elsewhere focused on the Islamic periods at sites such as Petra. Other projects have included work with Arabic manuscripts from Timbuktu in connection with the British Libraries Endangered Archives Programme, as well as the politics and practice of heritage across the Muslim World.

Since joining UCI in 2017, after more than a decade as a faculty member with Brown University’s Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, his work has explored new approaches to engaging and training undergraduates in archaeology through object and project-based learning. Examples include the Egyptomania Postcard Project, the Tomb of the Social Sciences, “I Dig UCI”, as well as collaborations with the archaeology team at OC Parks. He received his doctorate in anthropology from the University of Chicago.


November 9, 2023

Dr. James Kennett

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


December 14, 2023

Dr. Scott Sunell

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