Wagon Cave Site Survey and Mapping Project
Los Padres National Forest, California, 1998
by Bruce E. Emmens, District Ranger
This year’s Wagon Cave PIT project was a success thanks to the volunteers who participated in the fieldwork and to the FS personnel who helped organize it. Wagon Cave has been a major landmark in the central Monterey Ranger District and means many things to many people. It is a place of great importance to the Salinan Indians. It is a place where many have fond childhood memories of camping. It is also a backdrop for stories about the prehistory and history of the area.
Although the Wagon Cave rock formation is archaeologically sensitive, little had been documented since 1957 when it became part of Los Padres NF. The goal of the Wagon Cave Mapping Project was to survey and map known archaeological components within this rock formation. The volunteers were given instruction on mapping by Forest Archaeologist Steve Horne and District Archaeologist Andrea Maliarik. The complex tiers of rock ledges made mapping a challenge, as did the heat of the day, poison oak, and biting flies. All told, nine archaeological features were documented in the three days.
I am grateful to the Salinan Nation for their support: Doug Alger, John Alger, Susan Latta, and Greg Castro and family generously shared their perspectives about Wagon Cave. I also wish to thank volunteers Spencer Berman, Jeanie Haining, Jim Hill, Albert Lannon, Marcus Lerch, Brooke and Tom Nagle, Dennis Palm, and Marc Solomon for their enthusiasm and diligent efforts.
I also want to thank the organizers of the Los Padres Partners in Preservation program and the PIT program for promoting public education and understanding of archaeology.