small markerWe thank the Society for California Archaeology Newsletter for publishing the following articles about CASSP in 2020.

small markerCalifornia Archaeological Site Stewardship Program Activities, by Karen Lacy, Mike DeGiovine, Beth Padon, and Chris Padon, from the Society for California Archaeology Newsletter, 54 no. 1 (March 2020).

CASSP table at SCA Annual Meeting

Please stop by the CASSP table in the book room of the SCA Annual Meeting in Riverside, March 12-15, 2020. CASSP Coordinators Karen Lacy and Mike DeGiovine will greet you and talk about site stewardship and future volunteer training workshops, and please sign up for the new mailing list for CASSP and for Partners for Archaeological Site Stewardship. We will use the new mailing list to tell people about future events and workshops. And when you stop by the CASSP table be sure to pick up a token of appreciation!

Report Volunteer Hours

Also you can record your volunteer hours with Karen or Mike at the CASSP table in the book room. CASSP needs to compile information on volunteer activities, concerning number of volunteer hours and the sites visited, over the fiscal year from 1 October, 2018 through 30 September, 2019. It's best to list your hours by date, by site or location, and by public agency that you work with. We need as complete a record as possible of last year’s work in order to seek new funding for CASSP.

If you are not attending the SCA Annual Meeting, you may send this information to Karen Lacy at or Michael DeGiovine at If you have any questions about reporting your hours, please e-mail Karen or Mike, or call (979) 235-9929.

Site Stewardship meeting at the SCA Annual Meeting

Archaeologists with volunteers, site stewards, and other interested people attending the SCA Annual Meeting are invited to the one-hour site stewardship meeting on Saturday, March 14, at noon. If you have questions or feedback about site stewardship, this meeting is the opportunity to share your comments and ideas. We will distribute the CASSP Annual Report 2019 during this gathering. Karen and Mike will report on their activities as the coordinators for the program and about the volunteer training workshops they plan to lead in 2020. Beth and Chris Padon will present information about Partners for Archaeological Site Stewardship, a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation, to support CASSP and site stewardship programs beyond California. We look forward to seeing you at this noon meeting.

CASSP Volunteer Workshops

We are pleased to announce that Lassen National Forest and the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office will host the next CASSP workshop. These agencies share an office building in Susanville. Planning for this volunteer training is underway. In a month or two, look for further details on the CASSP web site,

small markerCalifornia Archaeological Site Stewardship Program Activities, by Beth Padon, Chris Padon, Karen Lacy, and Mike DeGiovine, from the Society for California Archaeology Newsletter, 54 no. 2 (June 2020).

[This is an excerpt from the 2019 CASSP Annual Report; review the complete annual report on CASSP web site,]

The most important parts of CASSP are the achievements of the volunteer site stewards, who are working all across the State. Their enthusiasm, dedication, and skills are making a real difference, and their efforts keep growing. Over the past year, we received reports from site stewards that documented more than 4000 volunteer hours; a total value of donated time greater than $100,000. Thanks to all!

On January 5, 2019, CASSP joined Partners for Archaeological Site Stewardship, Friends of Cedar Mesa, and Nevada Site Stewardship at the Archaeological Institute of American (AIA) ArchaeoCon. This event was open to the public during the AIA Annual Meeting in San Diego. Karen Lacy, CASSP coordinator, distributed flyers about the volunteer training program in California. Even though the weather turned cool and rainy, she collected contact information for over 30 interested people and talked to another 25. Site steward Ed Fox also participated at the CASSP table and enthusiastically talked about his experiences in visiting and protecting archaeological sites on public lands. Ed has volunteered with Erik Zaborsky at the BLM Central Coast Field Office.

At the 2019 SCA Annual Meeting, in Sacramento, CASSP held a poster session on Saturday afternoon, March 9. We were very pleased that over forty people attended the session and had the opportunity to talk with CASSP organizers, archaeologists, and site stewards.

State Parks archaeologist Brian Walsh and site steward Jan Bales presented a poster for the Northern Butte District of California State Parks, which showed their site stewardship activities around Lake Oroville for the past year.

A big thank you to Joan Schneider for bringing Astrid and Samuel Webb's poster that highlighted their volunteer efforts at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Astrid and Samuel Webb are volunteer site stewards with archaeologist Robin Connors. Astrid and Samuel also were honored at the 2019 SCA Annual Meeting, receiving the Helen C. Smith Award for Individual Avocationalist Achievement. Congratulations Astrid and Samuel, for your volunteer archaeology work over these many years.

Site steward Ed Fox presented a poster titled "A Day in December, 2018". Ed travels about 200 miles round trip to his sites in the BLM Central Coast Field Office, and hikes about 5 miles, a commitment that inspires us all. CASSP coordinators, Karen Lacy and Mike DeGiovine presented a poster, "What it means to be a Site Steward", showing site stewards' experiences in visiting their sites and what they learn, and about their contributions to protecting archaeology sites.

CASSP organizers Beth and Chris Padon presented a poster that traced the contributions of California State Parks to site stewardship. Site stewards volunteer at many State Parks across California, including parks in the Angeles District (with Barbara Tejada), Monterey District (with Rae Schwaderer), Northern Buttes District (with Brian Walsh), Colorado Desert District (with Robin Connors) and State Vehicle Recreation Areas of Carnegie, Hollister, and Ocotillo Wells (with Jay Baker). Thanks to everyone who stopped by the CASSP poster session. Also we thank the agency archaeologists for their involvement with these volunteers.

Many people stopped by the CASSP table in the book room of the 2019 SCA Annual Meeting. We thank Codifi Paperless Solutions and Michael Ashley for sponsoring the table for CASSP. CASSP Coordinators Karen Lacy and Mike DeGiovine talked with over 100 people about site stewardship and future volunteer training workshops, and 75 people signed up for further information.

In April 2019, CASSP celebrated its 20th birthday. The first workshop was held in 1999 at BLM Ridgecrest Field Office, and the 115th workshop was held in 2019 at BLM Ukiah Field Office. We congratulate all participants, agency archaeologists, and site stewards for their continued efforts to help protect archaeological and historical resources, part of our shared past.

Plans for 2020

We are pleased to announce that Lassen National Forest and the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office will host the next CASSP workshop. These agencies share an office building in Susanville. Planning for this volunteer training is underway for the Fall. In a month or two, look for further details on the CASSP web site,

CASSP had planned on participating in the 2020 SCA Annual Meeting in Riverside on March 12-15 but this year’s conference was postponed because of the public health concerns about coronavirus. Instead of meeting in person in March, we distributed the CASSP Annual Report by e-mail and on the CASSP web site,, to volunteers, archaeologists, and interested public on Saturday, March 14. Please send your comments about the program to Karen or Mike at or at Let us know how CASSP is doing and what it needs to do for future volunteer workshops. We realize this method of communication is less interactive than a group meeting, but it’s safer given current health risks. We hope everyone is and stays well!

Left: Judyth Reed (standing), archaeologist at the BLM Ridgecrest Field Office, led the first CASSP volunteer training workshop in 1999. Photo courtesy of Beth and Chris Padon. Right: Chris Lloyd, archaeologist at the BLM Ukiah Field Office, hosted the 115th CASSP workshop. By 2019, they included a second day of field trips to archaeological sites. Photo courtesy of Mike DeGiovine.

small markerAdventures in CASSP Volunteering , by Martín R. Jespersen M. Ed., from the Society for California Archaeology Newsletter, 54 no. 3 (September 2020).

In 2018, Mary Jespersen and I had the pleasure of volunteering for Eraina Nossa, the new agency archaeologist for the Cleveland National Forest in northern San Diego County, with hopes of locating and monitoring sites on the Trabuco Ranger District, the northernmost part of the forest. We had met and introduced ourselves to each other before at the SCA Annual Meeting at Tenaya Lodge near the entrance to Yosemite National Park. Eraina had heard of us from colleagues and was impressed by our updated site record for CA-RIV-506, which was used by her department to identify the pictograph panels and other features requiring protection measures during the Holy Fire of 2018. We had a plan to first visit CA-RIV- 506 and CA-RIV-507 and then to CA-RIV-4885, an adjacent site that we would be monitoring through the California Archaeological Site Stewardship Program (CASSP). With site records, cameras, GPS units, and lots of water, we embarked on our adventure. It was important to revisit these sites because of their proximity to public access. CA-RIV-506 has many pictograph panels and bedrock mortars (BRMs); the other two sites also have BRMs.

Afterwards, still having plenty of time, we headed towards two other sites (CA-RIV-3856 and CA-RIV-1082) located about four km southeast of CA-RIV-506. CA-RIV-3856 has fire-damaged pictographs and BRMs, and CA-RIV-1082 was first reported in the early 1970s, but had only been relocated once since then and was presumed to be incorrectly recorded. The site update by Langenwalter that was completed on October 29, 1979, states, “Reported bedrock mortars are naturally weathered areas.” This would prove to be incorrect. Also, there was an attempt to locate CA-RIV-1082 (according to SWCA Environmental Consultants and Applied EarthWorks on August 24, 2007) by Phil Hanes, who was unsuccessful in locating the site, noting that, “It appears the site has been obscured by vegetation, covered with sediment, or destroyed.”

Coincidentally, Mary and I had attempted to locate CA-RIV-1082 years before multiple times, but the original site record was off and had limited clues to help us find it. Nevertheless, Eraina, Mary, and I attempted one more time to locate it, to no avail. In the process, Mary had lost her Garmin 650 Montana GPS unit and after hours of searching for CA-RIV-1082 and the GPS unit, we decided to move on to another site further away, called CA-RIV-508. While visiting and monitoring CA-RIV-508, I was so preoccupied about losing a $600 plus Garmin that after finishing up for the day I convinced Mary to go back with me and drive to the area where she lost her GPS. I retraced her steps, and luck being with us I recovered the lost Garmin!

After finding the Garmin, I walked off to find an area secluded enough for me to go to the restroom, because as it turns out, I drank a lot of water. While in the bushes, I looked down and lo and behold spotted what seemed to be a BRM! I pulled out my GPS unit and recorded its coordinates and took photos. Not having enough time or energy to do more searching, I told Mary to contact Eraina with the possible good news.

Bedrock mortars at CA-RIV-1082: left, BRMs 1 and 2; right, BRM 3. Photos courtesy of Martin Jespersen.

During our recent lockdown due to the pandemic and our ability to be isolated from others in this area, I convinced Mary to revisit the location where I took the coordinates of the BRM two years prior. Upon arriving, we noticed that the area was cleared of brush and reduced to ashes due to what we assumed was a recent fire. With the old site record in hand, we attempted once again to find CA-RIV-1082. It took moments to get to my original coordinates and soon we began the process of surveying the area and collecting photos for the Cleveland National Forest. The original site record for CA-RIV-1082 noted only three BRMs, but we found and documented four more. We also expanded the size of the site by finding lithics in the surrounding area.

Later that evening, I notified Eraina of our finds and sent her photos. I also informed her that I needed the date and circumstance of the recent fire that happened in the area so that I could include it in the updated site record. She was unaware of any recent wildfire activity and determined that it was likely burned by a prescribed fire. Fortunately for Mary and me, our job was made easier because the shrubbery was reduced to ashes, so locating and documenting CA-RIV-1082 would only take half a day’s work. The site was clearly larger than previously recorded and we had to return to record it again and take additional photos, so we had a thorough and detailed update to assist Forest Service land managers. According to Eraina, the fire was supposed to be controlled, but because of the stay-at-home order their staff was unable to get to this area to check it out.

While updating the site record, I took a Google image of the area, which was last photographed in 2018 and still showed foliage. I went back with a drone and took updated aerial footage of the site to include in the record so that the photos would show proper detail, not just foliage covering it up. With the updated site record finished detailing the seven BRMs and an extensive lithic area with the new site perimeter, Mary and I forwarded it to Eraina at the Cleveland National Forest. Forest Service agency archaeologists were able to visit the site to inspect the area of the controlled burn and assess any potential impacts from fuel treatment or the public now that access and visibility had improved. It is ironic how a controlled fire and our isolation from others allowed us to locate and document a site previously thought to be lost, damaged, or nonexistent. Special thanks go out to Eraina Nossa for her support and eagerness in helping us survey and document an update for CA-RIV-1082.

Note: Martin and Mary Jespersen are site stewards with the California Archaeological Site Stewardship Program (CASSP). They have been active stewards since 2013 with BLM Barstow, Palm Springs, Needles, and El Centro field offices; the Cleveland National Forest District; and California State Parks, Angeles District. We at CASSP greatly appreciate their efforts to help protect our shared cultural heritage.

small markerCalifornia Archaeological Site Stewardship Program Activities During Archaeology Month, by Karen Lacy, Mike DeGiovine, Beth Padon, and Chris Padon, from the Society for California Archaeology Newsletter, 54 no. 4 (December 2020).

Here we highlight a few contributions made by California Archaeological Site Stewardship Program (CASSP) volunteers and coordinators to California Archaeology Month in

Mary and Martin Jespersen have been protecting sites across southern California for several years. As site stewards, they visit sites for several Bureau of Land Management Field Offices (Barstow, Palm Springs- South Coast, Needles, and El Centro), the Cleveland National Forest, The Archaeological Conservancy, the Mojave National Preserve, and California State Parks Angeles District. This past year, they volunteered 1,678 hours. In October, Mary presented her paper on archaeological site CA-SBR-306 (Surprise Tank) for the virtual Southern California SCA Data Sharing Meeting. Mary reported on the documentation that she and Martin completed for many petroglyphs, milling features, trails, stone tools, and unfortunately, vandalism. She and Martin assist Daniel McCarthy in his research to help protect and to better understand the prehistory represented at this site. To view Mary’s presentation, visit Thanks, Mary, for presenting your work to us in this virtual format.

Ed Fox volunteers as a site steward for CASSP and he also volunteers for the Nevada Site Stewardship Program. Ed participated in the first national site stewardship virtual workshop. This two-day workshop brought together other site steward coordinators and volunteers from across the country to talk about their programs and to review the best practices for site stewardship. He was a member of a discussion panel that included volunteer site stewards from California, Utah, Texas, Nevada, and Florida. The discussions were interesting, thoughtful, and boldly honest. In general, people who volunteer in archaeology are exceptional; this panel was especially exceptional. Thanks, Ed, for contributing to this workshop.

CASSP coordinator Karen Lacy also participated in the first national site stewardship workshop on October 14. Karen took part in a two-hour panel discussion with coordinators from Florida, Texas, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. Panelists discussed the differences among the programs, and the many similarities. This workshop gave Karen and Michael DeGiovine (the other CASSP coordinator) many ideas about improving CASSP. They are exploring ways to include virtual training into the CASSP workshops. Look for future announcements on the CASSP website ( Thank you, Karen. You can find abstracts and recordings of all of the presentations at the national site stewardship workshop at the Partners for Archaeological Site Stewardship website (

For several years, Karen and archaeologist Sandra Pentney have presented spooky archaeological topics at the October (Halloween) meeting of the San Diego County Archaeological Society. This year, they offered a review of “Epidemic Archaeology,” describing archaeological evidence of pandemics and plagues, and the settings in which they occurred. For example, in a decree issued in the 1230s, Pope Gregory IX described a purported satanic ritual that involved the killing of black cats. The ritual may have made the Black Death of the 1340s more severe; i.e., if this ritual led to a significant reduction in the cat population in Europe, then it may have started a domino effect of more rats, followed by more fleas, and therefore more vectors for the plague to infect humans.

Finally, the CASSP e-mail list changed from our old host to Google Groups. If you want to automatically receive e-mail notices about CASSP activities, please visit and search for “California Archaeological Site Stewardship Program.” Choose “ask to join group,” and your e-mail address will be added to the list, after which you will receive a confirmation e-mail message. We send CASSP announcements about four to six times a year. We will also post announcements on the CASSP website (