Ongoing Archeological Field School Returns:
July 11-29, 2011
Archeological Field Schools at the Whaley House
Excavation site of the cistern/well and the privy
Dr. Seth Mallios, anthropology professor at San Diego State University, is directing an archeological field school once again this summer at the historic Whaley House in Old Town San Diego. Excavations are focused on digging the 19th-century rainwater cistern/well, which is located behind the main house.
Dr. Mallios and his crew from SDSU's South Coastal Information Center return each summer to continue excavating the cistern/well. So far the team has logged over 11,000 cumulative hours of fieldwork and unearthed more than 72,000 artifacts including numerous complete bottles, pottery, animal bones, architectural debris, and tools, some dating to the late 19th century.
Recognizing the immense potential of the site, Dr. Mallios and the SDSU field school, with the support of the County of San Diego and Save Our Heritage Organisation, adopted the site to continue work on the cistern, and began excavating the site of the privy or outhouse as well.
The location of the Whaley cistern was pinpointed using Thomas Whaley's 1872 map of the property in which the cistern was indicated by a circle inside a square approximately 20' behind the house, and a slight sunken circular indentation in the brick walkway in the same location. The privy was also located using Whaley's map.
The public can watch the archeologists on site five days a week from 8am to 3pm Monday through Friday at the Whaley House, 2476 San Diego Avenue. Dr. Mallios believes that "with its central location, public access, and rich history, the Whaley House site could become one of the premier programs for urban archeology in the country. It has remarkable potential for annual summer field schools and year-round research and teaching programs." When the excavation is complete, the cistern will be reconstructed as part of the ongoing restoration of the Whaley House and grounds.
Read Dr. Mallios's complete report on the 2007 dig.