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November 4, 2015

Slab

Philip Mill Jones may well be the least celebrated archaeologist of the early age of the discipline in California. Few months ago I gave a small presentation about the museum and I learned that many young students were not familiar with his name. Indeed in 1956 Heizer and Elsasser had noted that while the Uhle's (Peru) and the Reisner's (Egypt) collections became well-known among scholars and students, Jones contribution had been (as of 1956) little recognized. Between 1899 and 1901, P. M. Jones was appointed by Mrs. Hearst to conduct field investigation, mostly in California, but in other parts of Western North America as well. Jones was a medical doctor, not an archaeologist. Perhaps for that reason he was primarily interested in ancient Indian burials but he had a keen sense of the scientific nature of his enterprise and pioneered the use of photographs and field notes in California archaeology.

Adobe Holes; top of Mound # 5, showing trench commenced. Man at extreme end of mound
Hearst Museum Archaeological Archives.
Photo by Philip M. Jones, 1901

Jones spent the early months of 1901 on Santa Rosa Island where he investigated thirty five ancient sites that resulted in vast archaeological assemblages now curated in Berkeley. He wasn't the first one but most of the earlier collectors could be classified simply as looters. Many other archaeological expeditions expanded on Jones' findings in the following decades but a comprehensive body had not yet been produced. Indeed, in his review of Archaeological Investigations on Santa Rosa Island in 1901, William J. Wallace hinted that the editors [Heizer and Elsasser] could have done better justice to Jones' collections from Santa Rosa Island by reevaluating them in light of more recent discoveries rather than limit themselves to transcribe his diaries and field notes. These manuscripts are incredibly valuable and yet disappointing from a modern archaeological standpoint given the lack of drawings and more detailed photographs. They are, however, very descriptive of all aspects of the expeditions. Among other details we know that the crew often operated under bad weather conditions and that Jones himself was frequently feeling sick from cold and flu. Rain, strong winds and fog are mentioned often in his pages. One day in February the crew couldn't leave for the fields because the fog was so thick they could not locate their horses! Many years ago I found myself in a foggy situation when my teammates had to walk next to the car to help me drive along a narrow and steep trail on our way to a cave.
















Jones' Horses in Guadalupe, California
Hearst Museum Archaeological Archives.
Photo by Philip M. Jones (?), 1901

I personally find unfortunate that many years later (1972) Robert Heizer decided to dust off Jones' collection to produce another small volume titled California oldest historical relic? The subject of this little pamphlet was a stone slab collected on Santa Rosa Island, which he postulated could be Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo gravestone. It isn't. The main argument is that Cabrillo died on San Miguel Island and he was likely buried there. Afterward the fleet sailed north and reached Oregon before returning to Mexico ending an expedition that most contemporaries considered a failure. They didn't return to Santa Rosa Island: how did the slab travel there?
Philip Mills Jones was not aware of the carvings; he collected this and other similar slabs and thought they were produced and used by Indians, not White explorers or early settlers. Would he collect the slab if he thought it belong to Cabrillo's grave? There is no answer to that question but Jones wasn't necessarily interested in historic, non native, sites. He was also not a scam artist and it is hard to imagine why, in his long prologue about the discovery of the stone, Heizer hinted at the possibility that the slab could be part of an elaborate hoax orchestrated by Jones. It wasn't, of course, and his legacy did not deserve the casting of such doubts many years after his death.





















Hearst Museum 1-5086
slab
Southern California, Channel Islands, Santa Rosa Island
Collected by Philip M. Jones, 1901

March 11, 2015

Lump

Eugene A. Golomshtok came to the United States from Russia in 1918, perhaps because of the recent revolution, and received his bachelor degree at Berkeley in December 1922. Since the Fall 1921 Golomshtok is seldom employed by the museum and the records show that he worked in Monterey, Tehama and Shasta counties where he collected archaeological assemblages complemented by a small selection of ethnographic objects and photographs. Some of his early findings were noted by Alfred Kroeber who wrote to the landowner in 1922:
"I was greatly interested in some broken pieces of pottery that Mr. Golomshtok found in Cypress Point. It is too crude and irregular to be of American or of Mexican make, and on the other hand, there has been no previous authentic report of pottery having been manufactured by the Indians of the region"
Despite Kroeber's interest, Golomshtok experience at Berkeley ended in the fall of 1925 and the museum didn't undertake any further archaeological work in the sites he discovered.



















Hearst Museum 1-23591
lump
California, Monterey County, CA-Mnt-159
Collected by Eugene A. Golomshtok, 1921





















Hearst Museum 1-23556
spear point, broken
California, Monterey County, CA-Mnt-159
Collected by Eugene A. Golomshtok, 1921

An interesting contribution for the 2014 Day of Archaeology tells that Golomshtok was affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania Museum from 1930 to around 1938, a period he used to travel several times back to Russia on archaeological and ethnographic expeditions. Pre-war times were a period of turmoil in Europe and despite more than one agreement between Germany and Russia, he was no longer able to secure a working visa after 1934.
He spent the following years reading all possible Russian archaeological literature available in the United States and, in 1938, published The Old Stone Age in European Russia that he hoped to be especially useful to those who did not know the Russian language. Golomshtok' thorough survey was highly praised by many reviewers, notably by Sir Gordon Child, but surprisingly it remained the last of his publications. Eugene Golomshtok died in 1950.