The term “cultural resources” generally refers to aspects of a cultural system that are valued by or are significantly representative of a culture, or that contain significant information about a culture. Cultural resources may be tangible entities such as sites, buildings, and objects, or cultural practices. The term is often applied to sites, areas, or buildings that represent significant places or events in the flow of human experience. The term sometimes specifically refers to the remnants, evidence, and areas associated with human activities or are otherwise considered significant or important, and may include the following:
· Prehistoric and ethnohistoric Native American archaeological sites [more]
· Historic archaeological sites – sites occupied after European settlement
· Historic buildings or structures
· Elements or areas of the natural landscape which have traditional cultural significance [more]
Prehistoric and Ethnohistoric Native American Archaeological Sites:
Prehistoric sites represent the material remnants of Native American societies and their activities. Ethnohistoric sites are defined as Native American settlements occupied after the arrival of European settlers in California.
Archaeological sites include villages, seasonal camp sites, stone tool quarry sites, hunting and butchering sites, traditional trails, and sites with rock carvings or paintings.
Archaeologists identify such sites by numerous criteria, such as the presence of one or more of the following:
· Darker soil with evidence of human activity, called midden.
· Circular depressions representing houses or ceremonial structures.
· Artifacts, such as arrow or spear points, and fragments of pottery vessels.
· Stone flakes made of chert, jasper, quartzite, quartz, basalt, obsidian, and other rock types.
· Shell, animal bone, groundstone tools used for grinding seeds and pounding acorns, such as manos, metates, mortars, pestles, and bedrock mortars.
· Plant foods, such as carbonized seeds.
Areas of Traditional Cultural Significance
These are areas that have been and often continue to be of economic and/or religious significance to people today. They include Native American sacred areas where religious ceremonies are practiced or which are central to their origins as a people. They also include areas where Native Americans gather plants for food, medicinal, or economic purposes. A certain degree of protection is provided for such resources by California state law.