Science Pub from Home: Investigating Late 19th-Century Investigators
Curator of Anthropology John R. Johnson, Ph.D., unearths the career of Rev. Stephen Bowers, who undertook extensive excavations throughout the Santa Barbara region in the 1870s and 1880s. Bowers sold collections to the Smithsonian Institution and other East Coast museums. By today’s standards, artifacts amassed by nineteenth-century antiquarian collectors regrettably lack information as to their original archaeological context. Although this is true for Bowers as well, his journals and carefully drawn maps provide important information regarding the sites where he worked. Dr. Johnson over the years has made a number of field visits to these locations in order to ground-truth Bowers’s observations. Restudying his maps and collections yields new insights regarding Chumash lifeways and material culture.
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