In 2006, Stockton's Redevelopment Agency, in cooperation with Chevron Corporation, were removing contaminated soil and abandoned oil supply pipelines from a property on the South Shore of the Stockton Channel. While excavating soil from the historic alignment of one of these pipelines, an unexpected discovery involving Native American remains occurred. All work stopped immediately while professional archaeologists specializing in the recovery of Native American remains were brought to the site. Representatives of the Northern Valley Yokuts tribe were also brought in to monitor all activities.
What the Archaeologists Found
Investigations confirmed that a new archaeological site had indeed been discovered. The site is located on Stockton's Weber Avenue. It contained both prehistoric and historic material. A wide range of artifact types was collected, ranging from ancient stone tools to 19th century glass bottles. Archaeologists tested different prehistoric artifact types such as obsidian projectile points (also known as "arrowheads") to figure out how old the site might be. The results suggest that it could be approximately 2,500 years old.
Historic artifacts found at the site also help to tell a story of early pioneer days of Stockton. The earliest historic artifacts date to about 1860, when the area was just an empty lot used as a trash dump. The items found included ceramic dishes and broken storage pots. Later artifacts relate to the operation of a grain warehouse built on the site in the early 1900s.
The Weber Avenue site is special because it helps archaeologists understand multiple layers of Stockton's unique history. During all the construction work that took place near the Weber Avenue site, the City made sure that an archaeologist was always on hand to watch for additional discoveries that might be made.
What Happened to the Site?
Today, it's known that much of the Weber Avenue archaeological site has either been disturbed by construction activities that occurred in the 1960s or remains very deeply buried underground. Artifacts from the site were all collected and taken to a lab, and materials from several grave sites were handled according to the wishes of the Northern Valley Yokuts, a California Indian tribe. Archaeologists have worked to produce detailed reports of their recent discoveries so that others can learn about the valuable history that lies hidden beneath Stockton's city streets.
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This City of Stockton webpage last reviewed on --- 3/22/2011