A team of archaeologists working during the Nacimiento Water Project unearthed a large collection of Chumash artifacts, ranging from bowl mortar and pestles, a milling stone slab, and a number of other stone tools, bone fragments and shells. More than 500 pieces were found and are estimated to be 5,000 – 10,000 years old. The property excavated is located on River Road in Paso Robles, and is owned by American Perspective Bank (APB).
The archaeologists, working on the site for the County of San Luis Obispo, cleaned, sorted and catalogued the artifacts, which were then given to APB. The artifacts were turned over to the Northern Chumash Tribal Council as the caretakers for the Chumash Nation. Though technically the bank is considered the owner of the findings, APB President/CEO Mark Crawford explains, “It is our belief that we were simply holding the artifacts as trustee for the benefit of the Chumash Nation.” Crawford adds that APB management and employees were excited about the finding and about learning more about the Chumash.
“These artifacts are significant enough to qualify for the National Historic Registry,” said Northern Chumash Tribal Council (NCTC) Tribal Administrator, Fred Collins. “As caretakers of our ancestry, we greatly appreciate the County’s Public Works Department for their understanding and cooperation, and also thank American Perspective Bank for giving us these important pieces of history.” Collins said that the artifacts will be safely stored until they can be displayed in a Native American Chumash Interpretive Center, which the NCTC hopes to build in the near future.