7th graders present to Society for American Archaeology

By staff writer Luke Wonzen

A group of 7th graders, along with 7th grade teacher Nancy Ely, presented at the Society for American Archaeology in San Francisco about the Bay Farm Shellmound Project in April.

More than 100 people were present for the BFMS presentation at the conference, held at the San Francisco Hilton. More than a thousand people attended the conference. Bay Farm’s was just one of two middle school groups who presented.

Ms. Ely was the main leadership of the project, and the students who presented were Chloe Amaden, Sindhu Ananthavel, Jay Bond, Karen Kee, Kyle Wonzen, and Samantha Zimmerman.

DocumentFor its research, the team interviewed two University of California, Berkeley students and Principal Babs Freitas, whose father had found artifacts in his Alameda basement. They did research at the Alameda Library, the Alameda Museum, and various online articles. They also conducted email interviews.

Some of the information they uncovered was that Shellmounds — refuse heaps left by native Americans, often containing artifacts — used to be all over the Bay Area.

In Emeryville, for instance, large shellmounds were in the area where the Emeryville Bay Street shopping area is today. The Emeryville shellmounds were broken down during the construction of the area. The rest of the shellmounds were already broken down years ago to make way for a paint factory. The paint factory polluted the ground, which turned the skeletons buried in the shellmounds to grotesque figures.

The Bay Street mall made a small park to honor the Shellmounds, but it was no match for the destruction caused.