Watercolor by Il'ia Voznesenky, 1841, picture courtesy of Sonoma County Parks & Recreation
Fort Ross Archaeological Project
University of California, Berkeley.
project by James M. Allan
(under advisor Kent G. Lightfoot),
webpages by Scott T.S. Trimble.

Russian cemetery overlooking Fort Ross
Before going on, you might want to read more about Fort Ross, courtesy of the Sonoma County Parks & Recreation. They also have a second webpage which tells about the early history of the fort.

Fort Ross at sunset"The Fort Ross Archaeological Project serves as a case study for evaluating how Pacific Coast hunter-gatherers responded to the mercantile policies of a fur trade company. The Russian-American Company at Colony Ross enlisted large numbers of native peoples from Siberia, Alaska, and northern California to work as sea mammal hunters and agricultural laborers. The purpose of the Fort Ross project is to evaluate how mercantile colonialism impacted the traditional lifeways of these diverse native populations. We will evaluate the degree to wich native participation in the broader Ross community resulted in significant changes in their material culture, subsistence activities, religious practices, sociopolitical organization, and gender relations."

from The Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Fort Ross, California, by Kent G. LIGHTFOOT, Thomas A. WAKE, and Ann M. SCHIFF, published by the Archaeological Research Facility, University of California at Berkeley, Dec 1991, page 2.

Jim ALLAN (shown at right), a graduate student under Professor Kent LIGHTFOOT at U.C. Berkeley, is currently finishing his dissertation at Fort Ross on the California Pacific Coast. He is searching for evidence of the shipyard that the Russians once had on the beach below the fort.

I got involved in this project in February 1997 after hearing about it from Heather KEHRES who had already been working at Fort Ross since the previous semester. We both took Anthropology 2 (Introduction to Archaeology) in Spring 1996 under ALLAN and LIGHTFOOT.

Besides helping on the digs, I also did labwork on the U.C. Berkeley campus where I cleaned, catalogued, and conducted tests on the artifacts.



  • 02 / 08 / 1997: Jim ALLAN, Patricia HUNT-JONES, Heather KEHRES, Dave MAKAR, Scott TRIMBLE, April van WYKE. Heather and I were in the creek wet-screening dirt from FTU 3, FTU 3+, and FTU 4A while the others dug from the units up above. Jim and Dave attempted to build a pulley system to bring buckets of dirt down to the creek.

  • 02 / 09 / 1997Jim ALLAN, Patricia HUNT-JONES, Heather KEHRES, Dave MAKAR, Scott TRIMBLE, April van WYKE. We finished wet-screening and then rotated jobs. Heather and I started digging FTU 4C while Jim and Dave wet-screened and Patricia and April dug FTU 4A even deeper.

  • 02 / 22 / 1997Jim ALLAN, David JACKNIN, Brian HILLESHEIM, Jason KLOEZEMAN, Craig KODROS, Neil LANE, Leigh MARTIN, Jessica MAXEY, Jamie MEYER, Gabe OLSON, Heather PRICE (with daughter Haley), Heather REED, Scott TRIMBLE. A group of students from College of Marin came up to work with us this weekend. We dug FTUs 4A and 4C even deeper while starting some auger-holes along the road to find places where we may be likely to find artifacts.

  • 02 / 23 / 1997Jim ALLAN, Brian HILLESHEIM, Craig KODROS, Neil LANE, Leigh MARTIN, Jessica MAXEY, Gabe OLSON, Heather REED, Scott TRIMBLE. Today we finished the pulley system, did more wet-screening, and dug out two more auger-holes. We will turn at least one of them into a test unit next weekend.

  • 03 / 08 / 1997Jim ALLAN, Kira BLAISDELL-SLOAN, Jason CLAIBORNE, Cris LOWGREN, Craig KODROS, Dave MAKAR, Stacey MAUNG, Steve MOORE, Gabe OLSON, Annette SCHACHTER, Scott TRIMBLE. We started digging and screening FTU 5 and used a special photographic technique to try to determine where the "barn" might have once been located. That afternoon and dinner we had visitors: Kent LIGHTFOOT, Roberta LIGHTFOOT, Dan MURLEY (with wife Sandy and daughter Oona), John SHEA, Steve SILLIMAN, Bill WALTON, and Marek ZVELEBIL.

  • 03 / 09 / 1997Jim ALLAN, Kira BLAISDELL-SLOAN, Jason CLAIBORNE, Nancy LINDER, Cris LOWGREN, Dave MAKAR, Stacey MAUNG, Steve MOORE, Dan MURLEY, Gabe OLSON, Annette SCHACHTER, Scott TRIMBLE, Marna WOLFE. We continued work on finding the barn and finally determined one possible outline. We split FTU 5 into FTU 5A and 5B and opened up FTU 6.

  • 03 / 16 / 1997Jim ALLAN, Heather KEHRES, Craig KODROS, Dave MAKAR, Annette SCHACTER, Tania STELLINI, Scott TRIMBLE, Daniel, Jennifer. Work for the day was cancelled because of rain.

  • 03 / 22 / 1997Jim ALLAN, Kira BLAISDELL-SLOAN, Laura EKLUND, Eric McFARLAND, Annette SCHACTER, Scott TRIMBLE, Carrie WILLS. We spent most of the day digging and dry-screening dirt from FTUs 5B, 6, and 7.

  • 04 / 14 / 1997Jim ALLAN, Craig KODROS, Cris LOWGREN, Dave MAKAR, Steve MOORE, John SHARP, Scott TRIMBLE, Chris WARD, Damon WHITE, April van WYKE. Since the last time I was here, FTU 6 was buried because nothing was found, FTU 5 was extended because of a possible circular feature, and FTU 7 was extended because of some wood and a metal rod found inside it. Today we started TU 5 on the side of the road, extended FTU 5 with four more 1x1 units, and uncovered the TU 2 that was buried last summer.

  • 05 / 25 / 1997Jim ALLAN, Heather KEHRES, Cris LOWGREN, Dave MAKAR, Rose MOTA, Kyle ROHRS, Scott TRIMBLE. The "I Know What You Did Last Summer" movie crew has left Fort Ross in favor of other Sonoma County locations. Other updates: work has continued on previous units and digging has begun in FTU 5A-prime, TU 2B, and TU 2D. Today we continued these three units.


  • Watercolor of Fort Ross by Il'ia Voznesenky, 1841
  • Russian Cemetery Overlooking the Fort
  • View of Fort Ross at Sunset
  • Jim ALLAN at Fort Ross Creek
  • Beach Next to Fort Ross Creek
  • Scott TRIMBLE Digging in FTU 4C
  • Heather KEHRES Wet-Screening at the Creek
  • ArchaeCamp
  • Jim ALLAN, et al, Digging New Auger-Holes
  • Bottom of FTU 4A
  • Panorama of the Entire Beach Site
  • ArchaeDave MAKAR Standing in the Possible Outline of the "Barn"
  • Jim ALLAN on the Cliff
  • Scott TRIMBLE and Heather REED at the Wet-Screening Station
  • MURLEY, MAKAR, KEHRES. TU-2 on 25 May 1997.
  • Old Picture of Shipyard and Buildings #1
  • Old Picture of Shipyard and Buildings #2
  • Old Picture of Shipyard and Buildings #3


    Jim ALLAN, Kira BLAISDELL-SLOAN (webpage), Jason CLAIBORNE, Laura EKLUND, Patricia HUNT-JONES, David JACKNIN, Brian HILLESHEIM, Heather KEHRES, Jason KLOEZEMAN, Craig KODROS, Neil LANE, Kent LIGHTFOOT, Nancy LINDER, Cris LOWGREN, Dave MAKAR, Leigh MARTIN, Stacey MAUNG, Eric McFARLAND, Steve MOORE, Jessica MAXEY, Jamie MEYER, Dan MURLEY, Gabe OLSON, Heather PRICE, Heather REED, Annette SCHACHTER, John SHARP, Steve SILLIMAN, Tania STELLINI, Scott TRIMBLE (webpage), Bill WALTON, Chris WARD, Damon WHITE, Carrie WILLS, Marna WOLFE, April van WYKE, Daniel, Jennifer.

    Sara Nathanson's FRAP Logo graphic
    Also check out Sara NATHANSON's webpage
    about Fort Ross history and excavation.

    S.F. Bay Area Archaeology
    Scott T.S. Trimble   © 1997-1999