Santa Clara University

History of Archaeology at SCU

Archaeology at SCU formally began at SCU in the 1970s, as both anthropology at SCU expanded and campus construction escalated. With SCU and National Science Foundation matching funds, anthropologist Allen Pastron set up an Archaeology Lab on the third floor of O’Connor Hall, in a room doing double duty for conferences and small classes. He introduced a summer field school to the curriculum in 1975 and lab courses in archaeology that same year.

This was also an era in which the growing field of Cultural Resource Management (CRM) became a driving legal force for archaeology nationally and locally. Construction projects at SCU were required to be compliant with these regulations. Campus archaeology became an increasing focus as the SCU campus expanded into its surrounding neighborhoods. Assistant Professor Mark Lynch, hired in 1980, began excavations along what is now Palm Drive in advance of the University opening a new entrance to campus. Sadly, Mark was killed on campus, crossing the Alameda in 1982.

Dr. Dave Huelsbeck, Anthropology, succeeded Mark Lynch, excavating in a variety of locations around campus, also in advance of construction projects in the early to mid 1980s. As collections and analysis expanded, the Archaeology Lab moved into the old football Fieldhouse, near the current entrance to campus.

In 1991, Russ Skowronek replaced Dave Huelsbeck, who had moved back to the Northwest (Pacific Lutheran). In 1994, Russ was appointed to a new part-time position, Campus Archaeologist, as construction on campus again accelerated with the new Arts and Sciences building on Palm Drive. It didn’t take long before the Archaeology Research Lab was overwhelmed with materials to catalogue and curate. In order to manage some of this influx and work with students, Julie Wizorek was hired in 1995. Russ’ students from Introduction to Archaeology classes became involved in archaeology on campus, working both in the lab and in the field on smaller excavations.

During his tenure at SCU (1991-2008), Russ Skowronek developed multiple strands of research, including projects on locally made ceramics from all the California missions, translation and interpretation of the Santa Clara mission period documents and the archaeology of college life.

In 1998, Linda Hylkema was hired as the Assistant Campus Archaeologist, the first continuing fulltime archaeology position. In addition to being responsible for all of the cultural resource management on campus, Linda develops archaeology exhibits on campus, works with students from archaeology classes, and manages the archaeological collections.

The ARL was moved into Ricard Memorial Observatory in 2007, and its previous home, the Fieldhouse, was torn down. The move into Ricard provided an opportunity to create a teaching lab space for archaeology, as well as better processing facilities for artifacts. In 2008, Lisa Kealhofer, Anthropology/ESS faculty, became the Interim Campus Archaeologist.

The staff at ARL continues to expand and is working on managing our extensive collections and developing opportunities for public outreach. Students work on collections’ and research projects. The ARL is in an exciting phase of transformation and development as we endeavor to integrate our extensive collections into classes and student and faculty research.