Thesis

Big Sur Doghole Ports: A Frontier Maritime Cultural Landscape

Purpose: This study seeks to establish a foundation of research for a subject that has been largely overlooked in the archaeological and historical literature of California in general and Big Sur in particular. Doghole ports served as essential conduits of transportation, communication, and commerce in maritime frontier regions that lacked developed terrestrial transportation networks. Understanding the role of these landings will greatly increase the historic context of the surrounding landscape. In addition, since many doghole ports had not been recorded as archaeological sites prior to this study, it aims to determine what types of archaeological signatures exist and introduce frameworks for interpreting and managing these unique sites.
 Procedure: This study gathered and examined historical documents, including photographs, maps, land patents, articles of incorporation, and newspapers in an attempt to define a historic context of Big Sur’s maritime landscape during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Archaeological pedestrian reconnaissance was performed at five doghole ports and one navigational aid site. The documentary and archaeological data were analyzed in reference to the maritime cultural landscape and landscape learning theoretical frameworks and the research questions set forth in this study.
 Findings: Documentary sources and archaeological data gathered through several field surveys combine to illustrate a landscape of industrial and technological innovation and environmental adaptation. Archaeologically, natural features were often found to substitute for human constructions and environmental obstacles were adapted to serve economic and transportation purposes.
 Conclusions: Doghole port sites and related elements in Big Sur embody a maritime cultural landscape of transportation and industry, which prior to this study, has not been addressed. Examining the documentary and archaeological record in a maritime cultural landscape framework illustrate newfound links amongst sites and features. Terrestrial archaeological features are no longer entirely terrestrial as the framework illuminates their maritime orientation and connection. This perspective can contribute to a much needed dialogue on how to address the maritime heritage of California.

Purpose: This study seeks to establish a foundation of research for a subject that has been largely overlooked in the archaeological and historical literature of California in general and Big Sur in particular. Doghole ports served as essential conduits of transportation, communication, and commerce in maritime frontier regions that lacked developed terrestrial transportation networks. Understanding the role of these landings will greatly increase the historic context of the surrounding landscape. In addition, since many doghole ports had not been recorded as archaeological sites prior to this study, it aims to determine what types of archaeological signatures exist and introduce frameworks for interpreting and managing these unique sites. Procedure: This study gathered and examined historical documents, including photographs, maps, land patents, articles of incorporation, and newspapers in an attempt to define a historic context of Big Sur’s maritime landscape during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Archaeological pedestrian reconnaissance was performed at five doghole ports and one navigational aid site. The documentary and archaeological data were analyzed in reference to the maritime cultural landscape and landscape learning theoretical frameworks and the research questions set forth in this study. Findings: Documentary sources and archaeological data gathered through several field surveys combine to illustrate a landscape of industrial and technological innovation and environmental adaptation. Archaeologically, natural features were often found to substitute for human constructions and environmental obstacles were adapted to serve economic and transportation purposes. Conclusions: Doghole port sites and related elements in Big Sur embody a maritime cultural landscape of transportation and industry, which prior to this study, has not been addressed. Examining the documentary and archaeological record in a maritime cultural landscape framework illustrate newfound links amongst sites and features. Terrestrial archaeological features are no longer entirely terrestrial as the framework illuminates their maritime orientation and connection. This perspective can contribute to a much needed dialogue on how to address the maritime heritage of California.

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