My name is Wendy Giddens Teeter, Curator of Archaeology at the Fowler Museum at UCLA. As an archaeologist I am a Co-Director of the Pimu Catalina Island Archaeology Project (PCIAP). This blog is to document the creation of a website to present our work at Eagles Nest Hunting Lodge on Catalina Island. Aside from excavation at this historic location, our mission is to understand and protect the more than 8,000 years of cultural history on the island while working with the Gabrielino/Tongva community and local islanders. With more than 100 years of previous archaeological research, we hope to build off these undertakings and support new research projects using new methods, knowledge, and technology. Please see pimu.weebly.com for further information.
Eagles Nest Hunting Lodge was built in 1896 by Joseph and Hancock Banning as a hunting camp and stagecoach stop. It has gone through many transformations as ownership of the island changed to William Wrigley in 1919 and then to the Catalina Island Conservancy in 1972. Archaeological excavations by PCIAP occurred from 2008-2014 to assist with mitigation of the California Environmental Quality Act and to further contextualize the history of the location in preparation of the lodge becoming an historical museum.
A Virtual Presence
PCIAP has unpublished data, archival photos, stories and historical items and will create a virtual exhibition and provide public access to the raw data, while also providing a summary of our findings and how it enhances understanding of three major components in the life of this building (Banning, Wrigley, Conservancy). I will be blogging about the creation of this website with the struggles and surprises that I expect it to bring.
More specifically, this digital project will create a virtual museum exhibition that allows the visitor to select a time period (1890s, 1930s, 1970s) and then explore the hunting lodge and what life was like within that temporal framework. In addition there will be an archaeological component that shows our site map (showing our excavation units) that can be clicked. Each unit will have highlighted images along with the official inventories, so that people could play with the data and make their own interpretations. This could feed into a K-12 component.
There are three thousand people that live on Catalina Island and more than a million visitors yearly. Many of these islanders and visitors are multi-generational and have specific memories of Eagles Nest either as a holiday location, hunting area, or as a tourist stop where they received lemonade/coffee and cookies. Inland island tours still stop here generating a great deal of interest into its history, although there is currently no information that focuses on the history of the Eagles Nest Hunting Lodge and how it exemplifies the vision each land owner had for the island.
The Pimu Catalina Island Archaeology Project (PCIAP) has never worked on its own. It is with generous support and assistance of many people that the project continues to be so successful. Excavations at Eagles Nest have been through field courses sponsored by UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA Law School’s Tribal Learning Community and Educational Exchange, Institute for Field Research, and CSUN Anthropology. Our permit is from the Catalina Island Conservancy. Ongoing support is being given by the Catalina Island Museum, Fowler Museum at UCLA, USC Archaeology, USC Spatial Sciences, USC Environmental Studies & Wrigley Marine Institute, and the City of Avalon.