underground History Have you ever dug in your garden and found interesting things underground?
Were they left there long ago? How can you tell?
“On 34th Avenue in the dirt around our pepper tree you’d always ﬁnd things in the
ground. It seemed like there was something deeper, and older, and richer that haunted
the neighborhood.” — Claudia Albano, remembering playing in her parents’ yard in the 1960s. Her family home
on 34th Avenue was taken down to create the park.
In 1996, many years after Claudia Albano found Merchant ships came to California
things under her parents’ pepper tree, the park was from all over the world during the 1830s
being landscaped with a small tractor. and 1840s. The Peraltas traded hides
and tallow* for luxury goods, such as ﬁne In April 2004 Trish Fernandez
The tractor turned up very unusual material, near the china plates and bowls, and special foods, excavated another area, under the
place where Claudia’s house used to be, which is such as chocolate and sugar. new lawn. She found bottles from
where you are standing now. * cow fat Fruitvale in the 1870s. They tell
another interesting story.
The tractor driver called Katherine
Flynn to look at the material
dug up by the machinery.
She is an archaeologist, In 1999, archaeologist Julia Costello figured
a scientist who studies out that the place where the artifacts were
objects from the past. found was probably an adobe-making pit.
Here, the Peralta family and Indian workers
made the bricks to build their houses out of
Assistants to Julia Costello, 1999 dig
the underground layer of clay soil. Later, they
threw trash in the empty pit. We now study the
things they threw away almost 200 years ago.
Cheryl Smith-Lintner, an archaeologist at UC Berkeley, discovered that
most of the cattle bones found here were from animals slaughtered for
Katherine Flynn and Bill Roop,
their hides, rather than for food. She has studied the artifacts and written
a special report for other scientists—and for you.
Archaeologist Flynn found an underground area here Flynn found animal bones, mostly from Flynn also found pieces of pottery, dating
with many more bones and pieces of pottery, still in place. cows, from the time when the Peralta from the 1830s and 1840s. This pottery came
She covered this original deposit with a protective blanket family still owned this land. from England, China, France, and Boston,
before they were buried again. Massachusetts. How did that pottery from
so far away get here, 180 years ago?
Underground cross-section of the Peralta adobe-making pit.
Courtesy of Katherine Flynn
Would you like to study objects from the past and learn their stories?
Los folletos traducidos al español sobre todos los señalamientos se encuentran en Peralta House.
Please come and see the artifacts and hear their stories in the Peralta House.
Coù caùc taäp saùch dòch sang tieáng Vieät cho taát caû caùc baûng hieäu taïi Peralta House.
THIS IS A CALIFORNIA STATE PROTECTED ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE. ALL EXCAVATION MUST BE DIRECTED BY A CERTIFIED ARCHAEOLOGIST.