Historic Name:            Drakes Bay Historic and Archeological District


Other Name/Site Number:       Drakeユs Bay, Port of Nova Albion, Portus Novae Albionis, Drakeユs Cove, The Francis Drake California Landing Site, San Agust地, California Indian sites CA-MRN-216, 230, 232, 235, 236, 242, 271, 274, 280, 298, 307, 308, 389, 392, and 394, taml-h忱e




Street & Number:  Point Reyes National Seashore, NPS                                                         Not for publication: X 

                               Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA

City/Town:  Point Reyes Station                                                                                                               Vicinity: X   


State:  CA                    County:  Marin                    Code:  041                                                       Zip Code:  94956





                        Ownership of Property                                   Category of Property

                        Private:                                                            Building(s):     ____

                        Public-Local:                                                   District:           _X _

                        Public-State:      X                                           Site:                            

                        Public-Federal:  X                                           Structure:         ____

                                                                                                Object:             ____


Number of Resources within Property

                        Contributing                                                    Noncontributing


                             17                                                                 10   sites



                            17                                                                  10   Total


Number of Contributing Resources Previously Listed in the National Register:  0        


Name of Related Multiple Property Listing: N/A



As the designated authority under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, I hereby certify that this       nomination ____ request for determination of eligibility meets the documentation standards for registering properties in the National Register of Historic Places and meets the procedural and professional requirements set forth in 36 CFR Part 60.  In my opinion, the property         meets ____ does not meet the National Register Criteria.



Signature of Certifying Official                                                           Date



State or Federal Agency and Bureau



In my opinion, the property ____ meets ____ does not meet the National Register criteria.



Signature of Commenting or Other Official                                        Date



State or Federal Agency and Bureau





I hereby certify that this property is:


___  Entered in the National Register 

___  Determined eligible for the National Register 

___  Determined not eligible for the National Register 

___  Removed from the National Register 

___  Other (explain): 



Signature of Keeper                                                                            Date of Action



Historic:          TRANSPORTATION                        Sub:     water related

                        DEFENSE                              Sub:     fortification

                        DOMESTIC                           Sub:     village site, camp



Current:           LANDSCAPE                                    Sub:     natural feature 















The Drakes Bay Historic and Archeological District is a nationally significant sixteenth-century landscape that includes 15 California Indian sites that provide material evidence of one of the earliest instances of European contact and interaction with native peoples on the west coast of the United States; the most likely site of Francis Drakeユs 1579 California landing, the first English encampment on land that is now part of the United States; and the site of a sixteenth-century Spanish shipwreck, the Manila galleon San Agust地, which wrecked in Drakes Bay in 1595, totaling 17 sites (Maps 1 and 2).  This remarkable cultural landscape has excellent integrity and continues to capture the setting and feeling of the sixteenth century (Photos 1, 2).  The property is nominated as a National Historic Landmark under Criteria 1, 2, and 6, under the National Park Serviceユs (NPS) thematic framework, Peopling Places. 


Under Criterion 1, the property is nationally significant in the areas of maritime history and exploration.  Documentary and other evidence points to this area as the site of Drakeユs California landing.  Also included in the district is the site of the shipwreck San Agust地.  Drakeユs voyage was the first English circumnavigation of the globe, the first completed by its commander, and the first after the Magellan expedition's circumnavigation.  Its accomplishment by Francis Drake was one of the most dramatic events in the long political, economic and religious struggle in which Britain wrested control of the seas from Spain, eventually creating the conditions for a British-colonized North America. The wreck in Drakes Bay of the Spanish Manila galleon San Agust地, under the command of Sebastian Rodriguez Cerme撲, was heavily salvaged by the Coast Miwok, the native group occupying the area during the contact period.  In fact, salvage of the wreck began before the Spaniards had even departed Drakes Bay.  In his log Cerme撲 describes a confrontation between Coast Miwok individuals and the Spaniards over the salvaged shipユs timbers.  Both Drakeユs landing and the wreck of the San Agust地 mark the beginning of European-native interactions that were to shape the relations between these groups in the western United States for centuries. 


Under Criterion 2, Drakes Bay Historic and Archeological District is the property which best represents the nationally significant figure, Sir Francis Drake.  Drake circumnavigated the world, returning to England in 1580. This feat strengthened England as a maritime power and gave England a stake in western North America.  While Drake made contact with North American shores four other times, those visits were brief and left no lasting, visible evidence.  Drakeユs Cove, the white cliffs, and the Native American sites associated with his visit are tangible reminders of Drakeユs port of Nova Albion. They constitute the best representative site in this country associated with Sir Francis Drake and one of the first cultural interactions between Native Americans and Europeans on the west coast.

Under Criterion 6, the district is nationally significant for its archeological potential in the area of historical archeology.  The archeological resources here have potential to yield information of major scientific importance, shedding light on the earliest intercultural interactions between Europeans and native peoples in the far west.  These deposits are expected to yield data significantly affecting theories, concepts and ideas about this initial cultural interaction.  How this interaction shaped the contact period in the west, the role of disease in cross- cultural encounters, the material consequences of colonial encounters, transformations in traditional native lifeways based on introduced material culture, the recontextualization of such goods and the consequent potential long term cultural change, and whether the archeological record here challenges assumptions about the contact period, can all be examined.  There are few places in the United States where it is possible to learn about this early contact. 


Describe Present and Historic Physical Appearance.

Environmental Setting


Point Reyes is a bold, rocky headland at the western end of the Point Reyes Peninsula in Latitude 38 degrees North.  It is three miles long, with a maximum height of 612 feet (187 m).  The peninsula juts eleven nautical miles into the sea from the main trend of the land, and the point is visible from the bridge of a ship at sea for twenty-five miles (See Map 3).


Drakes Bay lies inside and east of Point Reyes, with its entrance facing south (See Map 3).  The United States Coast Pilot, seventh edition, 1992, gives this description: "Drakes Bay, named after English explorer Sir Francis Drake. . . . . is northeast of the 1-mile long 200 foot high, narrow peninsula that forms the easternmost part of Point Reyes.  White cliffs commence at the southwest angle of the bay and curve round to the northeast for about six miles, ending at high white sand dunes.  This curving shoreline forms Drakes Bay, which affords good anchorage in depths of 4 to 6 fathoms, sandy bottom, in heavy Northwest weather.  Several lagoons [esteros or estuaries] in back of the north shore empty into the bay through a common channel which is navigable by shallow-draft vessels with local knowledge.


Drakes Bay, the esteros, and the rolling hills around them are separated from the interior of the region by Inverness Ridge which runs in a northwest-southeast direction, beginning near Tomales Point on the northwest, rising to 1,408 feet (429 m) at Mount Wittenberg, and terminating in the southeast near the west side of Bolinas Lagoon (See Map 3).

Inverness Ridge blocks much of the wind and fog that sweep across the Point Reyes Peninsula from the northwest, thereby creating a sharp contrast in microclimates and appearance between the coastal Drakes Bay region and the interior valleys.  The contrast is marked by a treeless, sere aspect of grass and brush on Point Reyes itself and across the peninsula's moorlike hills, whereas the ridge is heavily forested and shields lush grassland and forested valleys inland.  "Often, in summer, while the Olema Valley [east of the ridge] basks in warm sunshine, the outer point is blanketed in a dense fog" (Evens 1993:13).  The barrenness of the Drakes Bay shore emphasizes its white cliffs' strong similarity to white cliffs along the English Channel, which have rolling moorland behind them (Photo 3). 


At the entrance to Drakes Estero, the sandspits and entry channel shift from east to west and back again between the headlands in a predictable cycle based on seasonal weather and storms, and in accordance with the buildup and shifting of the outer bar.  In 1595, the Spanish explorer Sebastian Rodrigues Cerme撲 recorded a depth of three fathoms on the bar at high tide (Aker 1965:49).  In recent times, the channel has usually been navigable for small vessels, with a depth similar to Cermeno's three fathoms, and it was used regularly by coastal schooners to serve the peninsula's ranches from the mid-nineteenth century until the advent of effective land transportation in the twentieth century.

Contributing Sites


Drakeユs Landing Site/Port of Nova Albion


The cove on the west side of Drakes Estero was termed Drake's Cove in 1956 by Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN.  Nimitz recognized it as the Golden Hindユs careening site and the Port of Nova Albion (Nimitz 1958).  The site where the Golden Hind was likely careened has partly filled with sand during recent cycles of changes in the Drakes Estero entrance, but the innermost part of the cove looks much the same as it would have in Drake's day (Aker, 1970:285-291). The introduction of dune grass in modern times has stabilized the dunes at Drake's Cove.  However, the cove and its sandspits returned to their 1579 appearance in 1947 and again in 2001, showing that the underlying hydrological cycles continue to function much as they have for many centuries.


According to historic maps, Drake's fortification, described as an entrenchment with メa bulwarkeモ of stone, was located on the beach at the bay side of a cove.  The semicircle of steep, two-hundred-foot-high hills and bluffs that encloses Drakes Cove to the north, west and south is similar in appearance to that described in the historic account of Drakeユs voyage, other than minor erosion and a dirt ranch access road cut along a gully in the 1940s.  A viewpoint on the northern bluff edge provides an overall vista of the location of the encampment and careenage site within its protective bluffs that is highly evocative of the scene that appears on a sixteenth-century view-map (Figure 1). This view of the cove and its wider setting for a distance of more than twenty miles to the southward are uninterrupted by modern changes or structures.  The only buildings in view are in western San Francisco, thirty miles away and barely visible on a very clear day.


Establishing the location of Drakeユs Port of Nova Albion has been a century-long endeavor involving a diverse array of researchers reaching back to the earliest American sailor-scholar on the west coast, George Davidson, and including historians, anthropologists, archeologists, cartographers, navigators, biologists, zoologists, art historians, and ship historians.  This process was largely completed a quarter century ago, and additional scholars have studied the work and commented on it over those last twenty-five years (See Appendices I, II and V).


Historical evidence about the Drake visit to California is substantial.  It includes thirteen sixteenth- and early-seventeenth-century accounts, some of them quite detailed; three world maps, three detailed Pacific Coast charts, and one view-map of Drakeユs port ミ all of them deriving from records kept on the voyage by Drake himself, his chaplain, and a few others.  These accounts, maps, charts, and view-map provide more than thirty specific points that can be used as evidence supporting Drakes Bay as the location of the 1579 California landfall.   


The process of identification involved analyses of the many elements of evidence, and multiple disciplines including history, archeology, navigation, hydrography, cartography, ethnography, and curation.  This analysis progressively narrowed the search until Drakes Bay was identified as the most likely location of Drakeユs sheltered bay or anchorage and Drakeユs Cove within the mouth of Drakes Estero as the likely harbor and careenage site of Nova Albion.  The history of the research is summarized in Appendix I, and the research itself is summarized in Appendix II.


The general location of the bay in which Drake made landfall was defined by the latitude, 38 degrees north, with a zone of uncertainty due to the contemporary range of navigational error of approximately thirty miles in either direction.   That placed the harbor between San Francisco Bay on the south and Bodega Bay on the north, with Bolinas Bay, Drakes Bay, and Tomales Bay between them (See Map 3).  This general area was confirmed by ethnographic analysis of historical documents, and identification of the Native Americans who met Drake as the Coast Miwok, who lived in the vicinity and not beyond (Kroeber 1925; Heizer 1947; Heizer and Elmendorf 1942).


Other specific evidence noted in primary source documents includes the location of the Farallon Islands, which are approximately 30 miles from shore.  These islands are the only offshore islands along the northern and central California coast, furnished further confirmation of 38 degrees latitude, and narrowed the location further because only Drakes Bay, Bolinas Bay, and San Francisco Bay were within viewing range of the islands.  The absence of any sign of a strait or other waterway leading into the continent eliminated San Francisco Bay from consideration.  In addition, the prominent white cliffs at the bay, for which Drake named the land, strongly suggests that Drakes Bay was the Port of Nova Albion (Photo 3), because none of the other possibilities suggested by various researchers have such a feature.  It was also confirmed by meterological evidence:  the extremely cold, foggy and windy summer climate of Nova Albion noted in the primary source documents exists only on the outer coast, not the inland bays. 


A two-bay sequence when sailing from the north again confirms Drakes Bay: Bodega Bay is the unsuitable northern bay and Drakes Bay is the good second bay.  (Tomales Bay leads off Bodega Bay, which is the only one seen from the sea).  That the bay was discovered unexpectedly, as by godsend, again describes only Drakes Bay.  A set of soundings from off the sheltering point through the bay to the entrance of an inner harbor is further corroboration.  


The sharp contrast mentioned in the historical accounts between the cold, fog, and wind of the region of the port and a sunny and hospitable inland region is unique to Drakes Bay (See Evans 1993:16 and Appendix I).


According to historical documents, within Drakes Bay was a well-sheltered harbor in which Drake careened and repaired the Golden Hind (Figure 2).  This harbor was bounded by protective hills and had enough open space next to the shore for a stone-faced fortification and a work area.  Written descriptions and a view-map of the harbor, fortified camp, and surroundings survive (See Map 4).  If Drakes Bay is taken as the correct location, the harbor itself had to be within Drakes Estero, the only sheltered waterway in the area deep enough to acommodate Drakeユs ship (Maps 1 and 2).  Such deep water is limited to the lower section of the estero near its confluence with Drakes Bay.


The location of the harbor was first identified in 1952 along the western shore of the estero just inside its mouth. The site was not noted earlier because one distinctive feature proved to be a sandspit and adjacent island which appear, stay in place for a decade or so, and then are modified by natural hydraulic forces until they again reappear later, on a predictable cycle.  The last two reappearances were in 1947 and 2001.  Once the harbor was tentatively identified, many permanent features correlated well with the view-map, suggesting that the cove has survived virtually intact since Drakeユs visit in 1579.  The surrounding hills and bluffs, the path taken by Native American visitors, the viewpoint from which the view-map was drawn, and the shoreline of the harbor very closely match the descriptions and view-map (Figure 1).  Only the spit which forms the southeastern shore of the cove, the island outside it, and sand fill within the cove regularly change in hydraulic cycles.


Manila Galleon San Agust地 Shipwreck Site


The NPS and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) initiated survey projects to locate historic shipwrecks in Drakes Bay in 1982, with San Agust地 as a high-priority target.  That survey resulted in 2.5 square miles of magnetometer coverage within Drakes Bay at 30-meter lane spacing, as well as 10 square miles of side-scan sonar coverage and 30 linear miles of sub-bottom sonar survey.  The primary results of the survey included 684 magnetic anomalies and 49 anomaly clusters considered as high-priority targets.  In 1997 a multi-agency partnership was formed to resume field operations in Drakes Bay.  Overall objectives for the 1997ミ1998 projects remained the same as the earlier survey, but advances in magnetometer, side-scan sonar, and global positioning technology had advanced considerably since 1982.  Project principals re-surveyed Drakes Bay in 1997-1998 using a state-of-the-art cesium magnetometer, digital side-scan sonar and sub-bottom profiler, and single-beam bathymetry, all positioned with a differentially-corrected global positioning system (DGPS), with results accessible in a geographic information system (GIS).  The 1997-1998 survey provided more than 4 square miles of high-resolution cesium magnetometer and side-scan sonar coverage, and resulted in hundreds of magnetic anomalies.  Of those magnetic anomalies, approximately 60 have been identified as high-priority targets that may represent San Agust地.


The high-priority area was chosen as the most likely location for San Agust地 using three independent lines of evidence.  Evidence for San Agust地ユs location comes from both historical and material sources.  First, historical documentation indicates the location of San Agust地ユs November 1595 anchorage is near Drakes Estero.  Using Cerme撲ユs log, Aker (1965) places the anchorage west of Drakes Estero, while current NPS research suggests it was east of the estuary mouth (See Map 1).  Second, the distribution of 15 indigenous archeological sites with porcelain and spikes from San Agust地 is centered with the highest concentration on Limantour Spit.  This line of evidence is based on the idea that Coast Miwok villagers closest to San Agust地 would have had easier access to the wreck and its cargo and likely accumulated more material.  Third, the distribution of beach-collected porcelain documented in Drakes Bay from 1965 to the present shows a clear pattern of less-worn porcelain sherds clustered on western Limantour Spit, with increasingly-more worn sherds located east towards Santa Maria Creek (Jones 2000).  Discussions with coastal geologists and oceanographers familiar with coastal sediment transport processes in Drakes Bay confirm an offshore source for the porcelain is likely closest to the highest concentration of least-worn sherds (U.S. Geological Survey, personal communication with Matthew Russell 2007).  These three lines of evidence, as well as historical evidence for later shipwrecks, converge to prioritize anomalies beginning at central Limantour Spit and extending east and west.


Because the San Agust地 shipwreck site has not yet been located archeologically, the area in which the site is most likely to be found is nominated in this documentation as the site of the shipwreck.  However, because the identification of the physical remains is likely to be made in the near future, a word about the archeological integrity is appropriate.  There are at least two indications that significant material remains still exist with good integrity.  First, numerous porcelain sherds that date to this period continue to wash ashore seasonally on the beaches surrounding Drakes Bay.  At least 400 porcelain fragments have been beach-collected and curated at present, the majority found along Limantour Spit (Photo 4).  Many of these sherds are in remarkably good condition, with sharp edges and little wear.  Their condition suggests they come from a buried offshore location that experiences little disturbance until broken porcelain sherds are periodically uncovered and transported shoreward, likely during seasonal storms.  It is therefore likely that a substantial quantity of undisturbed cargo from San Agust地 remains buried offshore.  Second, there are several archeological examples of 16th, 17th, and 18th century shipwrecks in similar, high energy environments as Drakes Bay that contain substantial physical integrity, including intact hull bottoms (Arnold and Weddle 1978; McNinch, Wells, and Drake 2001; McNinch, Wells, and Trembanis; Wells and McNinch 2001).  Even in shallow, high-energy coastal locations, hull bottoms, pinned down by large stone ballast piles, can be quickly buried under sea floor sediments and remain preserved. These two indications together suggest the archeological integrity of the San Agust地 shipwreck site remains high.


Indigenous Archeological Sites


When Europeans first visited this region in the late-sixteenth century, the Point Reyes Peninsula was occupied by Coast Miwok hunter-gatherers living in small villages, mostly along the shores of the ocean, bay and esteros. The bay-side villages may have been either permanent or seasonal habitations, consisting of half a dozen or so semi-subterranean houses with conical pole, brush and earth roofs, a sweat house of similar construction, and cooking and work areas.


 Coast Miwok subsistence depended on a variety of shellfish, which provided a high percentage of the three-foot-or-more-thick mass of the village middens, and on birds, sea and land mammals, and plant foods.  In addition to shell and bone, the middens are rich in stone and bone tools and shell ornaments in various stages of manufacture.  Their condition is usually excellent.  House floors, fire lenses, storage pits, and other features are present.  Burials are rare on ocean-side sites, but abundant on some estero-shore sites, leading to the assumption that burials normally were placed in the larger villages on the esteros or in the Olema Valley east of the Inverness Ridge (Schenk 1970 is an excellent summary of the work; See also Compas 1998; Duncan 1992; Meyer 1997, 2003; Meyer et.al. 2005; Newland 2000; 2002a, 2002b; Polansky 1998; Russell 2007; Stewart 2003; Stewart and Praetzellis 2003).


All sites have a Late Period component, which dates from several centuries before 1579 to approximately 1820, and several have an earlier Middle Period component.  Using Chinese porcelain and stoneware fragments from the San Agustin wreck, a clear ca. 1600 stratigraphic profile was developed in site CA-MRN-298, about one foot above the base of the midden (Von der Porten and P屍on 1973).  The similarity of artifact assemblages recovered from all the sites, and the presence of large numbers of 16th-century explorer artifacts within them, date them effectively.  Their end dates most likely correspond with the Mission period, when many inhabitants were forced to move to the northernmost California missions.


The once-numerous villages described by both Drake and Cerme撲 disappeared in the early- to mid-nineteenth century.  Most of their middens have been archeologically surveyed or investigated, and 15 are so closely connected to the Drake and Cerme撲 visits by finds of Chinese porcelains dated to the late-sixteenth century (Shangraw and Von der Porten 1981) that they are included in this nomination because they can provide nationally significant information about these interactions (See Map 1).  The 15 sites are: MRN-216, MRN-230, MRN-232, MRN235/301 (counted as two, later found to be the same site), MRN-236, MRN-242, MRN-271, MRN-274, MRN-298, MRN-307, MRN-308, MRN-394, MRN-389, MRN-392 (See Photos 5, 6 and7 for representative photos).   Sherds that have been noted from sites MRN-272, and MRN-280 were recovered on the beach near those sites, not in the sites themselves and thus are considered part of the beach-collected assemblage and not actually associated with sites 272 and 280.  Thus, those two sites are considered non-contributing.  Site MRN-233 no longer exists and therefore is excluded from the district.


Two of the most extensively investigated sites ミ CA-MRN-216 and 298 (Photo 7) ミ  are on the eastern part of Limantour Spit, two and a half miles east of Drakeユs Cove.  They are on the lagoon side of the spit, north of the highest point of the dune line that forms the spit.  The spit and the sites are covered with dune grasses and brush, notably coyote bush and lupines.  The middens are covered with about half a foot of sand, but gopher disturbance pushes enough midden materials to the surface to make their general locations visible.  Visible shell on the surface indicates MRN-216 exceeds 100 m by 75 m, while MRN-298 is approximately 150 m by 50 m.  The settings of these sites have remained virtually unchanged since they were established, with the exception of times when fires destroy the brush and begin a new cycle of plant renewal.  Such a fire occurred a decade ago and set off a spectacular lupine regrowth followed by slower coyote bush dominance. 


Both sites were partly excavated in the 1960s and early 1970s (at that time MRN-298 had a dual designation as 298E and 298W). Site 216 was extensively excavated by San Francisco State University crews under the direction of Professor Adan Treganza.  Site 298E was extensively excavated by Santa Rosa Junior College crews under the direction of Edward Von der Porten and his colleagues.  Site 298W was sampled by Treganzaユs San Francisco State University crews and its north edge was excavated by Von der Portenユs Santa Rosa Junior College crews.  The usual technique was 1/4-inch-mesh dry screening.  Records and artifacts are in the Point Reyes National Seashore archives and available to scholars.  The middens generally are three to four feet (1.2 m) deep under half a foot (.15 m) of sand.  Both sites have significant amounts of undisturbed midden remaining.  In addition to rich Native-American artifact assemblages, including many bone tools in excellent condition, obsidian and chert projectile points and bifaces, agate drill bits, and abalone pendants, the sites are notable for clamshell disk bead manufacturing evidence, from shell blanks to finished beads.  Pendants and beads are described in the accounts of the Native American visits to Drakeユs Cove (Penzer 1926:57-59).   Site 216 produced 63 Ming porcelain sherds.  Site 298E produced 39, and Site 298W produced 72.  Notable in the porcelain assemblages are a few that were worked by the Coast Miwok, producing pendants, bead blanks, and scrapers, thereby adapting these exotic materials to their own purposes (Shangraw and Von der Porten 1981:69-72) (Photos 8, 9, and 10).  The large majority of porcelain sherds, however, are unmodified.


Site CA-MRN-235/301 (counted as two sites; Photo 6) lies at the bottom of a small draw leading from the hills to the western edge of Drakes Estero.  It has little overburden and lies on solid ground.  Some of it has been eroded away by the waters of the estero.  It was partly excavated by University of California crews under Professor Robert F. Heizer in 1940-1941, generally using shovel-broadcast techniques (Heizer 1941).  The small-scale work produced three Ming sherds, but was significant because it confirmed that the site was occupied in the explorersユ period.  This site is approximately three-quarters of a mile upwind from Drakeユs Cove, and is likely to be the site from which the Englishmen heard the Native Americans メweeping and crying outモ(Penzer, World Encompassed, pp. 54-55) in the distance.  That sound can carry that distance downwind was tested successfully between the site and the cove by Drake Navigators Guild members.  The site is now covered by brush.


Site CA-MRN-232 (Photo 5) sits atop a bluff overlooking Estero de Limantour, two miles east of Drakeユs Cove, just inshore of Limantour Spit and within sight of MRN-216 and MRN-298 (Photo 7).  Stewart Bryant initially recorded site MRN-232, the Estero site, in 1934 (Bryant 1934; Peter 1923).  At that time, the site measured 120 ft. x 75-85 ft. and was 40 in. deep.  Early researchers noted that up to 50 ft. of midden had been cultivated for artichoke farming along the eastern edge of the site, while the west side was noted as eroding along the exposed bluff face (Anonymous 1940). 


Archeologists from the University of California, Berkeley excavated MRN-232 during three intensive field seasons in 1940-1941 and 1949.  During the 1940-1941 field seasons, directed by Robert Heizer and Richard Beardsley, the University of California crew excavated 11,000 cu. ft. of midden from the central part of MRN-232, just under half of the estimated 25,000 cu. ft. of total site volume.  During those first two field seasons, MRN-232 yielded a total of 45 fragments of sixteenth-century Chinese blue-and-white export porcelain, 46 メcrude, handwrought iron shipユs spikes,モ more than 650 flaked stone, ground stone, worked shell, and worked bone artifacts, and 13 human burials (Heizer 1941). 


In 1949, Meighan directed excavation of an additional 5,000 cu. ft. (Meighan 1950c:18).  This resulted in recovery of at least 375 additional artifacts, including sixteenth-century Chinese porcelain and iron shipユs fasteners, and three additional burials (Meighan 1950a:32, 1950c:17). 


These sites have also produced iron spikes, Chinese stonewares, and other sixteenth-century artifacts, but those artifact categories proved to be hard to date exactly and produced less information than the porcelains.


Site CA-MRN-230, originally known as Gallagher Mound or PB-230, was located on the northern part of Drakes Estero around 1910 (Peter 1923).  A University of California archeological team under Richard Beardsleyユs direction officially recorded the site in 1941 (Fenenga 1941).  The site record notes that the site was located on a bluff, 40 ft. above the estero, and covered an area 150 ft. by 50 ft. by approximately 4 ft. deep.  When MRN-230 was initially recorded on April 20, 1941, Fenenga observed three pestle fragments and a small obsidian projectile pointムhe noted that it メ[s]eems to be a major siteモ (Fenenga 1941).  The most extensive work at MRN-230 conducted to date was by the SRJC Adult and Continuing Education archeology program in Fall 1978 and Spring 1979, under the direction of Ward Upson and Edward Von der Porten (Origer 1982:ii).  Working in cooperation with the NPS, faculty and students excavated eleven 5 ft. by 5 ft. units along the eroding edge of the site over nine field days.  This excavation resulted in a rich collection of artifacts and faunal remains, all of which were carefully recorded and cataloged, and most of which are now in the Point Reyes National Seashore Museum collection.  In addition to a typical Late Period-assemblage of indigenous-manufactured materials, the excavations also uncovered two fragments of sixteenth-century blue-and-white Chinese export porcelain.  Since the SRJC excavations in 1978-1979, MRN-230 has been regularly monitored by the NPS, which maintains the cattle-exclusion fence and regular site visits to the present day (see also Beardsly 1954a, Edwards 1967a, Polansky 1998; and Riley 1976).


Site CA-MRN-236 was one of the first sites on the Point Reyes Peninsula to be associated with sixteenth-century Chinese porcelain.  The site was originally noted by Jesse Peter in the 1910s (Peter 1923).  In the first scholarly work reporting the identification of Chinese porcelain in Coast Miwok midden sites, Heizer (1941) noted that University of California archeologists investigated the small shell midden along with five other sites during 1941 fieldwork.  The site yielded three fragments of Wan Li period porcelain and a single hand-wrought iron shipユs spike (Heizer 1942:321-322, Plate).  In addition, a member of the Drake Navigator Guild recovered a single porcelain fragment from what he identified as the siteユs surface in 1962 (Von der Porten 1951-1962:15). 

In 1967, Edwards noted that road development had either covered or destroyed the site (Edwards 1967d), however, further survey of the area by Sonoma State University in 1999 located a shallow shell scatter in the general area of MRN-236 (Jablonowski, Haydu, Jones, et al. 1999).


Site CA-MRN-242, also known as the Cauley Site, is a rich shell midden deposit located on top of a 40 ft. cliff overlooking the eastern arm of Drakes Estero, about 1.6 mi. north of the estero entrance (Beardsley 1954:21).  Jesse Peter initially recorded the site in the 1910s (Bryant 1934; Peter 1923), but like MRN-232, excavation did not take place there until 1940-1941 (Heizer 1941).  During the University of California excavations, Heizer (1940) described the site as a メ[s]hellmound; on small high point.  Commands a view towards all arms of the estero.モ  He noted that the site measured 200 ft. x 50 ft., with an average depth of 36 in.  He also commented that the Cauley site was メ[p]robably the first village seen by Cerme撲 in 1595モ (Heizer 1941:321-322).


The 1940 field season yielded 248 artifacts, mostly of indigenous manufacture, but also included a single fragment of sixteenth-century Chinese porcelain and one iron shipユs fastener (Heizer 1941:321-322).  The 1941 excavations yielded three more porcelain fragments (Heizer 1941:321).  In total, during both field seasons at MRN-242 the crews excavated approximately 6,500 cu. ft. of the site, or just over 30% of the total deposit (Beardsley 1954:21).  The projects yielded a total of four fragments of sixteenth-century Chinese porcelain and two iron shipユs spikes, in addition to more than 1,500 indigenous-manufactured artifacts (Heizer 1941:322; Meighan 1950a:32).  Researchers from UC Berkeley excavated a total of 33 human burials from MRN-242 in 1940-1941. 


Because of active eroding at MRN-242, the site has been actively monitored by the NPS since the 1970s.  The site today likely looks much the same as it did during assessments beginning in the 1960s.  There is a light scatter of shellfish remains, mammal and fish bones, flaked stone debris, and fire-cracked rock on the site surface.  Active erosion continues at the site, both on the bluff edges and in the gully transecting the southern part of the site.


Site CA-MRN-271 was one of the first six sites associated with introduced objects from sixteenth-century encounters between Coast Miwok and Europeans (Heizer 1941).  Stewart Bryant initially recorded MRN-271, the Bear Valley site, in 1934 (Bryant 1934a; Peter 1923).  Bryantユs site record notes it is located in Bear Valley, on the north side of Bear Valley Creek (now Coast Creek) near its mouth (Bryant 1934a, 1934b).  Richard Beardsley and his crew excavated MRN-271 in July and August 1941. In the first scholarly treatment of these sites, Heizer noted that Beardsleyユs field crew had recovered 17 sixteenth-century porcelain fragments from it.  Adan Treganza, then a graduate student at University of California, conducted additional, smaller-scale excavations at MRN-271 in 1945.  His excavation added a small amount of material to the collections at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology (PAHMA), including two additional fragments of sixteenth-century Chinese porcelain.  Since the 1941 and 1945 University of California excavations, little work has been conducted at MRN-271.  Members of the Drake Navigators Guild collected four artifacts from the site between 1958-1961, including a chert biface, and three porcelain fragments identified as Ming Dynasty.  Most recently, Polansky (1998:83-85, 172-173) re-recorded the site, which she characterized as a semi-permanent residential base camp, based on a moderate to high density of shell, the presence of milling equipment, in addition to both faunal remains and flaked stone artifacts. 


Site CA-MRN-274 has been known as one of Point Reyesユ porcelain-bearing sites since 1941, when Heizer published the first scholarly work on archeological materials from San Agust地 located in Coast Miwok midden sites (Heizer 1941).  The site is a small shell midden at the southeastern extremity of Drakes Bay first documented by Stewart Bryant in 1934 (Bryant 1934a; Peter 1923)ムBeardsley later recorded and conducted a test excavation on the site in 1941 (Beardsley 1941d).  Beardsley noted that the site was メquite smallモ (Beardsley 1954a:24), measuring 60 ft. by 40 ft. (18 m by 12 m), and 36 to 40 in. (91 to 102 cm) deep, but contained mammal bone, Haliotis shell fragments, ash, and a single fragment of sixteenth-century Chinese porcelain (Beardsley 1941d).  Little work has been conducted on site MRN-274 since Beardsleyユs 1941 test excavation.  In 1958, the Drake Navigators Guild dug a test pit on site and recovered what they described as a possible agate scraper from 6 in. deep, but no other information on their excavation is available (Von der Porten 1952-1973).  Edwards re-recorded the site in 1967, noting at that time it was a メ[l]ong, narrow spotty midden running along a creekモ measuring 25 m by 48 m by greater than 70 cm deep, and contained a scatter of lithics, fire-cracked rock, and faunal remains (Edwards 1967g).


Site CA-MRN-307 is a small, shallow midden located on the eastern shore of Estero de Limantour, just north of MRN-232.  The site is situated in a narrow drainage, with the western edge exposed along the beach on the estero and the southern edge cut by a small, spring-fed stream.  Stewart Bryant initially recorded site MRN-307 in 1934 (Bryant 1934; Peter 1923), but excavations did not begin at the site until University of California archaeologists began work there in 1949 (Meighan 1950a, 1950d).  Excavations at the site continued until 1951.  In total, the Berkeley crew spent seven field sessions and 119 person-days excavating the site between 1949 and 1951.  Meighan and his crew excavated more than 230 cubic yards of material from the site (Meighan 2002:63; Meighan and Heizer 1952:102).


The team recovered many fragments of the familiar sixteenth-century underglaze blue-and-white Chinese porcelain, as well as fragments of a large, brown-glazed stoneware vessel.  Like the porcelain, the stoneware fragments are also likely sixteenth-century and produced in Asia, although they were found at a consistently deeper stratigraphic profile than the Chinese porcelain (Meighan and Heizer 1952:101).  The site also yielded a variety of indigenous-manufactured material, all characteristic of the Late Period (AD 1000-1800).  This result led Meighan to speculate that there was not a Middle Period occupation at MRN-307, as there was at many other Point Reyes Peninsula sites like MRN-232 and MRN-242 (Meighan 1950e).


CA-MRN-308 was located by Aubrey Neasham and Jack Dyson from the State of California in April 1957 (Neasham, et al. 1957).  The site is a small shell midden situated on a shallow terrace between a tidal salt marsh to the east and a steep, brushy bluff to the west, and measures approximately 25 m x 10.5 m.  The site may extend to the bluff-top above, based on the presence of shell in recent rodent tailings, but the actual boundary has not been discerned due to the dense brush covering the site (Van der Naillen 2005).  The site surface is characterized only by a sparse scatter of shell, and past excavations have recovered a mixture of indigenous, European-American, and Asian manufactured objects, including at least eight fragments of sixteenth-century Chinese blue-and-white export porcelain and at least one iron spike possibly from the San Agust地 (Neasham, et al. 1957; Van der Naillen 2005).  The NPS maintains an active program of site monitoring to the present, and constructed a cattle exclusion fence in 2004.  During a May 2009 site visit, Mark Rudo (Point Reyes National Seashore archeologist), Peter Van der Naillen (volunteer site steward), and Matt Russell located an additional fragment of sixteenth-century Chinese porcelain in a recent rodent tailing in the previously excavated portion of the site.  This indicates that even though the site has been extensively excavated, because of the methodology used by past researchers, it can still yield important information.


At site CA-MRN-389 members of the Drake Navigators Guild discovered a semicircular rock and adobe メstructureモ in 1953 they speculated may have been a Spanish oven used by survivors of the San Agust地 shipwreck during their month-long stay on Limantour Spit in November 1595.  The Drake Navigators Guild designated the site DNG 6, or the メOvenモ Site.  In 1961, fearing the site would be destroyed by proposed development of Limantour Spit, Drake Navigator Guild members partially excavated the site.  They documented what they described as メa rough, five-foot semicircle of large shale stones compassing [sic] and containing a mass of heavy dark adobe earth which varies in depth from six inches to a footノモ(Allen 1965:2).  The deposit contained a number of historic period artifacts, including square nails, charcoal and burned wood, iron fragments, and a single rim sherd of sixteenth-century blue-on-white Chinese porcelainムthere is no mention of shell or potential indigenous artifacts (Von der Porten 1952-1973).  In 1988, the Northwest Information Center reviewed the available site records and relocated the site (Notes on File at the Northwest Information Center).


The Point Reyes National Seashore Museum lists site CA-MRN-392 as the source of a single porcelain fragment, even though this site is not listed in any of the literature as one of the Point Reyes porcelain sites.  Site MRN-392 is a small shell midden along a creek draining into the southeastern part of Drakes Bay (Riley 1976:80).  Researchers from San Francisco State College first recorded the site in 1964, describing it as midden extending 50 ft. x 100 ft. (approx. 15 m x 30 m) x several feet deep, and containing mammal bone and fire-cracked rock (Rackerby 1964).  Edwards re-recorded MRN-392 during his 1967 Point Reyes survey, at that time observing the site measured 40 x 15 m with lithics and mammal bone on the surface.  Edwards also observed that the site was subject to severe erosion, and recommended salvage or treatment to mitigate on-going damage to the site (Edwards 1967l).  MRN-392 was again recorded by NPS archeologists in 1977, who measured the site extent at 34.7 m x 11 m x less than 50 cm deep.  They noted the site consisted of a dark gray soil with shell fragments, as well as chert and mammal bone.  They also found on the surface a single fragment of blue-and-white Chinese porcelain (Kelly, et al. 1977).  No excavation has been conducted at MRN-392, although the site was stabilized in 1977 to mitigate site erosion (Horvath 1977), and several subsequent monitoring visits to the site were made to assess site stabilization (Beaudry 1983), most recently following the 1995 Mount Vision fire (Compas 1998; Compas and Gerike 1997; Gerike 1997).


Edward Von der Porten (1963) from the Drake Navigators Guild originally recorded site CA-MRN-394 in 1960 as DNG 4.  In May 1960, members of the Drake Navigators Guild found evidence of a rich shell midden, along with sixteenth-century Chinese blue-and-white export porcelain and other historic-period artifacts, partially exposed under a levee and road that had been constructed by the landowner in the late-1940s or early-1950s on the southern edge of Horseshoe Pond along Drakes Beach.  They recorded an exposed portion of the site extending 90 ft. along the edge of the levee, which was 1-2 ft. deep and consisted of sandy soil with charcoal, shell, and bone (Von der Porten 1960).  Site MRN-394 was later visited by Edwards during a 1967 survey of Point Reyes National Seashore sites.  He noted that exposed portions of the site had been bulldozed into the levee barrier, and he determined the site was either destroyed or buried (Edwards 1967m), a sentiment echoed by Moratto (1974:89-90).  More recently, however, during a 2001 site visit prompted by removal of the western end of the levee and road to restore Horseshoe Pondユs natural watershed, NPS and Sonoma State University (SSU) archeologists, along with tribal members from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (FIGR), rediscovered the site at the base of the levee.  Researchers observed black midden soil with an abundance of shell, mammal bone, obsidian lithic material, and charcoal during the non-intrusive investigation, in which they did not recover any artifacts (Newland 2004:25).  NPS and SSU archeologists conducted additional work at the site in 2002 and 2003 to delineate its extent.  In November 2003, they dug a series of 14 trenches around the estimated site perimeter to map the middenユs subsurface boundaries, and concluded that the site deposit covers an area approximately 35 m x 10 m, and is likely only about 30 cm thick.  During the trenching, researchers observed shell, mammal and bird bone, fire-cracked rock, obsidian debitage, charcoal, and a possible handstone fragment (Newland 2004:26).  They did not recover any artifacts during the field operation.  Because planned levee removal would not directly impact the site, no further investigation has been conducted at MRN-394.


Archeological Integrity


All these sites have retained their historic setting, and although most have been investigated or otherwise impacted, all contain significant amounts of undisturbed midden with high archeological integrity.   As they are not endangered by human impact, NPS policy is to monitor them for erosion and leave them undisturbed.  Collectively, they retain high potential for producing further nationally significant information about the Coast Miwok and their relations during the sixteenth-century.


Non-Contributing Sites


There are 10 non-contributing sites within the district.  These 10 sites are:  CA-MRN-297, CA-MRN-233, CA-MRN-391, CA-MRN-211, CA-MRN-280, CA-MRN-272 Coast Camp, the Site South of CA-MRN-242, the site of Drakeユs Estero Pier Remains; Drakeユs Head Ranch Site, and the Y Ranch Site (See Map 2).  The sites are a mix of indigenous archeological properties where, to date, no sixteenth century materials have been identified, as well as historic period sites that date outside the period of significance.  They are considered non-contributing to this context at this time.  However, if any of the indigenous sites were to be investigated in the future and shown to contain sixteen century materials, their status as non-contributing would be changed to contributing.  While these non-contributing properties may be eligible for the National Register under another context, only those sites that have been shown to provide nationally significant information about the interactions and impact of Native-European historic contact based on the research agenda presented in Section 8 are considered contributing to this nomination.




Certifying official has considered the significance of this property in relation to other properties:

Nationally: X   Statewide:    Locally:__  


Applicable National

Register Criteria:                     A X  B X  C    D X   


Criteria Considerations

(Exceptions):                           A    B    C    D    E    F    G  


NHL Criteria:                          1, 2, 6


NHL Criteria Exception:         N/A


NHL Theme(s):                       I. Peopling Places

                                                            6. encounters, conflicts, and colonization


Areas of Significance:             Maritime history


                                                Archeology, historic/aboriginal

                                                Archeology, historic/non-aboriginal   


Period(s) of Significance:        1579-1595


Significant Dates:                    17 June 1579 Francis Drakeユs arrival date at Drakes Bay (the Port of Nova                                                  Albion).

                                                23 July 1579 Francis Drakeユs departure date from Drakes Bay (the Port of Nova                                                     Albion).

                                                November 1595 San Agust地 arrives at Drakes Bay (the Port of Nova Albion).


Significant Person(s):              Sir Francis Drake


Cultural Affiliation:                 Coast Miwok




Architect/Builder:                    N/A


Historic Contexts:       I.  Cultural Developments:  Indigenous American Populations

                                                D.  Ethnohistory of Indigenous American Populations

                                                            1.  Native Cultural Adaptations at Contact

                                                                        c. Native Adaptations to Northwest Coast Environments

                                                            3.  Varieties of Early Conflict, Conquest, or Accommodation

                                                                        a. Transfer of Technology to Native Peoples

                                    II.  European Colonial Exploration and Settlement

                                                A.  Spanish Exploration and Settlement

                                                            4.  California

                                                D. English Exploration and Settlement

                                                            1.  Exploration





State Significance of Property, and Justify Criteria, Criteria Considerations, and Areas and Periods of Significance Noted Above.



The Drakes Bay Historic and Archeological District is nominated as a National Historic Landmark under Criteria 1, 2, and 6, under the NHL Thematic Framework category of Peopling Places, in the areas of significance of maritime history, exploration, and archeology-historic-aboriginal and archeology-historic-non-aboriginal. This district includes 15 California Indian sites that were occupied or used seasonally at the time of the sixteenth-century European encounters; the most likely site of Drakeユs 1579 encampment at Drakeユs Cove; and the site of the 1595 Manila galleon shipwreck San Agust地.  The district is directly associated with nationally significant events in the nationユs history, including the earliest documented cross-cultural encounters between California Indians and Europeans in northern California which have left the most complete material record on the west coast; the first encampment of Englishmen on the United Statesユ shores, and with one of the most significant figures in maritime history, Sir Francis Drake; and the earliest recorded shipwreck on the west coast of the United States, the San Agust地 (see Figure 3).  The districtユs archeological sites can provide nationally significant information about early European-Native American cross-cultural encounters and their long-term implications, as well as early European exploration of the Pacific and the establishment of trans-oceanic trade routes that contributed to the expansion of the world capitalist system.


The Drakes Bay Historic and Archeological Districtユs primary significance draws on its unique role in the history of European-Native American intercultural engagement in North America.  Early European exploration of North Americaユs Pacific coast and subsequent cross-cultural encounters between seafarers and California Indians are documented in a rich historical record.  There are five documented European voyages to Alta California before permanent Spanish settlement in 1769, including those of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and Bartolom Ferrelo in 1542-1543, Miguel Unamuno in 1587, Sebasti黍 Cerme撲 (captain of San Agust地) in 1595, Sebastin Vizca地o in 1602-1603 and the Englishman Francis Drake in 1579 (Wagner 1924).  Chronicles of these voyages provide accounts of the first European contact with Californiaユs indigenous populations. 


The district, now within Point Reyes National Seashore, part of the NPS, and the National Oceanic and NOAAユs Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, has been known by many names over the centuries. The Coast Miwok occupied this landscape for thousands of years, and called the bay taml-h忱e, or メbay point,モ in reference to its proximity to Point Reyes (Collier and Thalman 1996).  In 1579, Francis Drake made England's first formal claim to the land north of the settled Spanish colonies in Mexico and the West Indies and gave the region the name it would bear for nearly three centuries on English maps: Nova Albion, chosen for the white cliffs which strikingly reminded the Englishmen of the chalk cliffs along their homeland's southern coast and of that homeland's ancient Roman name, Albion, from the Latin "albus," or "white."(Penzer 1926:62).  In November 1595, Sebastian Rodriguez Cerme撲 called the anchorage la Bahia de San Francisco, before his vessel wrecked and he was forced to continue an arduous voyage to Mexico in a small boat (Wagner 1924:14).  Less than eight years later, in January 1603, another Spaniard, Sebastin Vizcaino, called the bay Puerto de Don Gaspr as he sailed past on a northward voyage of exploration (Bolton 1916:94).  The bay was given its present name by the U.S. Coast Survey in the nineteenth century as Sir Francis Drakeユs Bay, which was later shortened to Drakeユs Bay, and finally Drakes Bay.  As the variety of names associated with Drakes Bay demonstrates, the bay and surrounding landscape have held meaning for many different cultural groups over the centuries.  This nomination, however, focuses on events that took place in Drakes Bay during a relatively short period in the late sixteenth century, when the area was the site of at least two pivotal encounters between Native Americans and Europeans.  These were among the earliest encounters between native peoples in northern California and European voyagers, and they have left the most extensive archeological record of sixteenth-century interactions anywhere on the west coast.


Despite the wealth of European sources documenting sixteenth-century encounters at taml-h忱e, it is important to be aware that European accounts of indigenous peoples have their own inherent biases, and researchers must critically evaluate each account to identify both personal biases of the authors and systemic bias of a European world-view (Wood 1990:82-84). European-authored sources can help reconstruct encounters from the perspective of literate, elite, western males (Lightfoot 2005a:16), but care must be used when using historical documents to identify indigenous responses to those encounters. Despite these limitations, the accounts are valuable sources because they describe certain aspects of California Indian life at the moment of contact, before significant change had taken place. In this regard, they are a vital source of information about contact-era California society.


Native oral traditions, passed down through the generations, document some Indian perceptions of the sixteenth-century interactions, and using them can help ameliorate problems identified with using historical documents. Traditional Coast Miwok or closely-related Pomo oral histories, for example, although collected after contact, nonetheless offer native perspectives not found in other sources. These native narratives may be especially vital for understanding ritual and symbolic aspects of cross-cultural encounters. Each alternative source must be carefully compared and balanced against the others, and the result must be nuanced to provide the most complete picture of the past.


Native perceptions of early encounters with European voyagers are the product of an indigenous cosmology, or world-view, which is very different from a European perspective.  One native oral tradition about early European encounters in northern California comes from the Kashaya Pomo, closely related neighbors of the Coast Miwok to the north. Their story, told by elder Essie Parrish to Berkeley linguist Robert L. Oswalt in 1958, records their first perceptions of Europeans in this way:


In the old days, before the white people came up here, there was a boat sailing on the ocean from the south. Because before that they had never seen a boat, they said, ヤOur world must be coming to an end. Couldn't we do something? This big bird floating on the ocean is from somewhere, probably from up high. Let us plan a feast. Let us have a dance.ユ They followed its course with their eyes to see what it would do. Having done so, they promised Our Father [a feast] saying that destruction was upon themノ.When they had done so, they watched [the ship] sail way up north and disappear. They thought that [the ship] had not done anything but sail northwards because of the feast they had promised. They were saying that nothing had happened to themムthe big bird person had sailed northward without doing anythingムbecause of the promise of a feast; because of that they thought it had not done anything. Consequently they held a feast and a big danceノ (Oswalt 1966:245-247).


After Vizca地o briefly anchored in Drakes Bay in 1603, there is no further documented European activity in the area for more than 175 years, until Spanish colonialism reached the region in the 1770s.  Two of the early encounters took place in Drakes Bay within a 16-year period, and these are represented by an extensive archeological record.  Archeological deposits, including at least 15 California Indian sites that have yielded sixteenth-century European and Asian artifacts, as well as the Manila galleon San Agust地, define a sixteenth-century landscape that provides nationally significant information.  Topics include information about complex Native American-European encounters in the west, how these initial interactions shaped the contact period in this part of the United States, and about the material consequences of this pre-colonial encounter from the perspectives of both Europeans and Natives Americans that had lasting effects on both cultures.  The interpretation of archeological remains that resulted from the encounters needs to consider that native populations may have thought about introduced material culture in very different ways than the Europeans who were the primary consumers of the objects. 


The district is also significant as the most likely location of the Port of Nova Albion, which was the first English encampment on land that is now part of the United States.  At the Port of Nova Albion, Francis Drake made England's first formal claim to the land north of the settled Spanish colonies in New Spain (Mexico) and the West Indies and gave it the name it would bear for nearly three centuries for the English: Nova Albion, chosen for the white cliffs which strikingly reminded the Englishmen of the chalk cliffs along their homeland's southern coast and of that homeland's ancient Roman name, Albion, from the Latin メalbus,モ or メwhiteモ (Penzer 1926:62.).  Drake's claim in the name of Queen Elizabeth I became a basis for all subsequent English claims to North America and was promptly proclaimed on English and Dutch maps.  It was followed within six years by the first English settlement on the east coast of the continent, at Roanoke Island.  The California encampment was an essential stop during an extraordinary voyage by a paramount figure in the history of European exploration.  The voyage was the first English circumnavigation of the globe, the first completed by its commander, and the first after the Magellan expedition's circumnavigation.  Like the first circumnavigator, Magellan, Drake lost four of his original five ships.  Unlike his predecessor, Drake returned with a rich cargo of treasure and valuable information about the extent of Portuguese and Spanish settlements in the Pacific.  Francis Drakeユs accomplishment was one of the most dramatic events in the long political, economic, and religious struggle in which Britain eventually wrested control of the seas from Spain, eventually creating the conditions for a British-colonized North America, living, in the main, by English traditions under English common law.


This nomination also includes the area where the site of the 1595 shipwreck of the Spanish Manila galleon San Agust地 is located.  Although the wreck itself has not been mapped, the area in which the wreck is located has been determined by ongoing projects between the NPS and NOAA who have determined the location using underwater anamolies and the location of materials from the wreck that have washed up on the beach.  San Agust地 is historically significant for three primary reasons.  First, few Manila galleons have been located, and none have been excavated archeologically.  As a result, little is known about the construction and operation of this vessel-type.  For example, San Agust地 was constructed in the Philippines by Spanish shipwrights using local materials. How did Spanish shipbuilding traditions translate to the wholly new environment and construction materials available in the Philippines?  What kind of local adaptations were necessary?  Controlled archeological investigation of a Manila galleon site would contribute to the knowledge of sixteenth-century Spanish nautical technology and material culture, and answer a variety of questions of interest to maritime historians and nautical archeologists.  Second, the Manila trade system that developed in the mid-sixteenth century was part of a global European expansion that began in the late-fifteenth century. The trade system that developed between Spain and China via the Philippines, and ultimately led to European markets for luxury goods, was part of an emerging modern world system that is the precursor to todayユs global world economy.  San Agust地ユs material remains are a window into the larger processes of trade and commerce linked to the early development of the capitalist world system.  Third, the month-long interaction between Spanish voyagers and Coast Miwok hunter-gatherers after San Agust地ユs wreck represents one of the earliest documented contacts between Europeans and indigenous peoples on the northern California coast, and it is the last documented contact for nearly two centuries.  San Agust地, along with the materials that have been recovered at the indigenous sites in this documentation, will contribute a unique perspective to understanding early intercultural engagements, particularly in the context of the early maritime encounters, and will provide a unique example of indigenous engagement with the expanding world capitalist system.  Analysis of the remains from the San Agust地 will address the synergistic effects of early culture contact by offering the material consequences of coastal hunter-gatherer contact with European voyagers, and will add to a small but growing body of maritime archeology contributing to research concerns fundamental to anthropological archeology. 

Historic Context


Coast Miwok


This National Historic Landmark district encompasses lands that were occupied by Coast-Miwok-speaking people at the time of contact. The Coast Miwok language is related to languages of the Utian language family, which was spoken as far north as southeastern Alaska (Golla 2007:75). Archeological evidence indicates that people speaking Utian languages (Miwok and Costanoan) spread to the San Francisco Bay and surrounding marshlands between 4,000 and 2,500 years ago, displacing older groups (Moratto 1984:552; Stewart 2010:9).


As hunter-gatherers, the Coast Miwok organized themselves into small, politically autonomous, landholding groups referred to by ethnographers as メtribelets,モ or village communities of allied, extended families (Kroeber 1925, 1932).  Coast Miwok communities were generally semipermanent villages from which trips to short-term seasonal camps were made to obtain specific resources (Kelly 1978:415ミ416). The Coast Miwok economy on the Marin peninsula focused on marsh/terrestrial ecotones, where fishing, shellfish, hunting, and gathering of plant resources could take place within a small radius of the home base.  The Coast Miwok diet was based on a wide variety of terrestrial and marine plant and animal foods including oak acorns as the vegetal dietary mainstay.  The Coast Miwok visited and traded with inland groups who paid for this privilege with various goods (Stewart 1943:53). メA relatively complex trade system, apparently initiated by the Coast Miwok, involved the production and distribution of clam shell disc beads in exchange for exotic resources or finished items. This system helped to maintain variety and prevent shortfalls through much of northern California and maintained social contact among neighboring groupsモ (Stewart 2010:9).


Milliken has uncovered mission-record information in recent years that has supplemented the documentary record and identified an accurate, personal record of Coast Miwok history after permanent Spanish settlement in 1776 (Milliken 2006).  The Coast Miwok at Drakes Bay were spared the effects of the Spanish missions on San Francisco Bay for the first decades after their establishment.  In the early nineteenth century, baptisms began in Olema Creek, and by 1816, at least 400 people had left the Olema Valley and Tomales Bay areas to join the mission at San Francisco (Milliken 2006: Table 7). With the Russian contact along the coast during the nineteenth century, many Coast Miwok chose the option of working on Russian agricultural outposts, just a few miles north of the peninsula, over settlement at the missions (Milliken 2006:66ミ67). メAfter secularization in the early 1830s, Point Reyes became Rancho lands, with huge herds of cattle initiating the destruction of the Native resource base. While several Native people had lived and worked along Tomales Bay during this period, the arrival of new settlers of the American period marked the end of traditional settlement on the peninsulaモ (Stewart 2010:9).  Hence, by the time the first ethnographers turned to study the Drakes Bay area (Barrett 1908; Merriam 1967 [1900ミ1905]) and during ethnographic fieldwork in the early 1930s (Kelly 1978), there was little first-hand knowledge of traditional settlement left. While Barrett (1908:305ミ314) has documented ancient and historic village locations for the region, only three old villages were attributed to the area: two to Tomales Bay and one to Olema Valley.  The latter, ol_mal_ユke (Barrett 1908:307), cannot be precisely located.  Today, the area of the National Seashore is considered within the ancestral lands of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (FIGR) (Stewart 2010:9).


Drakeユs Voyage to Nova Albion


Francis Drake's voyage of circumnavigation of 1577 to 1580 was part of the great struggle among the European powers to dominate the seas, lands and trades routes of the world opened to them by their maritime explorers, and to project their particular political, social, economic, and religious systems onto the peoples they encountered.  By the 1560s, Spain was dominant and forcibly excluded the other European powers from trading in its global empire, while English seafarers were barely probing the periphery of that empire and seeking to exploit regions not yet under Iberian control.


In 1568, during one of the English attempts to open trade with the Spanish Empire, Francis Drake and John Hawkins suffered severe losses in a Spanish attack at San Juan de Ulua, New Spain.  By the law and customs of the time, they were entitled to recoup their losses by privateering against Spanish subjects, and Drake used the opportunity to his advantage, beginning with his 1572 raid on Panama.


Drake's circumnavigation was a privateering enterprise for the English crown, part of the counterattack against Spanish thrusts into the Netherlands that ultimately threatened England itself.  Although originally aimed at the Spanish store houses in Panama City which held the silver of Peru before it was sent across the Isthmus of Panama, it became a successful voyage when Drake raided Spanish ships and settlements along the west coast of South and Central America, culminating with the capture of a Callao-to-Panama treasure ship laden with silver coins and ingots, gold bullion, and jewels, making an attack on Panama unnecessary.  Another prize yielded four chests of Chinese porcelains.


The enterprise also developed into a voyage of discovery when Drake became the first European to round Cape Horn in South America.  In the North Pacific, Drake disproved the widely believed idea that a Northwest Passage across North America had a western entrance at approximately 42 degrees, not far north of Cape Mendocino.  The voyage entered into the realms of commerce when he opened Ternate in the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, to English trade.  It was, as well, a voyage of state. Drake formally marked the southernmost tip of the island he named Elizabeth Island at Cape Horn with an inscribed stone, and, at Nova Albion in California he posted a brass claim marker in the name of Queen Elizabeth (Sugden 1991 is the most thorough modern biography; Penzer 1926 is the most detailed source for the circumnavigation).


Drake sailed from England on 13 December 1577 with five ships, traversed the North and South Atlantic, and passed through the Straits of Magellan.  Driven south by adverse winds in his one remaining ship, the Golden Hind, he was the first European to see Cape Horn and postulate a sea route around South America.  He formally marked the Cape with an inscribed stone and claimed all of the southerly islands for his queen, naming them the Elizabethides.


He then sailed north the length of South and Central America, raiding towns and capturing ships along the way, until he left Guatulco, New Spain, on 16 April 1579 to seek the Northwest Passage.  Aware of the prevailing northerly winds along the coast, he sailed west far into the Pacific, then northwest, and finally north-northeast.  He found land on 5 June at 44 degrees North Latitude, where none was expected, for the theory he was following called for the coast to trend northeasterly from Cape Mendocino to a passage connecting with the Atlantic north of Labrador.  The land sighted was the Oregon Dunes.  Northerly winds forced him to put into South Cove, under Cape Arago, for five days to await a southerly wind, but neither he nor any of his crewmen set foot on land there. 


Both the Oregon Dunes and South Cove are now officially marked as Drake landfalls by the Oregon Historical Society and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.


Continuing adverse winds and cold, and increasing doubt about the existence of a Northwest Passage, forced a decision to cross the Pacific and return to England by way of the Moluccasムthe Spice Islands in what is now Indonesiaムand around Africa.  First he needed to find a safe harbor in which to careen the Golden Hind to repair a leak, and to reprovision.  He sailed south, searching the coast for the desired haven.  He coasted more than three hundred miles before he found a bay with a sheltered harbor that met his needs.  This harbor he named the Port of Nova Albion (See Map 4).


Manila galleon San Agust地 Shipwreck


Beginning in 1565, regular trade between Manila and Acapulco became an important aspect of the global Spanish mercantile system.  Silver from Mexican and South American mines was shipped from Acapulco to Manila, exchanged for Chinese luxury goods highly sought after by European elites, and then were shipped back to New Spain (Mexico) via a return route that passed northern California after a north Pacific crossing.  Although the annual voyages lasted into the nineteenth century and may have resulted in undocumented vessel losses, San Agust地 is the only recorded Manila galleon loss in Alta California (Schurz 1939).


The Spanish Manila galleon San Agust地, under the command of Sebastian Rodriguez Cerme撲, carrying a diverse cargo of Chinese export trade goods including porcelain, silk, and other luxury items, wrecked in Drakes Bay in November 1595 while en route from the Philippines to New Spain.  From an archeological standpoint, this event resulted in one of the most intriguing cases of intercultural engagement in early California history.  The San Agust地 anchored in the bay to re-provision and assemble a small launch for coastal exploration after a long north Pacific voyage.  Cerme撲's crew interacted with the Coast Miwok population for more than a month during this stopover, although Spanish chroniclers only documented sketchy details (Sanchez 2001; Wagner 1924). Cerme撲 noted the initial engagements as peaceful, writing:


Having anchored in the said bay on the sixth of said [month], shortly an Indian of one of those living on the beach came alongside in his small boat made of grassノ.The said Indian was seated in the middle, and he had in his hand an oar with two blades with which he rowed with great swiftness. He came alongside our ship, where he remained talking in his language a good while without anyone understanding what he was saying. Having lured him with endearing words, he came closer to the ship and there we gave him things such as pieces of silk and blankets and other trifles, which the ship carried, and with which he returned to shore very contented (Sanchez 2001:241-242).


The San Agust地 was driven ashore during a storm shortly after the crew's arrival in taml-h忱e and was wrecked. The Spaniards were forced to modify the launch to allow the entire crew to continue to Mexico, and to abandon San Agust地 and its cargo. After San Agust地's loss, interactions between the Spanish and Coast Miwok became more strained, and at least one conflict erupted over material from the wreck as both sought to salvage goods from the ship (Wagner 1924:23).  From the Coast Miwok perspective, Spanish departure was likely just the beginning of their interaction with the shipwreck itself, as small-scale collecting, opportunistic salvage, or possibly systematic exploitation likely continued for some time.


The month-long interaction between Spanish sailors and Coast Miwok hunter-gatherers left a rich archeological record of early culture contact in California.  Because the San Agust地 itself has not yet been located, current archeological evidence for the shipwreck is indirect and consists of objects from the ship excavated from Coast Miwok sites on land.  University of California archeologists excavated seven Coast Miwok village and midden sites surrounding Drakes Bay from 1940 to 1951 (Heizer 1941; Meighan 1950; Meighan and Heizer 1952).  Their primary interest was to locate artifacts from San Agust地 as a chronometric marker for refining the areaユs culture history (Heizer 1941:9).  Later researchers from San Francisco State College (now University) and Santa Rosa Junior College uncovered at least ten additional sites with material from San Agust地, although their primary interest was locating evidence of Drakeユs 1579 landfall (Von der Porten 1963).  Material remains from San Agust地 mostly consists of blue and white underglaze Chinese export porcelain, including dishes, bowls, plates and other ceramic vessels, found among traditional California Indian artifacts excavated from Coast Miwok village and midden sites.  In addition to porcelain, numerous iron spikes likely from San Agust地 itself were also excavated, as well as a handful of other objects such as bitumen, wax, and several small metal objects that may include a compass needle and nails (Von der Porten 1972).  Finally, in addition to excavated remains, porcelain sherds from an offshore source, likely the shipwreck site, continue to be collected from the beaches surrounding Drakes Bay as they wash ashore.


Criterion 1: Peopling Places: Maritime History and Exploration


Drake at the Port of Nova Albion


On 17 June 1579 Drake was "sent into a faire and good Baye"(Hakluyt 1965[1559: 643G) in 38 degrees North Latitude where he "fell with a conuenient and fit harborough" (Penzer 1926:50) and entered it the same day.  There, in Drakes Estero, he found a suitable place to careen the Golden Hind, free of surge or swell from the sea and out of strong currents.  To protect the work, he built a fortified camp, entrenched behind walls of stone. (Penzer 1926:53).


Drake met frequently with the Native Americans, exchanged gifts several times, and on one occasion was crowned with a feathered headdress and garlanded with shell necklaces by an important leader, an act which Drake took to be the assigning of Nova Albion to England.  These contacts were friendly, although it is evident that neither side had much comprehension of the other's customs or intentions.  The English accounts contain detailed descriptions of Coast Miwok customs and lifeways long before they were disrupted by missionization.  The Englishmen particularly admired the Coast Miwoks' stamina, strength, and pleasant dispositions.   (Penzer 1926:61-62.)  A brief journey inland from the foggy coast led to an enthusiastic description of the lush interior,(Penzer 1926:62.) the first of many such British accounts of land that would become the United States.


He remained until 23 July, naming the region "Nova Albion" and claiming it for his queen by means of a brass plate affixed upon メa great and firme post.モ(Penzer 1926:62.)  After leaving the harbor, Drake stopped to take seals and birds at one of the Farallon Islands, naming them the "Islands of Saint James."(Penzer 1926:63-64.)  Then he set the Golden Hind's course southwest into the Pacific.(Aker 1970 analyzes the North-Pacific leg of the voyage and the stay at the Port of Nova Albion.)


Nova Albion was both the precursor of English colonization in North America and a stimulator of the concept of a North-American British Empire extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.  Those who shared that vision eventually drove the westward expansion of Canada to include British Columbia, almost succeeded in taking in the Oregon Territory, and seriously considered including California.


Drake's Nova Albion antedated the Roanoke Island colony of Sir Walter Raleigh, in what is now North Carolina, by six years, and Jamestown, Virginia, by twenty-eight, and gave them and Britain's other eastern colonies cause to dream of linkage to the Pacific shore.


Most maps produced in northern Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that show the west coast of North America attach Drake's name to the bay and port lying inside Punta de los Reyes, the name given to Point Reyes by Sebastian Vizcaino in 1603 (Mathes 1968: 98) and label a broad territory reaching eastward across much of the continent "Nova Albion."  In 1614, Captain John Smith connected his naming of "New England" -- the region between Virginia and French Canada -- with Drake's naming of "Nova Albion," as, he said, they were "in the same latitude" (Smith 1616).


Captain James Cook referred to the coast of Oregon as "new Albion" when he reached it on 7 March 1778 (Beaglehole 1967: 289.) and Captain George Vancouver, who had been with Cook, placed "Bay of Sir F. Drake" on his charts after seeing Drakes Bay on 14 November 1792 and conferring with Spanish authorities who told him that this was the bay in which Drake had anchored. (Vancouver 1801:413-414.)  In 1793, a Spanish chart showed Drake's name under Point Reyes for the first time (Carta esferica, by Martinez y Zayas, 1793, from the Eliza-Martinez y Zayas expedition, 1793).  Drakes Bay was thereafter recognized on all charts and maps, and continues to be recognized on charts issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Drake's claim to Nova Albion was explicitly supported by Great Britain in all the international discussions of Pacific Coast boundaries until the settlement of 1846 when the western boundary between Canada and the United States was fixed by the Oregon Treaty.


Criterion 2:  Sir Francis Drake

Francis Drake

Francis Drake was a towering figure in an age dominated by strong personalities.  Rising from obscurity, he became a ship captain and sailed with John Hawkins in a trading voyage that was overthrown by what the English considered to be Spanish treachery at San Juan de Ulua, Mexico, in 1568.  Thereafter, he commanded raiding expeditions to Spanish America, eventually leading to the voyage of circumnavigation.


Francis Drake became a public hero when he returned to England in 1580.  Queen Elizabeth knighted him for his achievement: the second circumnavigation of the world and the first to be completed by its commander.  The feat was an inspiration to Englishmen and many other North Europeans; it strengthened England as a maritime power, gave England a stake in western North America, and opened the way for English trade to the Far East. The treasure that Drake brought home enabled Elizabeth to pay off the crown debts and improve her navy, which repulsed the Spanish Armada's attempt to invade England in 1588.


Drake went on to greater responsibilities, including command of a major West Indies raid in 1585-1586, command of the attack on Spanish ports in 1587, second-in-command in the Armada Campaign of 1588, command of the next attack on Spain in 1589, and co-command of the West Indies ミ Spanish Main attack of 1595-1596 in which he died of dysentery off Panama.


Documentary and other evidence suggests that Drake made contact with the shores of what is now the United States five times: at the Oregon Dunes, South Cove at Oregonユs Cape Arago, Drakes Bay, St. Augustine in Florida, and Roanoke in North Carolina.  Drake did not land at the Oregon Dunes or South Cove, and his contact there was brief.  He destroyed the Spanish stronghold of St. Augustine, and left few intact, above ground traces that are recognizable today.  The Roanoke Colony site is remembered in terms of the settlers, not the man who took one group of colonists back to England, and has no remaining traces of Drakeユs visit.   Drakeユs Cove, the white cliffs, and the Native-American sites associated with his visit are tangible reminders of Drakeユs port of Nova Albion.  They constitute the best representative site in this country associated with Sir Francis Drake and one of the first cultural interactions between Native Americans and Europeans on the west coast.

Criterion 6: Peopling Places: Archeology, HistoricミAboriginal, Archeology, Historic-Non-Aboriginal


In mid-summer of 1579, when Drake departed from his California haven, he may have left behind a small bark and approximately twenty of his men, possibly because they had become ill from eating toxic shellfish.  Some of them adapted to Native-American life, according to local tradition (Davidson 1890:35).  One of them, the pilot N. de Morena, turned up in New Spain four years later, saying that he had walked from where Drake had left him (Lummis 1900).

Sixteen years after Drake's departure, on 6 November 1595, the expedition of Sebastian Rodriguez Cerme撲 landed at Drakes Bay after a voyage from Manila in the San Agust地.  Its purpose was to explore the California coast.  Cerme撲's men established their Camp Santa Fe on Limantour Spit to assemble a prefabricated launch to be used for inshore exploration enroute to New Spain.  Cerme撲's ship was driven ashore and wrecked in a late-November storm from the south, from which Point Reyes provided no protection.  He and the other survivors escaped to New Spain in the launch (Aker 1965). 


Drake's fortification apparently was destroyed shortly after his departure by southerly winter storms that washed its stones into the cove.  Coast Miwok individuals visited the cove over the years, leaving some traces of occupation at its northern edge at the foot of the bluffs. 


Native American occupation on the peninsula was disrupted by Spanish mission development from the 1790s through the 1830s.  At first, some of the Coast Miwoks were induced to enter the missions; eventually, the majority of the remainder were rounded up and sent to Missions Dolores (San Francisco), Solano (Sonoma), San Jose, and San Rafael where most of them died of introduced diseases.  Mexicoユs secularization of the missions, beginning in 1834, freed a few survivors to return briefly to a few village sites on the Point Reyes Peninsula, but Mexican ranching activities made their old lifeways less and less viable and the villages were soon abandoned again.


The U. S. Coast Survey map of 1852-1853 provides a detailed view of Drake's Cove and the surrounding hills.  The chart of 1860 shows Limantour Spit.  These can be used as points of departure from which to detect any changes in the historic sites (See Maps 5 and 6).


Ranching activities in the last century and a half have had little effect on Drake's Cove and the nearby Native American village sites.  The cove was used as a boat landing and had a small pier and boathouse, both now gone.  A dirt road was cut into a gully to provide access to the cove from above, and the small slough that connected the inner cove with the estero was filled in.  The surface of Site MRN-232 was somewhat affected by clearing for agriculture before excavation, and the bluff edge continues to erode somewhat, but the site is otherwise stable.  Site MRN-242 has an erosional ditch cutting through its south edge, but otherwise is also stable.  The Limantour Spit sites (MRN-216 and MRN-298) remain undisturbed under a layer of wind-blown sand and vegetation.  Site MRN-235/301 (Photo 5) is now covered by dense brush, although the currents of the estero cut into its eastern edge.  Many of the sites are now protected from further impact from ranching by cattle-exclusion fences, including MRN-230, MRN-242, and MRN-308.  Finally, both MRN-271 and MRN-392 have trails that bisect portions of the site, but effect on the sites is minimal.  All these sites have been investigated by archeologists since 1940, but are again overgrown.  All retain significant amounts of undisturbed midden.


These sites have been protected by isolation, ranchers' desires to protect their land from disturbance, and finally, the establishment of the Point Reyes National Seashore.


Nationally Significant Archeological Research


Culture contact studies have been an important avenue of research in archeology for many decades.  As early as 1942, Steward (1942:340) outlined the potential of culture contact studies, noting that the introduction of European cultural elements during the protohistoric or early historic periods メproduced revolutionary changes in economy, village types, village distributions, migrations, tribal contacts and other features which would afford information basic to studies of culture change.モ  Culture contact studies waned under a processualist archeological approach as the discipline constructed its theoretical underpinnings based on a foundation of ecological adaptation (Schortman and Urban 1998), but again flourished around the 1992 Columbian Quincentennial (e.g., Deagan 1991; Deetz 1991; Falk 1991).  Since then, there have been a variety of influential studies of contact period interactions between Europeans and Indigenous populations (e.g. Deagan 1983, 1995; Kirch and Sahlins 1992; Lightfoot, et al. 1997; Lightfoot, et al. 1991; Silliman 2004), as well as a number of edited volumes and syntheses exploring broader issues of culture contact and colonialism (e.g. Cusick 1998; Gosden 2004; Harrison and Williamson 2004; Lyons and Papadopoulos 2002; Murray 2004; Rogers and Wilson 1993a; Stein 2005a; Torrence and Clarke 2000a). 


A full understanding of culture contact and colonialism, and their long-term implications, spans both prehistory and historyムin the process questioning the meaningfulness of both terms (Lightfoot 1995; Rubertone 2000).  This is especially evident in cases where indigenous lifeways continued virtually unchanged well into the colonial period, with little incorporation of introduced material culture (e.g. Colley 2000; Duke 1992).  Countering the artificial divide between prehistory and history also erodes the myth of the メvanishing Indian,モ which is often inadvertently perpetuated by a historical archeology that ignores indigenous presence on the colonial landscape (Wylie 1992:12).  Two ways archeologists can counter such notions are first, by using a long-term, diachronic approach and, second, by focusing on sites of indigenous persistence as culture contact sites (Torrence and Clarke 2000b), such as the sites included in this district nomination.  First, using a long-term perspective highlights the dynamic nature of culture, continuous change over time, as well as cultural persistence and continuity, as part of a natural rhythm.  This approach does not see the arrival of Europeans or other outsiders as a sharp break with the past, but rather contextualized within a diachronic framework, prehistory and postcontact are part of a single historical continuum (Lightfoot 1995; Torrence and Clarke 2000b; Williamson 2004).  Second, the artificial divide between prehistory and history can be obscured by focusing attention on a variety of traditional archeological site-types, such as middens, rock shelters, lithic scatters and rock art.  These sites often persisted into the historical period, and although they may not contain obvious signatures of contact such as quantities of European-made artifacts, they can nonetheless contribute to an indigenous perspective on cross-cultural encounter (Colley 2000; Torrence and Clarke 2000b).


Drake's Cove may contain the storm-deposited stones of Drake's fortification, among which may lie artifacts from the encampment.  The cove could produce interesting information and interpretive materials for the National Seashore's visitor centers.


The Native-American middens have yielded approximately 1,000 sixteenth-century artifacts, some of them showing Native-American modification.  They have also produced ten times that number of Native-American artifacts, many of them in an excellent state of preservation, as well as house floors, fire lenses, and other cultural features.  These materials are being restudied by different researchers with various interests. This wealth of resources has the potential for creating numerous projects in late prehistoric and early-historic studies, and the unexcavated portions of the middens constitute a resource for selective small-scale excavations to test hypotheses generated by new and old artifact and dig-record analyses.  Some of these middens appear to be the remnants of seasonal campsites, related to ceremonial centers east of Inverness Ridge, while others may have been permanent habitation sites.  Some sites contained very few burials or cremations and others had numerous burials. 


The archeology of culture contact and colonialism is a vibrant field of study offering insight into broad anthropological questions.  Because the sites included in this nomination are the most substantial repositories of material remains from early cross-cultural encounters on the west coast, they have the potential to contribute to research into broad patterns of cultural change and continuity.  Nationally significant questions that can be addressed here include the following:


1.  How did the initial interaction between Europeans and Native Americans shape the contact period in the West?


Lightfoot (2005a) has recently demonstrated that contemporary issues facing California Indian groups today can be traced to historical antecedents.  Colonial experiences in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had profound impacts on how Native Americans have been viewed by anthropological observers, and how they view themselves.  The outcomes of colonial entanglements varied considerably from region to region, and from case to case, but each was shaped by the historical contingencies of their particular circumstances.  In many documented instances, initial contact with European outsiders influenced the trajectory of future interactions and ultimate outcomes (e.g. Sahlins 1981, 1985).  Archeological sites at Point Reyes included in the present NHL nomination record the earliest interactions in northern California.  They have the potential to address questions about how later colonial encounters in the region unfolded, as well as the long-term implications.


2.  What was the role of disease in the sixteenth-century cross-cultural encounters in the West, and what were the lasting effects?


Previous research has demonstrated that Old World diseases introduced to New World populations during early- European colonial expansion had devastating effects on local populations.  In some cases, indigenous populations declined by up to 90% in the wake of disease introduction, and diseases often swept ahead of colonizing forces impacting areas not previously contacted by Europeans (Ramenofsky 1987).  In California, the effects of infectious disease introduction on native populations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is well-documented (e.g., Boyd 1999; Walker 1992, 1994), but it is unclear whether diseases may have been introduced pre-colonially by early maritime contacts in the sixteenth century (Erlandson and Bartoy 1995; Preston 1996, 1997, 2002).  If indigenous populations suffered sharp declines following initial European contact, it may have had a major effect on how later encounters with European colonial powers unfolded.  As the richest archeological record of sixteenth-century Native American/European interaction in California, contact-period sites in Point Reyes have the potential to contribute directly to answering these important questions.


3.  How did the English (1579) and Spanish (1595) encounters with the Native Americans in the West differ, and how did native responses vary? What were the material consequences of the colonial encounter from the perspectives of both Europeans and Natives?  What lasting effects did this encounter have on both cultures?


European colonialism varied between different European nationalities with regard to the underlying reasons for the colonial enterprise, whether goals were mercantile, missionary, or something else.  Encounters with different types of colonial actors resulted in very different outcomes for indigenous populations.  The archeology of culture contact and colonialism can contribute to a better understanding of how different native societies negotiated contact with European colonial expansion.  While colonial encounters are historically contingent and are not subject to generalizing theories, there is enough uniformity to allow a comparative framework.  Because different ethnic and national groups created different colonial forms, they are subject to cross-cultural comparisons (Gosden 2004).  Lightfoot (2005a; 2005b), for example, has compared Spanish colonialism to Russian colonial entanglements in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century California, and found that not only were the colonial goals vastly different, but the long-term implications were remarkably varied as well.  Recent research at Fort Ross, California, the site of an early-nineteenth-century Russian colonial outpost, for example, is evaluating how mercantile colonialism impacted the traditional lifeways of diverse native populations and examining the degree to which native participation in the broader Ross community resulted in significant changes in their material culture, subsistence activities, religious practices, sociopolitical organization, and gender relations (Lightfoot et al. 1991:2).  By examining material remains of everyday activities such as spatial organization, cleaning and maintenance of living spaces, food choice and preparation, and debris discard methods, researchers are analyzing how individuals from different ethnic backgrounds living in a pluralistic society maintain their cultural identities, and how they change (see also Lightfoot 2003; Lightfoot 2005b; Lightfoot, et al. 1993; Lightfoot et al. 1998).  Similarly, Silliman (2001a; 2004) examines social theories of agency and practice through the experiences of native laborers in nineteenth-century colonial California (Silliman 2001b). 


Recent attempts to develop comparative approaches to archeologies of cross-cultural encounters have made explicit a number of underlying assumptions regarding contemporary culture-contact studies, especially highlighting those that set them apart from earlier approaches.  At the same time, researchers have outlined a variety of analytical dimensions common to culture-contact situations and colonial entanglements in both the New World and Old World, and in ancient as well as more recent times.  These approaches provide a broad, unifying framework for culture-contact studies that they have not enjoyed since acculturation theories dominated the discipline.


Drawing on a variety of theoretical orientations, several authors have attempted to synthesize various principles shared by most contemporary researchers studying the archeology of cross-cultural encounters and colonialism.  These principles begin by acknowledging that contact situations and colonial entanglements are historically contingent and situated within specific contexts, which makes an all-encompassing theory of culture contact unrealistic and inappropriate.  Yet, there are enough similarities between cross-cultural encounters that a broadly comparative approach, which recognizes the distinctive nature of individual intercultural engagements, can be productive (Alexander 1998; Lightfoot 2005a; Stein 2005b).  Another way of expressing this idea is that メculture contact is structured, but its outcomes are not determinedモ (Alexander 1998:477).  Core-periphery models and world systems theory, which attempt to understand intercultural interactions within a single, globalizing framework, cannot be used as a unifying foundation for culture contact studies (Alexander 1998).  Instead, researchers should seek メto elucidate recurring mechanisms and processes in colonial encounters, rather than engage in a futile attempt to develop a single global modelモ (Stein 2005b:9).  Next, several researchers have noted that colonial encounters should be examined from both a top-down and a bottom-up approach (e.g. Silliman 2001b); that is, research should consider both the dominant, colonizer perspective, including structural considerations, and the point of view of the colonized, highlighting how they negotiated colonial policies.  These two approaches converge in what Lightfoot refers to as the メconjuncture of colonial policies and native agencyモ (Lightfoot 2005b:19).  In this way, contemporary culture-contact researchers maintain a focus on indigenous agency, daily practice, and social identity (Stein 2005b).  In addition, it is imperative that European colonialism, or any other form of colonial venture, not be promoted as a single, monolithic entity (Gasco 2005).  Colonialism took many forms, and even varied within each national tradition based on the circumstances encountered.  These differences need to be highlighted and placed in context in order to understand the diversity of culture contact and colonial situations, and the long-term implications of each (Lightfoot 2005a, 2005b).  Finally, as discussed above, the process of colonialism should not be limited to European expansion in the past five hundred years.  Assumptions about European colonial expansion in Africa, Asia, and the Americas in the recent past cannot be uncritically applied to the ancient past.  Archeologistsユ understanding of colonialism and its effects on indigenous populations, however, will benefit from a research focus on the similarities and differences of colonial processes in all times and places (Gasco 2005; Lightfoot 2005a).  As Stein (2005b:8) notes, by using both prehistoric and historical approaches to the archeology of colonialism, メwe can focus on the variables and processes that explain why the organization and effects of culture contact can be expected to vary under different structural conditions and historical contingenciesノ.モ  Stein (2002b; 2005b) suggests that recent scholarly attention to intercultural engagements and colonial encounters has seven interconnected elements that draws it together.  These include a combination of processual and post-processual approaches; a rejection of unilinear models, such as acculturation and core-periphery; recognizing patterned variability in power relations; recognizing the individual societies are heterogeneous; acknowledging internal dynamics as well as external forces for change; and consideration of human agency as well as larger structural constraints.  For Stein, presence of these elements in contemporary archaeologies of culture contact and colonialism represents a メnew paradigm for interregional interactionモ (Stein 2002b:906).


As loci of early, pre-colonial encounters between Europeans and Native Americans in the West, potential archeological research at sites in Point Reyes can highlight a distinctive view of culture contact and colonialism that is not available elsewhere.


4.  Can short-term encounters, such as those in Drakes Bay in 1579 and 1595, and the resulting introduced material culture, precipitate transformation of traditional native lifeways? 


Silliman (2005) recently highlighted the importance of making clear distinctions between archeologies of culture contact (short-term events) and colonialism (long-term entanglements).  Many studies have investigated native responses to European colonial enterprises, and therefore emphasize the implications of long-term cross-cultural entanglements for culture change and continuity (Crowell 1997; Deagan 1983, 1995; e.g. Kirch and Sahlins 1992; Lightfoot 2005; Lightfoot, et al. 1997; Lightfoot, et al. 1991; Silliman 2004).  In contrast, sites in the district allow researchers to examine the long-term implications of a short-term event, using an encampment and a shipwreck as a unique case where contact is mediated through introduced material culture without the presence of a colonizing population.


Comparing ethnohistorical accounts of native practices (both sixteenth and eighteenth-nineteenth century descriptions) and early-twentieth century ethnographic accounts, Beardsley (1954) examined variables such as settlement patterns, sociopolitical organization, subsistence practices, and diet, and suggested that no Coast Miwok cultural change took place after initial contact with Europeans until the advent of colonialism two hundred years later.  Because Coast Miwok populations suffered tremendous change as a result of Spanish missionary policies, twentieth-century ethnographies may not be the best source to use as a baseline for determining social change.  Archeology may be in a better position to help researchers determine whether cultural change took place as a result of short-term encounters, a position that can be highlighted by district sites.


5.  How do Native Americans recontextualize introduced goods in early cross-cultural encounters and integrate them into their cultural practices, and does long-term cultural change result? 


Previous researchers working in Point Reyes have suggested Coast Miwok individuals used the ceramics for utilitarian purposes such as food preparation and storage, that they collected porcelain fragments simply as curiosities, or that they experimented with using the ceramic sherds as raw materials for beads, pendants, or tools but quickly gave up when they found them to be unsuitable (Heizer 1941; Treganza and King 1968; Von der Porten 1968).  Some researchers have found that when incorporating material culture introduced during cross-cultural encounters, ceremonial contexts may be more open to cultural change than everyday practice (Marshall and Maas 1997).  In addition, interpretation of intercultural engagements suggests that cultural groups approached meetings from their own native perspective or world view (i.e. Sahlins 1981, 1985; Salmond 1991, 1997).  As a result, under certain circumstances, indigenous groups may have viewed strangers, and subsequently their material culture, in more than strictly utilitarian terms.  For example, some may have looked at the encounters in the context of creating new relationships with powerful outsiders; others, under historically-contingent circumstances, may have associated symbolic or ideological meaning with the foreign encounters, as well as to subsequent incorporation of introduced material culture into their daily practice.  Important variables structuring the significance of cross-cultural encounters are the circumstances under which the outsiders were met and how they were perceived. In this light, more recent researchers at Point Reyes have offered a different interpretation of indigenous reuse of the foreign materials, suggesting a possible ceremonial or ritual use (Lightfoot and Simmons 1998).  Based on context of the Indianユs encounter with Drake, which likely occurred during an important ritual time called the Kuksu ceremony, Coast Miwok may have collected porcelain sherds and iron spikes from San Agust地 because they were valued as symbolic of that interaction.  As Lightfoot and Simmons (1998:160) note, they メprobably collected porcelain sherds and iron spikes because they were valued as symbolic referents of previous encounters and as materials that signified unknown worlds.  The primary purpose was not to modify them into tools or ornaments per se; rather, they were probably regarded as similar to charmsノ.モ 


A primary theme in the study of cross-cultural or colonial encounters revolves around the incorporation or recontextualization of introduced goods into indigenous societies.  Approaches common in earlier periods of archeology simply assumed indigenous peoples recognized an inherent technological superiority in European goods and pragmatically incorporated those objects into their daily lives in the same or similar way as the items were originally intended to be used (see, for example, Heizer 1941).  A materiality perspective on cultural recontextualization offers a more theoretically-rigorous approach.  Within a materiality approach there are three major interpretations of cross-cultural incorporation of introduced material culture offered by researchers.  Dening (1995:23) notes that for Pacific Islanders, メ[r]e-shaping the strangersユ goods to their own functions, they were also re-shaped a little by things over whose production and introduction they had little or no controlモムthis is a useful starting point from which to explore these three outcomes.  First, many researchers have demonstrated that foreign material culture can be incorporated by indigenous population seamlessly into traditional contexts, resulting in no net culture change (e.g. Burley 1989; Kirch 1992; Marshall and Maas 1997; McEwan 1991; Thomas 1991, 1997b; Upton 1996; Wagner 1998).  Second, some researchers demonstrate that native groups can incorporate foreign material objects in new ways that radically altered cultural practices (e.g. Hamell 1987; Trigger 1991).  Finally, there is a nuanced intermediate position that suggests that indigenous groups repurposed introduced goods in ways consistent with their own cosmology or world-view, but that such recontextualization led to structured change within the boundaries of cultural continuity (e.g. Burley, et al. 1992; Cabak and Loring 2000; Thomas 2002).  All three interpretations recognize that in indigenous societies, exchange with Europeans was not always about the technological superiority of European goods and their desire to acquire them, but rather that establishing social relations was often a primary focus (Hamell 1987; Lalley 2008; McBryde 2000; Mitchell 2000).  As Kelly (2002:97) observes, メwhile traded objects can be very important for what they are and what they mean, the meanings assigned to the trade partners involved may be of equal importanceモ (emphasis original).  Many contemporary researchers acknowledge that foreign objects were incorporated with indigenous understanding (this is as true within the discipline of history as it is for anthropology (see Martin 1987; Miller and Hamell 1986)), and that researchers cannot apply their own cultural biases to assume the incorporation would have been economically rational or strictly utilitarian (c.f. Bamforth 1993).


The sites in the district can contribute to understanding how native populations adopted introduced material culture in cross-cultural encounters, and can also be used to examine broader issues of culture change and continuity during intercultural interactions.  Were introduced objects integrated into new forms of ritual practice?  This will allow researchers to address an aspect of cross-cultural encounters not previously investigated in culture contact studies.




6.  Does the archeological record challenge assumptions about the contact period and the consequences of contact?  Does the archeological record challenge, reinforce, and/or correct the written record about this period?  Does it provide another perspective (other than European)?


There is a rich historical record describing Drake and Cermenoユs encounter with the Coast Miwok, but little evidence documenting the interaction from an indigenous perspective.  This highlights a problem with bias when using European-authored sources to gain insight into indigenous responses to contact.  Researchers must critically evaluate accounts in an attempt to identify both personal biases of the author and systemic bias of a European world view (Wood 1990:82-84).  Europeans had a strong attitude of moral and technological superiority over indigenous populations, as well as shifting conceptions of the メnoble savageモ vs. the メignoble savageモ over the course of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries.  Both of these perspectives undoubtedly influenced their accounts.  Each source has its own biases, interpretive problems, and analytical constraints, but contributes distinct historical perspectives from different points of view.  According to Lightfoot, European historical documents are メnot so much biased representations of history as culturally constructed texts that present eyewitness accounts from the vantage point of elite, literate, western males....These sources are particularly helpful in constructing [colonial] policies and practicesモ (Lightfoot 2005:16).  He goes on to note the documents メpresent a necessary European perspective on events and encounters that unfolded in each colonyモ and that they illuminate the メcolonial structuresモ in which the contact was situated (Lightfoot 2005:16).  Similarly, Sahlins notes:  メFor an ethnographic history, the so-called distortions of firsthand observers and participants are more usefully taken as values than as errors.  They represent the cultural forces in playモ (Sahlins 1992:14).  Just as the historical and ethnohistorical documents, mostly produced by European observers, are biased in their tendency to overlook or distort crucial aspects of indigenous daily existence, native narratives and oral traditions are potentially biased or misrepresent actuality due to the passage of time since they were first passed-down (Lightfoot 2005:15-16).  Each alternative source must be carefully compared and balanced against the others, and the result must be nuanced to provide the most complete picture of the past.  Using multiple historical sources for independent confirmation of events (Trigger 1986:258), as well as the historical anthropological method of multiple, independently evaluated lines of evidence, including archeology (Lightfoot 2005:15), it is possible to construct valid interpretations from multiple points of view, including indigenous perceptions. 


Similarly, traditional archeological approaches to culture contact often take a colonialist perspective, which has メperpetuated macroscale analyses of world systems, a focus on core-periphery linkages, and the employment of insular models of culture changeモ (Lightfoot and Martinez 1995:487).  An approach highlighting the colonial perspective results in the false notion of essentialist cultural groups opposing one another across a distinctly defined boundary, and that interaction can be accurately interpreted by archeologists through a sharp division in material culture.  A more nuanced approach combines both macroscale and microscale perspectives, and considers contact as a dynamic zone of cross-cutting social interaction and active identity construction.  Negotiating identities will be archeologically visible in innovative transformations of material culture adoption and use on both sides of the cultural divide, and by interpretations that allow for the active use of material culture to create new social identities and foster cultural interactions (Lightfoot and Martinez 1995).  Archeological research on district sites can play a key role in helping researchers understand early cross-cultural encounters between Native Americans and Europeans from a variety of perspectives.





7.  Did local Coast Miwok groups at Point Reyes use introduced objects from San Agust地 to create and maintain a unique local identity, or possibly employ them to negotiate new social relations with neighboring groups?


A variety of scholars focusing on historical archeologies of intercultural engagement have examined the mutually-constitutive role of material culture in creating identity.  Jordan and Schrire (2002) discuss European-produced coarse earthenware in colonial South Africa as a material signature of a multi-cultural Creole society.  They note the varied meanings and functions the ceramic can have for different community members, observing that the earthenware vesselユs polysemic nature メcan be seen as representations of the emergent nature of social groups, statuses, and identities; the way they have been historically produced; and the ways they have been contestedモ (Jordan and Schrire 2002:242).  In another important work, Wilkie (2000) highlights how enslaved Africans on a Bahamian plantation selected specific European-manufactured ceramic vessels, based on color, design, and vessel-form, to construct an African-based Creole identity that emphasized cultural continuity.  The deliberate use of material culture that incorporated African aesthetics by one family メrepresents the intergenerational negotiation of group identity,モ as African-born parents tried to convey traditional cultural values to their island-born children (Wilkie 2000:11; see also Wilkie and Farnsworth 1999; Wilkie and Farnsworth 2005).  An archeological perspective focusing on the biographies of things has also been used productively to highlight the shifting meaning of objects through time as they move between different cultural contexts (Tilley 2001:264).  Jones (2001:84), for example, notes that as a metaphor, artifact biographies are particularly valuable for investigating how objects are used to express identity, and how identity changes over time.  The メcontact zonesモ of intercultural interaction can be especially important sites for examining the role of objects in constituting social identity, because material culture メframes everyday colonial life and colonial interaction in generalモ (van Dommelen 2006:112).  The object biography approach has been used to trace the incorporation of European goods into indigenous practice (e.g. Thomas 1991; Turgeon 1997, 2004).  Contact-period sites in Point Reyes may allow researchers to examine the role of introduced material culture in identity formation in pre-colonial contexts, without the long-term presence of colonial populations.


Additional Comparative Information


While the discussion above includes a comparative context with regard to the archeological literature, it is also useful to compare this property with other National Historic Landmarks and/or NPS properties to highlight the unique information potential available here and the ways in which this property can convey its national significance.  While there are multiple sites where early culture contact may be studied that are already NHLs or part of the NPS System, very few date to this early period, or are located in the far western United States, very few are recognized for their nationally significant archeological potential, and even fewer are examples of culture contact that was substantial, yet without longterm colonial presence, such that a short term occupation and its consequences to a Native population may be studied.   Further, many such early sites are military-related (such as early forts) or Spanish mission-related and thus, the national significance of these properties is either on English, French, or Spanish settlement and/or military agendas or conversion of Native groups to Christianity and, therefore, not focused specifically on the kind of culture contact and exchange that can be studied at the Drakes Bay Historic and Archeological District.  Additionally, no NHLs, National Parks, or National Historic Sites contain a shipwreck that dates to this period that is yet recognized or investigated. 


Charlesfort-Santa Elena NHL, South Carolina

Charlesfort-Santa Elena is located on the southeast shore of Parris Island, within Port Royal Sound on the southern coast of South Carolina.  In 1562, the French, under the direction of Jean Ribault, constructed a fort here (Charlesfort) in an attempt to gain a foothold in Spanish terriorty, but the effort was abandoned by 1563.  Three years later in 1566, the town of Santa Elena and the forts which guarded it were established by Pedro Men始dez de Avil市, as a military outpost to prevent French intrusion into Spanish La Florida.  Santa Elena, too, was abandoned in 1587 both because of the inability of the Spanish crown to support colonization in the New World while occupied with war in Europe (Lyon 1984), and interestingly, because of Drakeユs raids on the Florida coast and within the Carribbean in 1586 (when he burned St. Augustine, see below) and 1587 (when he burned Santo Domingo and Cartagena).  Upon hearing of these raids and receiving a report that Drake was headed north, the Spanish moved to consolidate their foritifications to prevent a total loss, and on August 16, 1587, Governor Men始dez Mrquez arrived in Santa Elena with orders to destroy the town and fort and relocate the population to St. Augustine, which he accomplished within a few days of his arrival.  While Charlesfort-Santa Elena does have a relationship to Drake, he never actually landed there, overshooting the harbor entrance and eventually sailing on to Roanoke (see Ft. Raleigh, below).  Additionally, the nationally significant archeological research at Charlesfort-Santa Elena focuses on early colonial European occupation and the development of town plans and town planning during this period, rather than on culture contact (Barnes 2001).  


San Gabriel de Yunque-Ouinge NHL, New Mexico

Located in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, San Gabriel de Yunque-Ouinge is the first Spanish settlement in New Mexico, occupied from 1598 to 1610.  Don Juan de O紡te founded the settlement within the existing Tewa Pueblo of Yunque-Ouinge.  O紡te メwonモ the right to colonize New Mexico under the Royal Spanish Ordinances, laws enacted in 1573 under which the Spanish Empire was to proceed with colonization.  Under the Ordinances, colonists were charged with undertaking the salvation of the Native population, and thus, New Mexico was settled primarily as a missionary field and represented the far northern frontier of Spanish interests in New Spain.  Historians and archeologists continue to question the sequence of settlement by the Spaniards around the San Juan and San Gabriel Pueblos in this area, although several archeologists have argued that there is no evidence of movement from San Juan Pueblo to San Gabriel and that the colonists settled and remained at the place they named San Gabriel, and/or that Yunque-Ouinge was not a separate Pueblo at all but only a different part of San Juan Pueblo (see Jenkins 1984).  By the early seventeenth century, however, the King of Spain recalled O紡te under charges that he had mismanaged the colony and eventually, the remaining Spanish colonists returned to Mexico because of lack of food and overcrowding.  While San Gabriel de Yunque-Ouinge remains a nationally significant archeological database for comparison with other Spanish-Colonial experiences and represents very early culture contact, it is located in the Southwest rather than far west and represents New Spainユs northern frontier. Archeology here has focused on settlement patterns and the missionary movement rather than on cultural exchange from a brief interaction that was not meant to colonize or convert.


Saint Augustine Town Plan Historic District NHL, Florida

Saint Augstine, Florida is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States.  It was founded by Pedro Men始dez de Avil市 on September 8, 1565.  Like other Spanish settlements, Saint Augustine became a center of missionary efforts eventually extending from Saint Augustine in the east to Apalache in the west and Guale in the north and including at least 44 missions. As an outpost of the Spanish crown, its function was to convert the Native population to the Catholic faith, protect the Bahama channel, and prevent British and French intrusion into Spanish territory.  The Spanish colonists faced many of the same hardships that other colonists endured during the establishment of other early colonies and during later periods: wars with the English, British and French, and poor relationships and attack by Native Americans, famine, plague, and hurricanes. Five years after his circumnavigation of the globe and contact in California, Drake was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth to lead a fleet of twenty five ships against Spanish settlements in the Carribean and North America.  After capturing and plundering Santo Domingo in January of 1586 and Cartagena (February 9th through March 26th 1586), Drake sailed north to the coast of Florida and on May 28th through May 30th, captured and destroyed Saint Augustine, after which he sailed north toward Santa Elena (see Charlesfort-Santa Elena, above) and eventually to Roanoke, North Carolina (see Fort Raleigh, below).  The National Historic Landmark documentation establishes the national significance of Saint Augustine for its Spanish town plan.  Although there has been significant archeological research here over at least the last thirty years, Saint Augustine was one of the first cities in the United States to create a city/urban archeology program (see Deagan 1983; Reitz and Scarry 1985).  There is almost certainly nationally significant archeological research that could be undertaken here, however, archeology is not recognized as an area of significance for this NHL.  Further, although Drake is associated with Saint Augustine, his purpose was to sack and burn the town, unlike the Drakeユs Bay Historic and Archeological District where he peacefully made contact with local Native Americans while repairing the Golden Hind.


Jamestown National Historic Site, located in Colonial National Historical Park, Virginia

Jamestown was the first permanent English Settlement in the United States.  In May of 1607, a group of 104 English men and boys landed on the banks of the James River and proceeded to build a triangular fort.  They were sponsored by the Virginia Company, a group of London entrepreneurs who thought they could make a profit from the abundant resources of North America, in addition to finding gold and a water route to the Orient.  Almost immediately after landing, the English were under attack by the Algonquian native groups who lived here.  Disease, famine, and the continuing attacks from the Algonquian took a tremendous toll on the English colonists, however, the fort and settlement continued in existence until at least the middle 1620s when Jamestown grew into a メNew Townモ east of the original fort.  Jamestown remained the capital of Virginia until 1698 when the statehouse burned and the capital was moved to Williamsburg.  The NPS, in cooperation with the Jamestown Rediscovery Project and Preservation Virginia (APVA), has located over ninety percent of the original 1607 fort through archeological investigation.  The Rediscovery team has documented structures, burials, and wells and recovered over a million and a half artifacts.  The fort at Jamestown was founded thirty years after culture contact in California by Drake and represents English colonial settlement in the eastern United States, rather than the far west.  Further, archeological research at Jamestown has focused on the architecture of the fort and the lives of English colonial settlers rather than on culture contact.


Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, North Carolina

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site encompasses the four (possibly more) forts built by Sir Walter Raleghユs expeditions to the New World in the 1580s (including the famous メlost colony of Roanokeモ).  Drake is associated with the very first colony established at the property (1585-1586).  In the spring of 1585, Ralegh sent a colony of 108 men to establish a settlement on the coast of modern North Carolina.  For eleven months, Ralph Lane, the commander of the colony, explored the surrounding area and assessed its economic potential.  As in Jamestown, relations with the local Native Americans quickly deteriorated.  A shortage of food and supplies also created great hardship for the settlement.  When Drake stopped by Roanoke Island at the end of his West Indian voyage in June of 1586, the disheartened colonists abandoned the settlement and sailed back to England with Drake.  Archeological investigations at Fort Raleigh have focused specifically on identifying the location of the forts and settlements and in solving the mystery of the lost colony.  Although Drake stopped here, the property represents English attempts to colonize the eastern United States, not the far west, and archeology has not yet addressed any issues of culture contact, which, like Jamestown, was not a postitive encounter. 



The Drakes Bay Historic and Archeological District is nominated as a National Historic Landmark under Criteria 1, 2, and 6, and under the NPSユs thematic framework under Peopling Places.  It is nationally significant in the areas of maritime history and exploration, historic aboriginal and historic-non-aboriginal archeology, and for Sir Francis Drake. The California encampment, which evidence suggests is in this district, was an essential stop during an extraordinary voyage by a paramount figure in the history of exploration.  The voyage was the first English circumnavigation of the globe, the first completed by its commander, and the first after the Magellan expedition's circumnavigation.  Its accomplishment by Francis Drake was one of the most dramatic events in the long political, economic, and religious struggle in which Britain eventually wrested control of the seas from Spain, eventually creating the conditions for a British-colonized North America. Drake's claim in the name of Queen Elizabeth I became a basis for all subsequent English claims to North America and was promptly proclaimed on English and Dutch maps.  It was followed within six years by the first English settlement on the east coast of the continent, at Roanoke Island.


The wreck of the Spanish Manila galleon San Agust地, under the command of Sebastian Rodriguez Cerme撲, was heavily salvaged by the Coast Miwok, the native group occupying the area during the contact period.  In fact, salvage of the wreck began before the Spanish had even departed Drakes Bay.  In his log, Cerme撲 describes a confrontation between Coast Miwok individuals and the Spaniards over the salvaged shipユs timbers.  Both Drakeユs landing and the wreck of the San Agust地, mark the beginning of European-native interactions that were to shape the relations between these groups in the western United States for centuries.


The archeological record here represents a sixteenth-century landscape that can yield information of major scientific importance, shedding light on one of the very first cultural interactions between Europeans and Native peoples in the far western United States.  These deposits are expected to yield data affecting theories, concepts, and ideas about this initial cultural interaction to a major degree.  Nowhere else in the United States is it possible to learn about this unique relationship.












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1977  Youth Conservation Corps Participation in Archaeological Projects at Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area. On file at Point Reyes National Seashore Archives.



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1999  California Department of Parks and Recreation Primary Record and Archaeological Site Record, CA-MRN-236. On file at the Northwest Information Center, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA.



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            1984  O紡teユs Administration and the Pueblo Indians.  Paper presented at the メWhen Cultures Meetモ Conference, San Juan Pueblo, October 1984.   On file at the San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico.



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2000  Guns or Barter? Indigenous Exchange Networks and the Mediation of Conflict in Post-Contact Western Arnhem Land. In The Archaeology of Difference: Negotiating Cross-Cultural Engagements in Oceania, edited by R. Torrence and A. Clarke, pp. 182-214. Routledge, London.



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1964  San Francisco State College Archaeological Site Survey Record, MRN-392. On file at the Northwest Information Center, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA.



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1987  Vectors of Death: The Archaeology of European Contact. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.



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1976  An Assessment of Endangered Archaeological Sites at Point Reyes National Seashore. Manuscript on file at Point Reyes National Seashore Archives.



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1993  Ethnohistory and Archaeology: Approaches to Postcontact Change in the Americas. Plenum Press, New York.



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1970  Contributions to the Archaeology of Point Reyes National Seashore: A Compendium in Honor of Adan E. Treganza. Treganza Museum Papers No. 6, San Francisco State College.



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         1981  The Drake and Cerme撲 Expeditions' Chinese Porcelains at Drakes Bay, California, 1579 and 1595.  Santa  Rosa Junior College and Drake Navigators Guild, Santa Rosa and Palo Alto, California.



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2001b  Theoretical Perspectives on Labor and Colonialism: Reconsidering the California Missions. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 20:379-407.



2004  Lost Laborers in Colonial California: Native Americans and the Archaeology of Rancho Petaluma. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ.



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2005a  The Archaeology of Colonial Encounters: Comparative Perspectives. School of American Research Press, Santa Fe.



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            2003  An Overview of Research Issues for Indigenous Archaeology for the PRNS ミ GGNRA. In Archaeological Research Issues for the Point Reyes National Seashore ミ Golden Gate National Recreation Area, edited by Suzanne B. Stewart and Adrian Praetzellis, pp. 49ミ246. Anthropological Studies Center, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California. Prepared for the National Park Service Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco.



            2010   Point Reyes Peninsula Indigenous Archeological District National Register Nomination.  Draft.  On file, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, DC.; and Point Reyes National Seashore.



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            2003  Archaeological Research Issues for the Point Reyes National Seashore ミ Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Anthropological Studies Center, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California. Prepared for the National Park Service Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco.



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2001  Ethnography and Material Culture. In Handbooks of Ethnography, edited by P. Atkinson, A. Coffey, S. Delamont, J. Lofland and L. Lofland, pp. 258-271. SAGE Publications, London.



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1963  Drakes Bay Shellmound Archaeology 1951-1962. Unpublished manuscript by Drake Navigators Guild, Point Reyes, CA.



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2000  Culture Bought: Evidence of Creolization in the Consumer Goods of an Enslaved Bahamian Family. Historical Archaeology 34(3):10-26.



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Previous documentation on file (NPS):


      Preliminary Determination of Individual Listing (36 CFR 67) has been requested.

__   Previously Listed in the National Register.  

      Previously Determined Eligible by the National Register.

      Designated a National Historic Landmark.

      Recorded by Historic American Buildings Survey 

      Recorded by Historic American Engineering Record 


Primary Location of Additional Data:


 __  State Historic Preservation Office

      Other State Agency

 X   Federal Agency: Point Reyes National Seashore, and National Park Service Pacific West Region

      Local Government


     Other (Specify Repository): 





Acreage of Property:   5965 acres


UTM References:         

Zone               Easting                        Northing


A    10                    505866                        4212220

B         10                    503889                        4210170

C         10                    504162                        4206700

D         10                    517626                        4203670

E          10                    514891                        4206700

F          10                    508011                        4211830

G         10                    504975                        4212890                     


Verbal Boundary Description:

The boundary for the Drakes Bay Historic and Archeological district consists of two discontiguous areas. The first area consists of all of the districtユs contributing sites except for CA-MRN-230. It is defined by a curvilinear line buffered inland 200 meters from the current shores of Drakes Estero, the Estero de Limantour and Drakes Bay, connecting CA-MRN-394 on the west to CA-MRN-274 on the east, and encompassing the contributing features of the district and the entirety of Limantour Spit and the Estero de Limantour. The boundary line further extends approximately 2500 meters into Drakes Bay from the current ocean shoreline between CA-MRN-394 and CA-MRN-236 to capture the debris field of the San Agust地 shipwreck and the area that is the most likely location for the wreck itself based on historic, archeological and documentary evidence. The second area consists of CA-MRN-230 and is defined by a 200 meter buffer around the site clipped to the margins of Drakes Estero.


Boundary Justification:

This area encompasses the careenage site of the Golden Hind, the fortified camp site of Drakeユs crew, the meeting place of the Coast Miwok with Drake and his men, the overlook from which the Portus Novae Albionis view-map was drawn, the location of the confrontation between Coast Miwok and the Spaniards of salvaged timbers from the San Agust地, the location of much of the flora and fauna described by Drake's chroniclers, the debris field and the most likely location of the San Agust地, inundated resources associated with Drake and Cerme撲 located in Drakes Bay, isolated finds from these sixteenth century encounters that continually wash up on the beach, and the fifteen Native-American sites which were occupied at the time of this first English contact and have yielded significant numbers of European artifacts.


The contributing sites were determined from cartographic, documentary, and archeological information and based on the physical extent of the archeological resources.  The district has had no significant changes since the sixteenth century other than the cyclical shifts of the east-end sand spits and some sand fill in Drakeユs cove.  Relative sea level has not changed measurably in that time.





Name/Title:      Edward Von der Porten


                        Drake Navigators Guild


Address:          143 Springfield Drive

                        San Francisco, CA 94132-1456         


Telephone:       415-664-7701



Name/Title:      Matthew Russell


                        National Park Service

                        Submerged Resources Center


Telephone:       303-969-2656



Edited by:        Erika Martin Seibert

                        National Park Service

                        National Historic Landmarks Survey

                        1849 C St., N.W.

                        Room NC-400

                        Washington, DC  20240


Telephone:       202-354-2211






                                                     August 11, 2019