Invitation to a Lost World: 5,000 Years of Art from the Bay Area Shell Mounds

Beginning about five thousand years ago, an ancient people created a number of fishing villages along the East Bay shoreline. Archaeologists have been excavating the shell mounds that marked these village sites, collecting fish hooks, mortars, bone awls, stone net sinkers, abalone shell jewelry, charm stones, bone tools, harpoon points, arrowheads, and other objects—many of stunning beauty. A panel of contemporary Native Californian artists, skilled in traditional practices, will discuss how these objects were made, the aesthetic principles that guided their manufacture, how they were used, and their place within the culture. Songs and stories will help bring the ancient world alive. Program participants include Kent Lightfoot, Linda Yamane, Ron Goode, Vincent Medina, Fred Velasquez, and Frank LaPena; author Malcolm Margolin will serve as facilitator.

Kent Lightfoot is a professor of anthropology at UC Berkeley.

Linda Yamane is an Ohlone basket weaver, artist, boat builder, language advocate, and historian.

Ron Goode is a North Fork Mono Indian cultural leader, tribal chair, storyteller, and practitioner of traditional arts.

Vincent Medina is an Ohlone who traces his ancestry to the East Bay, a fluent speaker of Chochenyo (the original language of Berkeley), a storyteller, and a leader in the revival and adaptation of traditional practices for the twenty-first century.

Fred Velasquez lives in Miwok country in the Sierra Foothills; a longtime participant in and supporter of Miwok cultural life, he is a master craftsman working in stone, bone, and shell.

Frank LaPena is a renowned Wintu artist, ceremonial leader, traditional dancer, and singer.

Cosponsored by the California Institute for Community, Art, and Nature; the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology; and the Richmond History Museum.