Graduation Date

Summer 2022

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Applied Anthropology

Committee Chair Name

Marisol Cortes-Rincon

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Barbara Klessig

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Terry Jones

Third Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional

Fourth Committee Member Name

Ethan Bertrando

Fourth Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional

Subject Categories



Located on the Central Coast, within the northern portion of Estero Bay, Cayucos remains an under-investigated area, and with over 8,000 years of human occupation there, it has the potential to inform about local and regional precontact history. Though relatively few archaeological investigations have occurred in Cayucos, by synthesizing studies in the area, a baseline of information emerges to build upon. This thesis reviews every recorded archaeological site with a precontact component, in the vicinity of Cayucos. These records, along with other relevant studies and theoretical framework, provide clues about the past associated with local settlement, technology, and the environment. Sources of information have been culled from site records and studies, authored by a variety of experts and non-experts including avocationalists, rock art scholars, residents, local CRM archaeologists, and others. One source of information comes from the orphaned Cayucos Bench Collection. Produced in the 1960s by the San Luis Obispo County Amateur Archaeologists, the collection is associated with 11 archaeological sites along the Estero Bluffs and includes site and artifact records, photographs, and a report. The collection is important because it represents the only artifact collection associated with the bluffs, a major portion of the research area. An aspect of this research includes comparative analysis of Cayucos with the Morro Bay Estuary, just south of Cayucos, in order to establish the relationship between these areas and identify regional patterns. The findings of this research begin to fill in the research gap remaining in the northern portion of Estero Bay.

Citation Style

SAA, American Antiquity


Thesis/Project Location