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Putting the "There" There:
Historical Archaeologies of West Oakland

Introduction | Part I | Part II |Part III |Part IV |Appendixes & Reports


The I-880 Cypress Freeway Replacement, a project of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 4, involved the reconstruction of a 3.1-mile section of freeway in Oakland and Emeryville, California. As part of its plan to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, Caltrans contracted with the Anthropological Studies Center at Sonoma State University (ASC) to examine the area of potential effects (APE).

The Cypress Archaeology Project database is unprecedented in the West. Over 120 discrete artifact assemblages were recovered and associated with specific households. A wide variety of groups is represented, from unskilled working-class households to upper-middle-class families, immigrants from numerous countries, and native-born whites and African Americans.

Part I presents the how, why, where, and who of the Cypress Archaeology Project, along with a brief narrative history of West Oakland. Part II contains chapters on the material conditions of life in West Oakland, the politics of the Victorian parlor, and household adaptive strategies. Part III focuses on the people of the neighborhood, with essays on the archaeology of gender; the material culture of the “aristocracy of labor”; the Overseas Chinese and laundry work; the archaeology and landscape of lodging; and a chapter devoted to the archaeology and near 150-year history of African Americans in West Oakland. Part IV contrasts the largely negative presentation of West Oakland by historical commentators with a view based on historical archaeology and makes some recommendations for future work on archaeology projects. Appendixes include a project timeline; a list of other scholarly and interpretive products that have been created from Cypress Project data; a record of the historical associations of each archaeological feature; summaries and artifact layout photographs of 69 of the features studied; a much-edited version of the Field Director’s diary; and statistical studies of faunal and glass remains.

Introduction | Part I | Part II |Part III |Part IV |Appendixes & Reports


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