Stanford University
Shell Mounds in San Francisco Bay Area
Shell Mounds in San Francisco Bay Area

Authors: Allen Roberts and Matthew Booker

During the first years of the twentieth century, University of California archaeologist N.C. Nelson mapped shellmounds still present around the shores of San Francisco Bay. Nelson published his map in 1909, showing over four hundred shellmounds ranging in size from a few meters in diameter to tens of meters in diameter. An act of desperation in the face of rapid change, Nelson's map was hastily made and lacks precision. It is however a stunning reminder of the inhabitedness of San Francisco Bay: Thousands of years of native peoples living in and changing San Francisco Bay.
Spatial History