Teacher's Page

Why study about the Emeryville Shellmound?
What does a Native American site last occupied hundreds of years ago have to tell young Californians? It is hard for students - and even for many adults - to imagine that life was ever any different than it is today. However, most modern Californians would hardly recognize California of a century ago. Imagine a time in the Bay Area when seeing an automobile drive by was a big event! The only things in the sky were birds, and the shores of the bay were vast marshes and oyster farms.

There were no bridges across the bay, and no freeways along its shores. Few roads were even paved! At the City of Emeryville, a grand amusement park operated on the bay's shore, complete with carousel, tintype gallery, rifle range, dance pavilions and a racetrack. Shopping malls and condominiums had not yet been invented.

But people lived at the Emeryville site long before this time.
The 1st people occupied the site of the Emeryville Shellmound, on the shore of San Francisco Bay, over 2,800 years ago. While the lives of these rural hunters and shellfish gatherers and the environment in which they lived were very different from ours, we would easily recognize many of their concerns.

At this site, they worked to make a living for themselves and their families, they celebrated the good things of life, and they grieved as they buried their dead. Studying the long history of this 1 nearby place may provide students not only with insight into change as a continual process in our lives, but also with an appreciation for the great variety of the ways people live and have lived on earth.

A focus on the Emeryville Shellmound - a site in or near their own communities - can provide students with the understanding that history indeed is happening all around us, even in our own backyards. By learning about the process through which archaeologists investigate an archaeological site and study its contents, students may also develop some understanding of scientific method and the painstaking process of assembling and interpreting data.

From this page, you may access resources for teaching about the Emeryville Shellmound, a significant prehistoric Native American archaeological site.