Calico Early Man Site is the only archeology site in the Western Hemisphere ever deemed important enough to be worked by Dr. Louis S.B. Leakey.
Project Director from 1964 until his death in 1972, Dr. Leakey knew that the thousands of artifacts found in this barren desert environment were eerily similar in appearance and manufacture to those he found in Africa. This striking similarity intrigued and mystified him. The implications for the presence of some of the earliest humans in the Americas are staggering.
Because of the potentially ancient age of the artifacts, The Calico Early Man Site has always been highly controversial in the field of archaeology. But new data revealed at other more recently excavated sites makes Calico's evidence more plausable.
The complex geology of the surrounding area and the site itself makes dating by stratification techniques difficult if not impossible. Future planning for thermoluminescent age dating on some of the older artifacts is in progress, but for now all we know is that they are remotely ancient. Many artifacts found at this quarry site likely predate the Clovis Era, putting it in the class of only a small handful of sites in all of the Americas of that age. This is Calico Early Man Site's singular value and its contribution to science and world heritage.
Friends of Calico was founded to provide a place for the public to participate in an archaeological dig while promoting scientific discovery of the origins of man.
At the site you will: learn how to dig an archaeogical site and record your findings; be trained to distinguish man-made artifacts from natural geofacts; hear varied lectures about geology, astronomy, flintknapping, early man, and related cultural topics; help preserve and manage a unique archaeological site.
This environment is dry desert, 1 1/2 mile up a graded road from Highway 15 that runs between San Bernardino and Las Vegas, off Minneola Road in Yermo, California.
The archaeological pits are a 1/4 mile walk up a maintained trail. Depending on the number of people volunteering, you may work in the pits, help maintain the site, or enjoy discovering the local flora and geology with other Friends of Calico.
Although there is no cost to participate in the digging or other volunteer efforts, you may purchase a membership to Friends of Calico, a non-profit organization, which finances the ongoing scientific investigation. Yearly membership is $20 family, $15 individual, $10 students. Your membership allows you to help direct the future of CalicoDig by participating in the BOD and general meeting voting process and serving as an officer, thereby determining the future of Friends of Calico.
You will have great fun, meet other interesting volunteers, get exercise, learn about multiple disciplines through lectures, and promote the understanding of the history of man.
Places to stay:
Oak Tree Inn, Yermo, Ca. About 7 miles from the Site. Large, clean, 2 queen bed rooms with kitchenettes, pets allowed ($10 extra), non-smoking
Motel 6 in Barstow is $35 a night, but is about 20 miles from the site.