Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Applied Archaeology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Amy Gusick


First excavated in 1938, the site of Muscupiabit (CA-SBR-425/H) has long been a subject of archaeological research in the San Bernardino Mountains. Previous excavations at the site have either been unpublished or limited in scope. A primary goal was to obtain a radiocarbon date for the site, giving a definitive age to the site. Other goals included determining the population size of Muscupiabit as well as the function of the site and its place in the Serrano settlement system.

To obtain dateable material, an excavation was conducted in hopes of locating a thermal feature. An intact thermal feature was found and charcoal was recovered. In order to adequately address the proposed research questions, museum collections were used to gain a larger sample size. A large quantity of artifacts had been excavated in the 1980s but were never analyzed. Between those excavations and the 2017 excavations, 7 units were analyzed. Additionally, population records from the Spanish mission system were analyzed to address research questions about population size.

Based on a radiocarbon date, shell bead types, and population records, it appears that Muscupiabit was occupied in the late 17th/early 18th century and was likely abandoned by 1815. Despite its location along a trade route, the site does not appear to have been controlling trade. Muscupiabit was intermarried with other villages but it’s level of political independence cannot be determined at this time.