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Publication Date

Summer 2015

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Marco Meniketti


California Regional Archaeology, Development of Shipping, Historical Shipping Industry, Holistic Approach to Shipping, San Francisco Bay Area, Transportation Development

Subject Areas

Cultural anthropology; Archaeology


My research examines the shipping industry from 1850 to 1950 in California using a regional approach. The region is defined as the coast between Alviso and Aptos. I applied a holistic perspective and used case studies to examine the interaction between shipping and the landscape, economy, local businesses, and law. It is important to understand the region’s history before 1850 because it provides context about the shipping industry’s establishment in California. In the economy chapter, I investigate the interdependency between shipping and the lime, lumber, and agricultural industries. Later, while discussing law and labor, I explain how the 18th Amendment and other issues had different impacts on the west coast than on the east coast. Since the region provides examples of larger ports such as San Francisco and smaller wharves and landings such as Alviso and Aptos, I am able to compare patterns of growth and decline. I investigate the roles of small landings and large ports including the transition from small ports transshipping to San Francisco, to the demise of smaller facilities. This study is also important because it helps establish the background needed for the archaeological excavation of the Loma Prieta Lumber Company’s mill in Aptos conducted by Dr. Marco Meniketti from San José State University, starting in 2015.