bust of a Tongva man at Mission San Gabriel
I didn't know archaeologists were shoveling up artifacts across the street from Mission San Gabriel, did you?
Have some video, it's very cool:
Article and video with interviews, from ABC7.
Article and press conference with lead archaeologist John Dietler in the Pasadena Star-News.
Some of what they found was expected, some wasn't. All of it's a big story. Mission San Gabriel was the fourth of the California missions built by the Spanish in the late 18th century. Its founding and subsequent land grab disrupted the pastoral life of the local native people, to say the very least, and set the ball rolling for the exploitation of the area's resources by, uh, people of European descent.
The Spanish weren't the first to do that and they wouldn't be the last, but you could say that uncovering what lies beneath the surface across the street from Mission San Gabriel is the equivalent of uncovering the beginnings of modern Pasadena, Los Angeles, and the state of California as well.
Mission San Gabriel is a beautiful, complicated place. The Spanish missionaries enslaved the Tongva people, and/or they believed they were doing God's work. Some Tongva worked willingly at the Mission. Some tried to run away and suffered for it. There is no one answer and there never will be.