Chico Campus Culture Project

The premise for the Chico Campus Culture Project has been floating around for a while now. Originally, the idea was to evaluate why CSU, Chico continues to have a "party school image.” What are the variables involved in developing and perpetuating this image?

The cultural component was dropped after difficulties were encountered in trying to analyze the essays done by students on Chico campus culture. Many of these essays were done in archaeology courses and Dr. Martinez became interested in the project. In September 1999 she began the coordination of an archaeological component of "Chico Campus Culture" project with Paul Maslin from biology. 

While Paul continued with his long standing restoration project on Chico Creek we followed his progress collecting "artifacts" found beneath vegetation that, in some cases, had not been disturbed for decades. We have identified bottles that date to the late 1800s and continue to identify artifacts that range from that time period to the present. This "archaeological assemblage" reflects the material remains of the Chico campus culture of the past century.

The Anthropology Museum exhibit, Just Beneath the Surface - the Archaeology of Chico, California, 2004, was heavily based on student projects done in the context of archaeological courses, particularly archaeological laboratory methods. For example, one of the displays in the exhibit contains material from the Chico Campus Culture project. Another display in the exhibit represents the archaeology of the Chinese in Chico. In a past lab methods classes students have initiated field trips to basements of old buildings and the collection of surface artifactual materials. Recently, UNIV 101 students were introduced to the Chico Campus Culture Project and recorded trash collected from various parts of the creek.