The Dig

The Immaculate Heart School ~1900

During July 2002, Parker & Associates Archaeological Research was asked to monitor construction excavation for additions to Mission Prep High School in San Luis Obispo.

The 1920’s Catholic school is located across the street from Mission San Luis Obispo, one of the 21 Spanish missions built in California when it was part of Spain during the 1700’s.  Although a surface inspection of the project area failed to turn up any historical materials, it was expected that buried artifacts and historic features related to the Mission might be discovered.

During the construction work, 17 buried historic features were encountered and recorded.  These included buried trash deposits, a filled-in well, privy, foundation footings, and school sandbox.  Five features represented Mission period activity (1776-1834), ten features represented Immaculate Heart Convent School activities (1876-1924), and two features were related to the existing 1924+ Catholic school.

The largest and most revealing feature was the outhouse associated with the 1876 Convent school.  This feature contained a wealth of artifacts that we were able to use to reconstruct the daily life of teachers, students, and staff at the school.  Click on the “Outhouse” button under the “Convent School” menu item to get an idea of the type of information that can be obtained from a study of the contents of an outhouse.