A Brief History of the Alameda Native History Project

Phase 1: “Unauthorized Alameda: The Indian Burial Mounds”;

The true story of what actually happened to the Mound off High Street, in Alameda, California.

Includes Haunted Alameda:

A collection of ghost stories about living on and around the Alameda Shellmounds.

Phase 1

Unauthorized Alameda:

The Indian Burial Mounds

Mission: Find the true history of the Alameda Shellmounds.


  1. Find out where the only known Alameda Shellmound was.
  2. Find out what happened to the mound.
  3. Find out where I can see the artifacts from the mound.
Status: Complete


  1. Learned there are 4 Shellmounds in Alameda; and where they are, today.
  2. Learned there were 2 excavations of the Shellmound off High Street, in 1892 & 1908–when the mound was leveled-off. But bodies still remain just under the surface of places which remain largely untouched since those first houses were built.
  3. Found the final, grisly fate of the “450 indians with stone implements”. The remains of Native American people were ground up, and used as aggregate, for paving Bay Farm Road. (Remains were also used for a number of other roads, and sidewalks.)
  4. Learned that there are over 425 shellmound sites in the San Francisco Bay Region.

All of this will be addressed in later articles. Excerpts of the Articles on both excavations will be grouped together, and populated in the Wiki. But… this project has a lot of departments, [seriously, it’s bigger on the inside,] so bear with me.


  1. Shellmounds are, first and foremost, cemeteries; and should be respected, not disturbed.
  2. The actual, pre-contact, population density of Native Americans in the Bay Area is grossly under-stated.
  3. Not many people know about the shellmounds, despite that fact that many shellmounds are usually less than 15 minutes away from any place in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  4. Gate-keeping, and white-washing exists in all facets of academia; and must be countered in every way reasonably possible. History should be based on fact. And sources needed to be vetted more often.
  5. There must be a proactive effort to identify and protect Native American graves on private property; and to educate the public, and concerned persons, about the development, and usage of non-invasive sensing technology that requires no touch, and no digging.
  6. The interface for said effort with private property owners and occupants should include reassurance that their land rights should not be infringed upon, either; but creating a permissive easement, and/or right-of-way for descendants, and tribal members to come visit with their ancestors is something that can go a long way in settling the affairs of the land.

Phase 2 of the Alameda Native History Project is a natural next-step for the project.

After gathering, compiling, indexing and aggregating information about the Alameda Shellmounds, it made sense to see where other shellmounds in the San Francisco Bay Region are.

“This phase of the project includes a lot of mapping, satellite imagery, and field research.

It’s the perfect mix of the things I love: travel, investigation, maps, and history.”

Gabriel Duncan, for the Alameda Native History Project

Mission: The Search for Undiscovered History


  1. Conform N.C. Nelson’s, “Map of the San Francisco Bay Region Showing Distribution of Shell Heaps” to the current geography of that same region. Fully plot, and find the geographic coordinates of the mounds marked as “still present”. [Completed.]
  2. Use satellite, photogrammetry, Light Detection and Ranging, and other imaging available to analyze said coordinate for specific elevation and topographical qualities.
  3. Make a list targets to investigate, and perform a preliminary investigation to determine if further focus is warranted.
  4. [Reserved.]
STATUS: Ongoing

Stay tuned for more.