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HISTORY :: News & Photo Galleries

The following information is provided regarding news, happenings and events within the VVC History Department.

photo galleries - image

Instructions: Click on the provided link of the photo gallery you want to view. Once the gallery opens, you can use spacebar to zoom in/out, and once zoomed in, you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to browse through the photos. A convenient link is placed at the top-left of each gallery to bring you back to this web page.

  • PHOTO GALLERY : JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK:

  • DESCRIPTION OF ABOVE TRIP: On Saturday, December 6, 2008, five students and Professor James Comer headed off to Joshua Tree National Park to see native rock art, a gold mill, lizards and birds, and remote desert scenery. We arrived and found out that a tour was scheduled of the Wall Street Mill, a historic site where gold ore was processed; we hurried to the site. Ranger Josh told us a great deal about the mill, which operated on and off for many years, and about the famous feud between Worth Bagley and mill owner Bill Keys; Keys shot Bagley and served some jail time. We also got to see native morteros, or rock mortars, and a pictograph called the Red Lady, painted in a rockshelter. Afterwards we rock climbed and scrambled on the Geology Tour Road and eventually got to the Squaw Tank petroglyph site at Pleasant Valley. Shirley found the famous petroglyphs and there were many more on various rocks. Afterwards we went out for Japanese food at a restaurant recommended by student Byron Endsley.
  • Student Shirley Cole writes: "I liked going to Joshua[Tree] National Park . I got to see some things that I have only read or heard about. It was fun and educational. Seeing the pictograph was very interesting. I had seen pictures of some over the years, but it was really great to see them for myself. Learning about the mine and the feud was also interesting. I learned that over $3 million was mined out of it and it cost lives, as well as, the loss of land to the Native Americans. I would like to go back and see more and hear more about other great places to see. We could all learn a lot from pictographs. I would like to see more wild life next time. I did see some pretty birds and a couple of lizards."
  • PHOTO GALLERY : LITTLE PETROGLYPH CANYON :

  • DESCRIPTION OF ABOVE TRIP : On November 22, 2008, eleven from VVC went on a tour of Little Petroglyph Canyon, located on the US Navy base at China Lake, near Ridgecrest, California. Despite car trouble, everyone got there at six am and cars caravaned out on the 90-mile trek to the famous rock art. In the Coso Mountains, four canyons of petroglyphs have been studied by scholars, and more art is still being discovered. This canyon is open to the public for guided tours, and has more than 6000 carvings in a 1.5 mile area. It's considered the foremost rock art site in the US. Other rock art is known outside the base, such as in Owens Valley and the Sierras. The human shapes are said to be shamans whose powers could bring rain, and rain ceremonies were conducted in the Cosos until the 1920s. The site is still used ritually by Native Americans of the Kawaiisu and Shoshone nations, whose religious rites are closed to the public. The rectangles are believed to be decorated hides; the bighorn sheep (our college mascot) represent the power to bring rain.
    Students enjoyed the petroglyphs, but not everyone enjoyed the tarantulas who were entering the canyon for mating season. There had been recent rain, and the fairy shrimp swarmed in the vernal pools, trying to breed before the pool dried out. We reached the bottom, a dry waterfall, and returned to the museum at 3pm. Four students and Dr Comer went to the China Garden for a huge family-style meal, and enjoyed it very much. There was also a concert at the museum that night of brass and vocal quartet, which Dr Comer attended. VVC Honors Students - and others - certainly plan to return to the strange petroglyphs of the Coso mountains.
  • Student Michael Moore writes: On November 23rd I joined the Maturango Museum tour to Little Petroglyph Canyon, within the China Lake Naval Weapons Center. All vehicles were searched, as the center was a highly restricted weapons testing ground. The trip from the Navy entrance front gate to the site was roughly forty-five minutes. Perhaps the guide for the convoy drove a little too quickly, as the young driver in our car had a hard time trying to keep the vehicle on the road. Upon reaching the site we were instructed to remain in close proximity to one of the tour guides. That was not easy for me because I like to run amuck on hiking trips. I do appreciate and understand the importance of preserving such a location. Nonetheless I had fun traveling over the rocks on the valley floor. It has been too long since I've been hiking, and it was good for me! I have to admit that what I enjoyed most about the trip was the spiders. I always thought tarantulas were dangerous creatures. I learned that they are actually extremely mild-tempered and have to be provoked greatly before they attack. Of all the petroglyphs, I liked the picture of the sheep on its back with an atlatl dart in its chest. The end of the canyon stopped at a dry waterfall. I would love to see that waterfall from outside the canyon looking up into it, when it flowed. I bet that it is a marvelous sight. As a reward for venturing into a location where most of the population is not permitted, we had the chance to observe an uncommon species of desert crustacean. The Fairy Shrimp, I am told, survives off algae and can live and reproduce within one wet season. They can lay eggs which lay dormant for long periods until another heavy rain comes. Remarkable creatures they are. The edge of the canyon opens up and gives a clear view of the adjacent Sierra Nevada.
  • PHOTO GALLERY : HISTORICAL DEBATE :

  • DESCRIPTION OF ABOVE TRIP : On November 19, 2008, Professor James Comer's History 117 class had a debate on the Constitution today and it went extremely well, with students presenting well-researched speeches for and against the Virginia Plan, the New Jersey Plan, and the Bill of Rights, in their 18th century personas.
  • PHOTO GALLERY : VVC Student James Gunn presents an academic paper at the Southwestern Social Sciences Association :

  • DESCRIPTION: James Gunn, a student in Professor James Comer's History 104 class, presented a paper at the SSSA, the Southwestern Social Sciences Association, called "We Won- Right?". It was a survey of the Boer War and how military "victory" led to cultural defeat for the British in the long term. The paper was excellent work, but James was put onto a conference panel with two tenured professors and his presentation was described as "spectacular" by Gordon Bakken of the History Department at Fullerton, especially given that he is a community college sophomore. NO other community college students presented at this conference. It was not a student conference. It was, and it is, one of the major social science conferences in the US Southwest. The other students who presented were all in students-only panels sponsored by a student history club called Phi Alpha Theta. We attended several panels and found the general quality of the work excellent.

    Chere Smith and James, along with other students, are going to the HTCC conference in Irvine in March 2009 to present work. They are also working on papers for the next SSSA, which is during spring break of 2009 in Denver.