The Anza-Borrego Foundation and Institute (ABFI) has constructed a "straw bale building"  that is the home of the Begole Archaeological Research Center, named for Bob Begole. (more info on Bob)

The Begole Center is located at the entrance to the Colorado Desert District headquarters, just a short distance from the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center in Borrego Springs, California.

It houses the extensive collections of artifacts from Cuyamaca Rancho and Anza-Borrego Desert State Parks as well as Palomar Mountain State Park and the Picacho State Recreation Area. It provides sorely needed storage space, office space, and laboratory work space for park archaeologists, visiting scientists and park volunteers.

Construction of the Begole Center was a joint project between the Anza-Borrego Institute, the education and research arm of the Anza-Borrego Foundation, and the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society (CDAS). The facility was gifted to California State Parks in a recent ceremony.

ABFI and CDAS selected straw bale construction for all its environmental benefits straw bale buildings are energy efficient, environmentally safe, durable and sustainable.

"We hope that our use of this alternative building material will encourage the rapidly growing local Borrego Springs community and park visitors alike to consider ecologically responsible building," commented Anza-Borrego Institute manager Deborah Knapp.

The building team was comprised of experts in "green" building and designed the structure to take advantage of green technology and techniques where possible. Volunteers contributed greatly to the project by putting in their time and paid for many supplies. They put up the straw bale walls, plastered the interior with organic clay and straw plaster, painted interior walls and the floor, purchased and constructed lab furnishings, and did landscaping ...among many other things.


See also:,13,13
2007 Fourth Annual Archeolog Weekend
Letter in support of protecting Ana-Borrego Desert State Park

Bob Begole

Written by Joan Schneider, as part of the presentation to Bob Begole with the State Parks Volunteer Service Medallion Award

Bob Begole worked for over 35 years as an archaeologist in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and has lost count of the number of sites that he has recorded - somewhere between 2000 and 3000, he thinks.  Bob's records and maps, accumulated since 1955, form the basis of what we know about the locations and contents of the cultural resources here. 

Moreover, his devotion, selflessness, and generosity toward California State Parks and the archaeological record here in the Colorado Desert have provided us with well-documented collections, an interim place for safely keeping them, and the platform on which we continue to build an archaeological program that benefits the People of California.

From registered professional engineer and contractor, to archaeologist of renown, to serving ABF on the acquisition committee, to benefactor of the cultural resources of the Colorado Desert District - this is the path that Bob Begole has followed.

His archaeological interests led him back to college to take courses in anthropology and archaeology at California State University, Fullerton; he published articles in the Pacific Coast Archaeological Society Quarterly; he was accepted as a member of the Society of Professional Archaeologists -- all this as a volunteer for ABDSP.

Bob's love of archaeology has led him into the deep recesses of our desert and to the far corners of the earth in his desire to learn and understand human prehistory and history.  He continues to guide staff archaeologists to sites that need attention.

And now he has surpassed even himself by making the long-held dream become a reality -- a permanent home for the Colorado Desert District archaeological collections.  The Begole Archeological Research Center (BARC) provides a state-of-the-art curation facility for our collections and archives, both indoor and outdoor laboratory work space, and office areas for staff, volunteer archaeologists, and visiting researchers.

Even beyond this, Bob has created an endowment for encouraging archaeological research within the Colorado Desert District, the Begole Archaeological Research Grant program (BARG).   The goal of the grant program is to financially aid student and professional research archaeologists so they will be able to expand their research and, in turn, expand and enrich our own understanding of our cultural resources within the CDD parks.  The first grant round is currently underway with BARG announcements and applications already in the hands of the archaeological community.

Bob has made not only our dream, but his own dream, come true by both his exceptional and truly unique contributions to California State Parks - first, pioneering archaeological work, then preservation and protection of the results of that work, and finally, both figurative and literal foundations on which to build a cultural resources management program, par excellence.

Mike Sampson and Bob Begole
State Park Archaeologist Mike Sampson and Bob Begole examine surface archaeological features in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  Bob worked for many years as a volunteer archaeologist and recorded numerous sites and features of cultural significance.  His dedication is an inspiration to all of us.   (Photo by John Foster)

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