Collections

Arrowheads of different sizes

 

Paleontology

The paleontology collection includes local Orange County fossils dating as far back as the Jurassic period 180 million years ago, including notable type specimens. Orange County has particularly excellent records of Eocene terrestrial mammals, late Oligocene-early Miocene terrestrial mammals, and Miocene-Pliocene marine mammals. The collection contains ancient mammals including whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions as well as numerous invertebrate and plant species. The land animals include horses, mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, American lions and other megafauna from the Pleistocene. Although rare, the collection also has a few dinosaur specimens.

Archaeology

The archaeology collection represents the largest assemblage of archaeological materials relating to the peopling of Orange County with more than three million artifacts and ecofacts with accompanying notes, maps and photos. Artifacts in the collection consist of stone, shell, animal bone, plant and historic objects that were used for food, tools and ornamentation. These artifacts represent the material culture of the people who have populated Orange County for more than 10,000 years, inhabiting ancient villages, fishing areas, milling sites, Rancherias and homesteads.

Exhibits

You can view the collection at several OC Parks’ facilities:

Research

As the County of Orange Paleontology and Archaeology (COPA)collection is curated and cataloged, new research opportunities emerge with every jacket or box opened. Many objects and specimens have remained untouched since their original excavation, and a wealth of opportunities for further investigation are uncovered every year.

The COPA collection is available to paleontologists, archaeologists, students, CRM firms, Orange County Native peoples or anyone with legitimate research interests on a case by case basis. Please contact us at copa@ocparks.com or 714-973-6655 for more information on the collection or to schedule a visit.