California Radiocarbon Dates. Fifth edition. Gary S. Breschini, Trudy Haversat, and Jon Erlandson, Compilers. Salinas: Coyote Press, 1988, vi -i- 119 pp., 30 figs., 1 table, $5.95 (paper).
Despite more than seventy years of discussion and controversy, the validity of the evidence for the contemporaneity of man and extinct Pleistocene fauna at Potter Creek Cave, Shasta County, California, has never been resolved. It is most fitting that on the centennial of the first published account of the discovery of fossil bones within this cavern—by Livingston Stone's exploring party of 1874 (Stone 1876)—we are now able to present evidence providing a partial solution to this problem.
The results of this radiocarbon analysis permit the conclusion that split-twig figurines and atlatl darts were in use essentially contemporaneously at Newberry Cave. The numerous Elko series and Gypsum type projectile points in the collection were undoubtedly used with the atlatl dart shafts. It seems probable that the apparent magico-religious artifacts and unique zoomorphic pictographs present on the walls of the cave also date from this period of use. It is suggested that this magico-religious and hunting assemblage comprises a single cultural component, and resulted from the activities of a prehistoric hunters' society, who attempted to aid their pursuit of bighorn sheep through the use of magic.
We are interested in determining the magnitude of cooling in coastal southern California during the Little Ice Age, since the regional archaeological record does not appear to indicate major subsistence disruption among indigenous hunter-gatherer populations at that time. Koerper (1981), in fact, interpreted available prehistoric settlement data as showing generally increasing sedentism throughout the Holocene along the coast with no suggestion of late period deviation from this trend.
AMS radiocarbon assays confirm that shell fishhook and line fishing was a feature of early Late Holocene and Intermediate Cultures period subsistence technology in coastal Orange County. Other data support a similar development of coastal line fishing in southern and central California beginning no earlier than the third millenium B.P. However, limited data from San Clemente Island suggest shell fishhooks were employed prior to that time. We suggest that AMS dating be applied to San Clemente Island fishhooks to help clarify the relationship of the island data with established fishhook sequences for Orange County and other parts of California.
A San Nicolas Island "hook stone" manufactured of marine mammal bone was AMS dated to 3,480 ± 60 RCYBP. The vast majority of bird/pelican/hook stone effigies are of steatite or some other lithic material, and they are placed in the Late Prehistoric Period. If the genre begins well before Late Prehistoric times, then the earlier artifacts were probably being fashioned of less durable materials (e.g., wood). However, the early date of this "hook stone" may simply be the consequence of artisans selecting old bone to carve.
The purpose of this report is to provide the first comprehensive, multidisciplinary study of the Haverty skeletal series. This discussion includes a summary of the events associated with the original discovery, a reconstruction of the geologic and stratigraphic context of the locality, a description of the apparently associated archaeological materials, a full morphological description of the remains, and a summary of the current status of the dating evidence.