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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Cache of Mesquite Beans from the Mecca Hills, Salton Basin


Cabezon's villages had resource gathering territories on the southwest slope of the Little San Bernardino Mountains. These territories provided diverse and abundant floral and faunal resources at various times of the year from three plant communities: Creosote Bush Scrub, Joshua Tree Woodland, and Pinyon- Juniper Woodland (Wilke 1978: 123). Although Barrows (1900: 53, 69) suggested that the diversity and year-round productivity of their natural environment precluded the necessity for hoarding large amounts of food, caching of emergency food supplies was a regular practice among nineteenth-century Cahuilla (Bean 1972: 39; Bean and Saubel 1972: 111), and probably has considerable antiquity as a survival tactic in such a potentially harsh environment as the Colorado Desert. A number of such family-owned caches scattered throughout nearby foothills could have served as insurance against lean times.

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