Contextualizing Baja California
Early European explorers and missionaries who first set foot in Baja California described the peninsula as a harsh environment, lled with “savage” tribes of simplistic people (see Laylander 2000:96–100). these early explorers typically arrived in Baja California by way of Mesoamerica, and their views on the simplicity of the peninsular cultures were undoubtedly in uenced by the monumental architecture, agriculture, and robust material culture of the Mesoamericans. Written accounts of these first explorations have influenced perceptions of the peninsula and its inhabitants for generations, apparently leaving many researchers to consider the region as nothing more than a vast desert, as uncomplicated in its cultural landscape as it is in its ecological landscape. the hunter-gatherer- sher groups living in Baja California were overshadowed by their Mesoamerican neighbors and were left virtually unstudied for decades.