Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology
Resource Intensification and Environmental Variability: Subsistence Patterns in Middle and Late Period Deposits at CA-SBA-225, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
- Author(s): Perry, Jennifer E.
- et al.
The nature of and responses to population-resource imbalances have played an important role in debates surrounding the development of complexity among Chumash populations of the Santa Barbara Channel region. Faunal assemblages from Middle and Late Period deposits at CA-SBA-225 were analyzed to evaluate whether people occupying the Vandenberg coastline experienced conditions similar to those interpreted for mainland and island populations to the south. Regional data indicate that residents responded to stressful periods promoted by limited terrestrial productivity and increased population densities in the Late Period. However, reliance on lower-ranked shellfish species at CA-SBA- 225 and other sites through time does not conform precisely to expectations, thereby requiring additional explanation. It is argued that natural variation in resource availability and abundance contributes significantly to the character of these faunal assemblages. In sum, this analysis highlights the necessity of understanding local environmental variability before invoking models of resource intensification to explain subsistence data.