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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Plantation Cache and a New Charmstone Type from Southern California


The discovery of the Plantation Cache has called attention to an unusual assemblage of archaeological remains. We have presented evidence that supports the hypothesis that they comprise the cached paraphernailia of a shaman. Ethnographic data from a variety of tribes indicate that the caching of ritual items was common, so it is not surprising that archaeologists might occasionally come across such a feature. The Plantation Cache contributes to the small sample of known caches of charmstones in northern California. We have also demonstrated—in light of the discovery of six nearly identical artifacts from northern California—that the Plantation Cache "football" variety of charmstone constitutes a distinctive type. We believe that the football-shaped charmstone represents a legitimate formal artifact type that has heuristic value for California archaeology. Criteria have been presented that identify the proposed football type of charmstone and discriminate the type from similar forms. We predict that additional examples will be identified, and hope that this paper contributes to that outcome.

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