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Of Molluscs and Middens: Historical Ecology of Indigenous Shoreline Stewardship along the Central Coast of California


This dissertation presents three cases studies on the archaeology and Historical Ecology of Indigenous shoreline management practices on the Central Coast of California. These studies focus on various invertebrates and marine plants and algae that were harvested and stewarded by coastal Native peoples as foodstuffs and raw materials. The work was undertaken as part of a broader collaborative eco-archaeological research program and partnership between the University of California Campuses at Berkeley and Santa Cruz, The National Park Service (NPS), California State Parks, the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band (AMLT) and The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (FIGR or Coast Miwok) that has been carried out over the past decade. The research integrates approaches in collaborative archaeology and the application of eco-archaeological for revitalizing Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Traditional Resource Management (TREM) practices of coastal resources in California. In some cases, this knowledge has been repressed as a result of Spanish missionization and successive waves of colonialism during the Mexican and American periods.

Some of this information can be restored and revitalized through collaborative, community-based archaeological research that investigates Ancient Indigenous resource stewardship and management practices with the goal of providing baseline information for TEK revitalization and the restoration of TREM. The primary purpose of the dissertation is to provide crucial cultural and environmental data regarding Ancient and Historical marine resource harvesting that can be employed in contemporary shoreline stewardship by public land agencies and local Indigenous groups.

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