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Cultural Markings on the Landscape: The PCN Pecked Curvilinear Nucleated Tradition in the Northern Coastal Ranges of California


This dissertation explores the archaeological context of the PCN (Pecked Curvilinear Nucleated) tradition of marking boulders as it appears in the landscape of the Coastal Ranges of Northern California. Located on the over 2150 hectare property of the University of California Hopland Research and Extension Center (HREC) are five boulders or clusters of boulders that exhibit cultural markings, including some cupules, which were placed in the distant past on a specific type of boulder, in distinctive shapes and forms. By using a landscape archaeology and ritual theory framework, I explore the prehistoric activities that took place at the more than 30 identified prehistoric sites, through the archaeological context provided by more than 3000 catalogued artifacts excavated and collected from the sites. After subjecting the data to various technological methods, the results of various archaeological testing (obsidian hydration, chemical sourcing, AMS dates, soil testing techniques, and recording techniques) are reported, discussed and interpreted. A final objective and contribution of this study is to present a contextual model for application to similar archaeological sites.

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