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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Changing Shellfish Exploitation in San Luis Obispo County, California


Analysis of shellfish remains from two sites in the Lodge Hill subdivision near Cambria, California (Fig. 1), suggests that a major change in mollusc exploitation may have occurred there prior to the Middle Period (1400 B.C. to A.D. 1150 [King 1981]). Specifically, by the end of the Early Period (7200- 1400 B.C. [King 1981]) there was a pronounced shift from the intensive exploitation of Mytilus californianus to the exploitation of a more diverse molluscan assemblage consisting primarily of Tegula funebralis, limpets, and chitons. This change might have been a result of overexploitation of the Mytilus sp. population, but it also may indicate a change in local environmental conditions due to rising sea level and shore cliff erosion.

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