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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Native American Fisheries of the Northwestern California and Southwestern Oregon Coast: A Synthesis of Fish-Bone Data and Implications for Late Holocene Storage and Socio-Economic Organization

  • Author(s):  Tushingham,  Shannon;
  •  Christiansen, Colin
  • et al.

This paper presents a synthesis of fish-bone data from archaeological sites located in southwestern Oregon and northwestern California to further a better understanding of indigenous fishery use during the Late Holocene. The data reveal a focus on mass-harvested smelt (osmerids) at coastal sites in Humboldt Bay and Del Norte County. Other sites reveal an emphasis on small to medium intertidal fish (e.g., pricklebacks, greenling, rockfish, sculpin) and surfperch, likely taken on an encounter basis. We examine the archaeology of fish and the development of mass-harvest techniques, technology, and storage. We also address the importance of fine-fraction sampling as a means of better understanding Late Holocene coastal subsistence and socio-economic developments in the region.

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