Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Matrilocality in the Middle Period in San Francisco Bay? New Evidence from Strontium Isotopes at CA-SCL-287


We explore strontium (Sr) isotope analysis as a means to reconstruct ancient migration patterns of individuals at SCL-287, a Middle Period site in southern San Francisco Bay. Comparison of Sr isotopes from rst molars to that of bone suggests that males frequently immigrated to the site, while all females were born at or near the site. This pattern is consistent with a preference for matrilocal post-marital residence patterns. At the same time, analysis of third molars indicates that individuals frequently shifted residence during early teenage years, even those who were born and lived as adults at SCL-287. While adult residence shifts are commonly reported in the ethnography of Central California, matrilocality is not. In this respect, isotopic analyses allow us to generate new hypotheses about ancient migration patterns in prehistory independent of those reported in the ethnographic literature.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View