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Geographic and Temporal Variability of Middle Holocene Red Abalone Middens on San Miguel Island, California

  • Author(s): Braje, Todd J
  • et al.
Abstract

For at least the last half-century, Middle Holocene "red abalone middens" have been of interest to a variety of scientists working on the Channel Islands of California. Paleoclimatologists, oceanographers, ecologists, and archaeologists have all offered hypotheses to explain their widespread occurrence; however, quantification of their midden constituents has generally been insufficient to explain both their temporal and spatial variability. Detailed zooarchaeological analysis is a key component in understanding why these middens appeared at about 7,500 cal B.P. and disappeared at about 3,300 cal B.P. Faunal data from three radiocarbon (carbon 14) dated red abalone middens on San Miguel Island are presented. The analysis demonstrates both the geographic and temporal variability inherent within these sites, and suggests that our models for explaining their presence must account for this complexity.

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