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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Middle Holocene Ceramic Technology on the Southern California Coast: New Evidence from Little Harbor, Santa Catalina Island


A recently discovered collection of fired clay artifacts from the Little Harbor Site (CASCAI- 17) on Santa Catalina Island establishes that an indigenous ceramic craft had developed on the Channel Islands of Southern California by hunter-gatherer-fishers during the Middle Holocene, possibly as early as 5,000 years ago. This predates any influence from the Southwest and is coeval with the earliest ceramics discovered in the western hemisphere. The Little Harbor fired clay objects appear to be associated with a similar ceramic technology that is being revealed at some Southern California mainland coastal sites, especially in Orange and Riverside counties to the east. If so, the Little Harbor collection of fired clay artifacts supports the idea of a dynamic Middle Holocene socioeconomic interaction sphere connecting the southern Channel Islands and the mainland.

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