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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Middle Holocene Fishing and Maritime Adaptations at CA-SNI-161, San Nicolas Island, California


Along the southern California coast, the development of intensive fishing has long been considered to be a relatively recent phenomenon. In this article, we present dietary reconstructions from CA-SNI- 161, a multicomponent San Nicolas Island archaeological site occupied between about 5,400 and 2,900 years ago. We focus on the contribution of edible meat and animal protein to the diet of the islanders and examine dietary changes through time. Our dietary reconstructions suggest that fish and shellfish provided most of the meat and protein consumed at the site. Birds were of minor dietary significance and sea mammals of intermediate importance. The data suggest that at some localities along the southern California coast, relatively intensive fishing developed earlier than previously believed.

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