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

 Lithic Technologies from Late Holocene Anacapa California: Local Reliance on Anayapax Chert


Lithic technologies have been an important part of Native American lifeways on California’s Channel Islands for more than 12,000 years. However, little is known about stone tool technologies on Anacapa, the second smallest and closest island to California’s mainland. To broaden our understanding of stone tool technologies on the Channel Islands and assess the availability of toolstone on Anacapa, we classified 859 lithic artifacts recovered from three ~3,000-year-old shell middens. Each artifact was classified by material, artifact type, and visually inspected for thermal damage. One hundred and forty three of the larger artifacts were examined using a glossmeter. Our results suggest that prehistoric Anacapa Islanders were heat-treating and using local Anayapax polychromatic green cherts and chalcedony to manufacture a variety of core and flake tools. Some of these cherts may overlap in color and quality with polychromatic cherts documented on eastern Santa Cruz Island, but the polychromatic green cherts appear to have been of local Anacapa origin. Our study sheds light on lithic resource use on Anacapa Island, demonstrates that cherts were available and procured on all the Northern Channel Islands, and adds to the growing challenges of identifying specific sources of chipped stone artifacts.

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