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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Historic Chumash Settlement on Eastern Santa Cruz Island, Southern California


Chumash consultants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century named 10 historic villages on Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the Northern Channel Islands. Locational information for many of these villages is clear and archaeological sites with historic components substantiate their existence. Swaxil, reportedly the largest village on the Northern Channel Islands, was associated with Scorpion Anchorage on the eastern end of the island. Its existence has eluded archaeological detection and led to speculation that the historic locational information for this important village was incorrect. The authors recently recovered historic artifacts from archaeological deposits at the mouth of Scorpion Anchorage, substantiating the ethnohistoric claims of Swaxil's existence at this location. Furthermore, it is argued that the two archaeological sites at Smugglers Cove and Smugglers Point, located to the southeast of Scorpion Anchorage, are the remnants of Nanawani, the other village name associated with eastern Santa Cruz Island.

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