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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Possible Shaman's Cache from CA-Riv-102, Hemet, California


It is common to find the scattered fragmentary remains of ceremonial objects in archaeological sites, but it is uncommon to find complete specimens or specimens in a context, such as in a cache, that reflect the cultural significance the objects once held. It is the occurrence of this phenomenon that makes the ritual objects discussed here unique. During excavation of a 10 cm. level of a 1 X 2-m.-test unit at a site near Hemet, California, a nearly complete stone pipe, unbaked clay figurine, and a quartz rock crystal were found (Fig. 1). Ethnographic data suggest that this inventory of associated artifacts implies the possible remains of a shaman's kit or a sacred clan bundle. The artifacts are all in complete or nearly complete condition. This allows for a much greater meaning to be extracted concerning the way in which the objects were perceived in the cultural framework, and thus grouped and deposited.

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