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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Trans-Holocene Subsistence Strategies and Topographic Change on the Northern California Coast: The Fauna from Duncans Point Cave


There has been considerable debate in recent years concerning the nature and consequences of prehisoric marine mammal exploitation along the Pacific coast of North America. Preliminary data from the vertebrate faunal assemblage from the northern California coastal site of Duncans Point Cave (CA-SON- 348/H) has been included in this debate. Detailed analysis of the mammal remains from Duncans Point Cave indicates a high frequency of juvenile seals and sea lions, suggesting that rookeries were accessible to the prehistoric inhabitants of the site. Changes in the shellfish assemblage suggest that profound environmental and topographic changes have occurred there. With little evidence supporting intensification or diet breadth expansion, an understanding of topographic changes, such as coastal erosion, is necessary to explain the patterns seen in this faunal assemblage.

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