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Open Access Publications from the University of California

 Early Limits to the Central California Acorn Economy in the Lower Sacramento Valley


The Sacramento Valley bottom has one of the richest archaeological records in California despite poor nut-crop resources that are the hallmark of California Indian subsistence. The nut-poor habitat fostered much earlier intensification of low-ranked small seeds in the Valley bottom than contemporaneous sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and North Coast Ranges, including a focus on use of goosefoot (Chenopodium spp.) seeds unique to central California. The Sacramento Valley also has the only central California record of intensive use of Themidaceae (Brodiaea complex) geophyte corms, suggesting these root crops were also low-ranked plant foods.

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