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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Another Trans-Holocene Sequence from Diablo Canyon: New Faunal and Radiocarbon Findings from CA-SLO-585, San Luis Obispo County, California


Originally reported by Roberta Greenwood in 1972, CA-SLO-585 is one of two sites near Diablo Canyon on the coast of San Luis Obispo County in central California to produce early evidence for trans-Holocene occupation. New radiocarbon dates show that the site is marked by Early–Middle (7,000–3,400 cal. B.C.) and Late (1,000 cal. B.C. to historic contact) Holocene components, both representing residential bases. The Early – Middle Holocene (Milling Stone) component is dominated by the remains of black-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, and sea otters, along with evidence of the extinct ightless duck. Fish remains show a reliance on rock sh and cabezon. While California mussel dominates the shell remains, modest quantities of estuarine clam and cockle remains support the existence of the Halcyon Bay paleo-estuary. The Late Holocene (Middle and Late Period) component shows the continued importance of deer, an increase in sea otters, and the disappearance of the ightless duck, all of which are comparable to CA-SLO-2, the other trans-Holocene site at Diablo Canyon. Fish remains and shing artifacts are more abundant in the Late Holocene levels, suggesting a modicum of marine intensi cation. CA-SLO-585 has greater stratigraphic integrity than CA-SLO-2, where inter-component mixing was apparent. Nonetheless, it shows the same basic patterns, including a trans-Holocene reliance on deer. At a minimum, these ndings suggest that deer populations were unevenly distributed in western North America during the Early – Middle Holocene and, where present, were consistently exploited.

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