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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Filling the Gaps: CA-SMI-274, a 10,500-Year-Old Shell Midden on San Miguel Island


Despite dramatic growth in the number of Terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene sites known from California’s Northern Channel Islands, two substantial chronological gaps have remained for which no early sites had been found—one between ~10,000 and 11,400 cal B.P. and another between ~12,200 and 12,900 cal B.P. These gaps have led some scholars to propose that the Northern Channel Islands may have been abandoned by Paleocoastal peoples for substantial periods, while others have suggested that the number of early sites is too limited San Miguel Island Santa Rosa Island to be con dent that the gaps are not due to sampling or preservation issues. Here we summarize what is known about CA-SMI-274, a San Miguel Island shell midden recently dated to ~10,500 cal B.P. The site lls a portion of the later gap and sheds some light on a previously unknown period in the deep archaeological history of the islands.

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