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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Inland Utilization of Marine Fishes by Native Americans along the Central California Coast


When exclusively marine fish remains are found inland from their species' natural habitat, it is clear that trade or importation has been undertaken. Dramatic examples of this are remains of marine fishes from the Gulf of Mexico found in archaeological sites in Mexico City (Edmundo Teniente-Nivon, personal communication 1992) and the marine species found in Cuzco in the Inca Empire in Peru. The purpose of this paper is to summarize numerous studies in which marine species have been found at prehistoric Native American archaeological sites inland from their probable location of capture and to discuss the presence of local freshwater fishes exploited at those sites. The geographic range considered is central California from Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay area, to Malibu Creek in Los Angeles County.

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