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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 1, Issue 1, 1979

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Solstice Observers and Observatories in Native California

In this paper, it is our purpose to focus upon one of these celestial objects, the sun, particularly in terms of solstitial observations. We will examine the importance of solar observations among Native Californians, and describe the techniques used to determine the solstice. We will also describe archaeoastronomical sites and explore ideas for locating others. Because the subject is so new in California research, our conclusions must by necessity be general ones and, of course, subject to change with new data.

A Simple Method of Determining Archaeoastronomical Alignments in the Field

This paper has, of necessity, been brief. Further data, lists of new stars or other objects, or more complete tabulations may become necessary as the current state of knowledge advances. The method we have outlined does, however, provide an immediate and long overdue tool for archaeologists dealing with ancient astronomies.

The Black, The Red, and the White: Duality and Unity in the Luiseño Cosmos

Duality is apparent on every level, while the evidence for unifying principles becomes progressively more speculative as we move from color and direction symbolism through ritual to concepts of the soul. The fundamental dualism of the Luiseño system is common to much of the rest of southern California, and is doubtless derived from the greater Southwest. My purpose here is not to discuss origins, however, but the integration of duality and unity in Luiseño cosmology. Furthermore, limitations on space prohibit detailed discussion of ritual except for those aspects which demonstrate the theme of duality and unity; these are primarily elements of the boys' and girls' puberty ceremonies, particularly the ground-paintings and the wa:nawut—a net figure used in the boys' rites.

The California Indian in Three-Dimensional Photography

The stereograph brought the "World" into the parlor. Far-away places and historic happenings; occupational modes and mechanical innovations; renowned statesmen and stage personalities; the fine arts and Victorian humor; all became common knowledge through this pervasive medium. To study the development of the stereoscope in the United States is to participate vicariously in the modes, aspirations, and other phenomena of adolescent America. This article is intended to provide the reader with an overview of the history of stereoscopy and a concise look at photo-stereoscopic imagery as it relates to the Indians of California.

A Karok Myth in "Measured Verse": the Translation of a Performance

The above discussion and translation is not meant to suggest that all Native American narratives must be analyzable in similar terms. I do not even wish to claim that the Zuni line (as defined by Tedlock) or the Chinookan verse (as defined by Hymes) have their exact counterparts in Karok: indeed, the definitions offered above for Karok lines and verses differ in a number of ways from the definitions given by Tedlock and by Hymes. Nevertheless, it seems clear that Karok narrative, like that of the Zuni and the Chinookan peoples, has a detailed structure which can be expressed in terms of lines and verses. If English-speaking readers are to have the chance to enjoy, in translation, the richness of Native American traditional literature, then it is the translator's duty to respect such structures.

Milling Stone Cultures in Northern California: Berryessa I

The recent two-year drought (1975-77) provided an opportunity to find out just how such material might be brought to light. During the drought, Lake Berryessa on Putah Creek lowered its level about 40 feet leaving surfaces exposed that were considerably altered from their pre-1956 (year of inundation) condition. How we happened on to the situation is outlined below. This is the first in a series of papers in which we hope to report in detail on the extent, condition, and nature of such material in one small part of the North Coast Range of California.

An Evaluation of Models of Inezeño Chumash Subsistence and Economics

A hasty conclusion to this evaluation of the models of Inezeño economic organization and the evidence supporting them might be that the models should be set aside and attention devoted to ascertaining archaeological (and environmental) facts before returning to model-building. This is reasonable, but it must be remembered that the facts we look for (e.g., small pieces of salmonid bones) and the techniques used to obtain them (e.g., fine screening) imply that certain kinds of information are necessary to test such models as these. It cannot be denied that the presentation of the models, however flawed they might be, has had the effect of focusing our attention on problems that otherwise probably would not be recognized. So as we set out to seek more facts, we should also be refining our models. The two enterprises go hand-in-hand.

Population Pressure and Agriculture in Owens Valley

In this paper, an attempt will be made to draw additional attention to Owens Valley agriculture. Following a brief review of research conducted in Owens Valley, attention will be directed toward an explanation of why agriculture developed in that region. This evaluation will use as a research orientation Mark N. Cohen's (1977) population-growth hypothesis for the development of agriculture, and it will test this hypothesis against archaeological data published by Robert L. Bettinger (1975, 1976, 1977, 1978).

An Account of the Discovery of a Whale-Bone House on San Nicolas Island

Included in the article is a lively narrative on the rediscovery of the whale-bone hut, as well as a wealth of historical information on San Nicolas Island which Woodward compiled in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Museum's 1939-1941 expeditions to the Channel Islands.


To Trade, or Not to Trade: a Pomo Example

This paper will attempt to demonstrate the inadequacy of this simplistic approach to trade. It will do so using ethnographic data from the Pomo Indians of California.

Ornaments of Two Extinct Marine Pelecypods from the Barrel Springs Site in the Colorado Desert

This report documents the recovery of modified remains of two extinct marine pelecypod mollusks, Rangia lecontei and Ostrea vespertina, from an archaeological deposit at Barrel Springs (CA-SDi-4443) in eastern San Diego County. O. vespertina has not been reported previously in an archaeological context. Smith (in Alvarez de Williams 1975) briefly noted the occurrence of R. lecontei in an archaeological context in the Lake Cahuilla (Salton) Basin.'

Dicoria canescens T. & G., an Aboriginal Food Plant in the Arid West

The subspecies of Dicoria canescens discussed in this paper are widespread in the Arid West, ranging from northwestern Sonora and southwestern Arizona through the California deserts, north to Churchill County, Nevada, and east into Utah (Abrams and Ferris 1960[IV]:144). In view of this distribution, and in consideration of the data from the Coachella Valley, it would seem probable that Dicoria has been a much-overlooked aboriginal food source that was of considerable importance in eastern California and at least the southern part of the Great Basin, as well as regions to the southeast. It would have been particularly important when foods traditionally stored for winter use (such as pine nuts and mesquite beans) were in short supply.


A Note on the Mystery of the 'Long Lost Boscana Original'

In his preface to Malki Museum Press's new reprinted version of Chinigchinich, William Bright does an admirable job of unraveling the tangled history of the Boscana manuscript. One interesting sidelight, however, is missing from the puzzle as presented by Bright.

John P. Harrington Microfilm Project

The Smithsonian Institution National Anthropological Archives has in progress a project to arrange, describe, and microfilm the Papers of John P. Harrington, 1907-1957, a manuscript collection containing linguistic and ethnographic material for some 100 American Indian groups in North, Central, and South America. During the past two years the collection has remained open for reference use at the archives in Washington, D.C. In 1979 and 1980, however, large blocks of material may be unavailable for periods of up to several months while being packed, transported, filmed, and checked against the master film copy. Researchers wishing to use the Papers are strongly urged to contact the Project Editor before planning a visit to the archives. Those desiring to place large orders for copies of the field notes are encouraged to wait for the microfilm edition which will be a more economical means of acquiring copies.

Commentary on "Archaeology and California's Climate"

In conclusion, I would like to endorse Moratto et al.'s proposal that climatic change studies be closely coordinated with archaeological research wherever possible. In California the prospects for such cooperation are good and certainly there is no shortage of interesting problems.


Harrington, annotator: Chinigchinich: A Revised and Annotated Version of Alfred Robinson's [1846] Translation of Father Gerónimo Boscana's Historical Account of the Belief, Usages, Custom and Extravagancies of the Indians of this Mission of San Juan Capistrano Called the Acagchemem Tribe

Chinigchinich: A Revised and Annotated Version of Alfred Robinson's [1846] Translation of Father Gerónimo Boscana's Historical Account of the Belief, Usages, Custom and Extravagancies of this Mission of San Juan Capistrano Called the Acagchemem Tribe. Annotated by John P. Harrington: reprinted, with a new preface by William Bright. Banning, California: Malki Museum Press, 1978,247 pp., frontispiece and 1 plate. $25.00.

Wilke: Late Prehistoric Human Ecology at Lake Cahuilla, Coachella Valley, California

Late Prehistoric Human Ecology at Lake Cahuilla, Coachella Valley, CaliforniaPhilip J. Wilke. Berkeley: University of California Archaeological Research Facility Contributions No. 38, 1978. 168 pp., 5 appendices, 26 figs., 14 tables. $6.75 (paper).

Davis, ed.: The Ancient Californians: Rancholabrean Hunters of the Mojave Lakes Country

The Ancient Californians: Rancholabrean Hunters of the Mojave Lakes Country. Emma Lou Davis, ed. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Science Series 29, 1978. $10.00 (paper).

Lee: Indians of the Oaks

Indians of the Oaks. Millicent Lee. Ramona, California: Acoma Books, 1978 (new edition), 256 pp., illus., $6.95 (paper).

May: A Southern California Indigenous Ceramic Typology: A Contribution to Malcom J. Rogers' Research

A Southern California Indigenous Ceramic Typology: A Contribution to Malcolm J. Rogers' Research. Ronald V. May. Archaeological Survey Association of Southern California, A.S.A. Journal 2(2), Fall-Winter 1978, 54 pp., 9 figs., $2.00 (paper).

Bright, ed.: Coyote Stories

Coyote Stories. Edited by William Bright. International Journal of American Linguistics— Native American Texts Series, Monograph No. I, 1978.

Meighan and Pontoni, eds.: Seven Rock Art Sites in Baja California

Seven Rock Art Sites in Baja California. Edited by Clement W. Meighan and V. L. Pontoni. Socorro, New Mexico: Ballena Press Publications in North American Rock Art No. 2, 1979, 236 pp., illustrations, $8.95 (paper).

Fry and Dalley: The Levee Site and the Knoll Site

The Levee Site and the Knoll Site. Gary F. Fry and Gardiner F. Dalley. University of Utah Anthropological Papers No. 100, 1979, x + 113 pp., 68 figs., 4 tables, 3 appendices. $8.00.