Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 1, Issue 2, 1979

Issue cover


Wikchamni Coiled Basketry

Although Wikchamni basketry tradition is near extinction, the basic features of the tradition have been retained by Mrs. Silva and covered by us in this paper. Emphasis has been on the style of construction of the coiled basket and on collection and preparation of the natural materials used. Certain conventions of basketry designs have not been covered and will require more research. How the stitches of a design pattern are calculated so that they are equally distributed (e.g., in the horizontal band designs) and how the curvature of the basket is taken into account (especially in the diagonal designs) still need to be investigated. Other basket traditions, such as twined work, have not been mentioned, although the Wikchamni did make some twined baskets. When Anna Gayton published her ethnography, she stated that she hadn't included much information on basket making "since the art was in no danger of extinction and it was hoped that some investigator would undertake its special study" (Gayton 1948:85). Today the tradition is carried on by very few Wikchamni, all of whom are in their senior years.

The Altithermal Revisited: Pollen Evidence from the Leonard Rockshelter

In this paper, we report on a second attempt to recover pollen from the Leonard Rockshelter sediments. In 1976, we directed our attention to two series of samples that included the whole of the stratigraphic sequence. The samples were collected during the 1950 excavation, and had since been stored in the Lowie Museum of Anthropology (Berkeley). Like Hansen, we found it impossible to extract pollen from the lower bat guano layer, but the overlying silt and rockfall layers yielded reasonably well-preserved pollen in countable quantities. The results of the analysis in large part support the Antevs model and also throw new light on the "significance" of climatic change in the Great Basin.

The San Emigdio Rock Art Site

This paper examines the possibility that at least portions of a particular Chumash rock painting site were executed in historic times and may have been painted in an effort to activate supernatural forces against the Spanish-Mexican intruders. It describes the specific magico-religious elements of the rock art as well as the area in question and explores the possibility that the missions may have been the source for the unusual colors found at this site. These colors, which are atypical for the Chumash, are green, blue-green, and a true orange.' All of these colors exhibit opacity to some degree.

Implications of Snare Bundles in the Great Basin and Southwest

Snare use in the arid Desert West of North America is characteristic of a broad-spectrum subsistence strategy, a conclusion supported by the contextual occurrence of snare bundles. Such a system insured against economic crises by including a wide range of plants and animals on its list of food items. It is suggested that microfauna, which are often relegated to the "also present" category of archaeologically derived subsistence profiles, played a significant role in the prehistoric annual round of the Desert West and possibly a key role in the spring.

Gotlieb Adam Steiner and the G. A. Steiner Museum

In western Pennsylvania the last ice age left its indelible tracks. There is the Slippery Rock Creek Gorge and, nearby, McConnel's Mills (now a state park) and Moraine State Park. In the same area, not far from the town of Portersville and about fifty miles north of Pittsburgh, is the Kennedy Mill Farm. Located on an unpaved country road, it has a sturdy farmhouse and miscellaneous buildings, including poultry barns no longer used. Superficially, the farm provides no incentive for a passerby to stop and enter the gate. The most prominent feature of the place, however, is a striking windowless modern structure which has nothing to identify it. The casual visitor is not likely to guess that it is a museum, possibly unique in the United States. Museums are normally expected to be located where the interested public can find them readily accessible. But this stark edifice houses an exhibit not intended for the general public and therefore lacks an exterior tablet or plaque to indicate its contents or purpose. Within is a superb private collection of American Indian baskets.

Catalina Island Soapstone Manufacture

Quarrying and mining during the aboriginal occupation of Catalina Island has attracted the attention of archaeologists and other investigator over the years, as indicated by numerous descriptions of extractive activities and locational information (Schumacher 1878, 1879; Reiss 1955; Jones 1956; Heizer and Treganza 1944; Meighan and Johnson 1957; Meighan and Rootenberg 1957; Leonard 1971, 1973, 1976; Stevens 1977; Romani n.d.). Although numerous workshop and quarry areas have been identified and recorded in the area of the Airport, Empire Landing, and the Valley of the Ollas (Fig. 1), only limited research has been directed toward answering specific questions concerning the exploitation of soapstone, especially in terms of selection of material and actual production methods.

A Rare Account of Gabrielino Shamanism from the Notes of John P. Harrington

Narratives which concern shamanism among the Gabrielino of southern California are always important, since so little of this aspect of their culture has survived. It was thus with great delight that I discovered one such narrative among some notes on Gabrielino material culture that I had ordered from the Smithsonian Institution. The account, recorded by John P. Harrington, pertains to shamanism at Mission San Gabriel and Santa Catalina Island, and its rich detail provides the opportunity to make comparative studies. I have lightly edited the account, and at the end of the narrative the reader will find a few notes made where confusion or contradiction existed, or elaboration was felt justified.


A Charmstone from the Sea off Point Conception, California

Whatever the explanation, the discovery of a charmstone in waters off California represents not only a unique find, but perhaps one with special importance as we come to know more about California's past.

Three Baked Clay Figurines from Antelope Valley, California

During mitigation work undertaken at a small occupation site (LAn-771) on Edwards Air Force Base in 1977 (Sutton 1977, 1978), a small baked clay figurine fragment with a punctate design was recovered. When this piece was shown to R. W. Robinson at Antelope Valley College, he remembered having recovered two similar artifacts during his excavations at Ker-303, a large occupation site about 25 miles west of LAn-771. This report describes these three artifacts and offers some limited comparisons with other figurines from southern California. These specimens are the first reported fired clay figurines from the Antelope Valley, the southwesternmost part of the Mojave Desert.


Fry: Analysis of Prehistoric Coprolites from Utah

Analysis of Prehistoric Coprolites from Utah. Gary F. Fry. University of Utah, Anthropological Papers No. 97, 1976, xii + 45 pp., illus., $8.00 (paper).

Hanna: Lost Harbor: The Controversy Over Drake's California Anchorage

Lost Harbor: The Controversy Over Drake's California Anchorage. Warren L. Hanna. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979, xvii + 459 pp., 63 illus., $15.95

Miscellaneous Collected Papers 19-24

Miscellaneous Collected Papers 19-24. University of Utah Anthropological Papers No. 99, 1978, 163 pp., maps, plates, illustrations. $8.00 (paper).

Wallace and Wallace: Desert Foragers and Hunters: Indians of the Death Valley Region

Desert Foragers and Hunters: Indians of the Death Valley Region. William J. Wallace and Edith Wallace. Ramona, Calif: Acoma Books, 1979, viii + 44 pp., 20 photos, pen sketches, $3.25 (paper).

Jennings: Prehistory of Utah and the Eastern Great Basin

Prehistory of Utah and the Eastern Great Basin. Jesse D. Jennings. University of Utah Anthropological Papers No. 98, 263 pp., 239 figs., 2 append., $8.00, paper.

Miller: Ukomno'm: The Yuki Indians of Northern California

Ukomno'm: The Yuki Indians of Northern California. Virginia P. Miller. Socorro, New Mexico: Ballena Press Anthropological Papers No. 14, 1979, 108 pp., 1 map, 8 figs., bibliography, $6.95.

Castleton: Petroglyphs and Pictographs of Utah, Vol. 1: The East and Northeast

Petroglyphs and Pictographs of Utah, Vol. I: The East and Northeast. Kenneth B. Castleton. Salt Lake City: Utah Museum of Natural History, 1978, 215 pp., maps, 322 figs, (photographs and drawings), refs., site index, $15.95.