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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 12, Issue 1, 1990

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The Use of Tui Chub as Food by Indians of the Western Great Basin

On the following pages we explore the harvesting and processing of tui chub by aboriginal people in the western Great Basin. Existing archaeological, ethnographic, and biological data identify the most common method of tui chub acquisition, processing, and consumption. The data guide 12 experiments where we document the effort required to harvest and initially process tui chub for food. We calculate the number of food calories returned per hour of fishing and processing effort. The experiments help rank tui chub relative to other food resources in the Great Basin (cf. Simms 1984). However, we make no assertions about optimal foraging behavior of Great Basin aboriginal people. Rather, we simply demonstrate that tui chub are an abundant, easily harvested resource that provides high calories and protein with relatively little effort. And the Indians of the western Great Basin took advantage of this.

The Caballo Blanco Biface Cache, Mendocino County, California (CA-MEN-1608)

In this paper we have reported upon the discovery of a cache of 16 obsidian bifaces derived from the Mount Konocti obsidian source. We have suggested that this cache dates to the start of the Dry Creek Phase thought to mark the arrival of the ancestral Pomoan people west of the Russian River Valley. The Caballo Blanco Biface Cache provides a rare view into the Mount Konocti obsidian exchange system just as it began a rapid expansion roughly 2,500 B.P. Single events are rarely documented archaeologically in the North Coast Ranges and, generally, obsidian chipping debris represents patterned behavior by numerous individuals over long periods of time. The Caballo Blanco Biface Cache represents specific behavior culminating at an instant in time.

The Protohistoric Period in the Western Great Basin

It is important to recognize a Protohistoric period in the cultural historical chronology of the Great Basin, as it is associated with a particular range of time, and is characterized by several distinct artifact types and cultural developments. The study of protohistoric sites and components can improve our understanding of native cultures as they stood on the brink of intensive contact with Euroamerican society. Moreover, these investigations will aid in the identification of subsequent changes in aboriginal material and nonmaterial culture and the impacts these changes had on ethnographically documented groups. This paper is primarily concerned with the protohistory of the western region, as the author is most familiar with its archaeology, ethnography, and history.

Achumawi and Atsugewi Fishing Gear

During a collecting trip for the Field Columbian Museum of Chicago in 1902, John W. Hudson acquired gear used by the Achumawi and Atsugewi for fishing. In 1986-87 the Pit River Tribal Council and the California Department of Parks and Recreation collaborated to protect the unique stone fish traps or weirs at Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park in northeastern California. This paper, describing the fishing equipment collected by Hudson, is supplemental to information on Pit River fishing practices compiled from ethnographic sources and recent interviews (Evans 1987; Dreyer and Johnson 1988). As the Chicago collections are not easily accessible, emphasis is on unpublished material rather than literature review.

Traditions of Sucker Exploitation in the Pit River System: An Ajumawi Example

The avowed significance of riverine-focused cultural adaptations in northeastern California notwithstanding, little is understood regarding the use of specific fish species, the variability in harvest strategies, or the relative dietary values of the resources. Recent ethnographic research on traditional sucker fishing practices among the Ajumawi division of the Pit River Indians provides a specific illustration of a significant resource used in prehistoric times and continuing through historical accommodation to the middle of the twentieth century. The perpetuation of sucker use survives to the present and is attributed in part to historical residence patterns and continuous availability, but also to the dietary significance of this traditional resource.

The Haverty Human Skeletons: Morphological, Depositional, and Geochronological Characteristics

The purpose of this report is to provide the first comprehensive, multidisciplinary study of the Haverty skeletal series. This discussion includes a summary of the events associated with the original discovery, a reconstruction of the geologic and stratigraphic context of the locality, a description of the apparently associated archaeological materials, a full morphological description of the remains, and a summary of the current status of the dating evidence.

An Obsidian Hydration Chronology of Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene Surface Assemblages

The inadequacy of typological approaches has led to our attempts to improve temporal resolution by means of obsidian hydration dating. Increasingly, archaeologists working in the Great Basin have adopted obsidian hydration dating as an adjunct to standard dating techniques, some regarding surface artifact dating as an acceptable extension of the approach (e.g., McGonagle 1979; Bettinger 1980, 1989; Jackson 1984a; Tuohy 1984; Zeier and Elston 1984). While we have reservations about the use of obsidian hydration dating for precise chronometric assessments of surface artifacts (cf. Leach 1988; Bettinger 1989), the technique appears to have merit as a relative dating tool (Michels 1967, 1973; Michels and Tsong 1980; Jackson 1984a). In this paper we report on a study of 115 obsidian artifacts recovered from seven archaeological sites of late Pleistocene-early Holocene age. We begin with general background of the dating method and of our Butte Valley studies, and then turn to the results of our obsidian source and hydration analyses. We conclude with an evaluation of obsidian hydration for delimiting chronological information for the surface archaeological record.

Testing House Pits at the ZX Ranch Site, Lake County, Oregon: A Report on the 1939 Investigations

Cressman and his field party recognized the house depressions at the ZX Ranch site as cultural features, and their excavation strategy reflected this. Trenches were placed across each of the house pits to expose and profile such features as floors, rims, or hearths. Thus, these early archaeological tests are still the most extensive excavations of house features in the Lake Abert-Chewaucan Marsh Basin. Fortunately, the field notes, artifacts, and some photographs from these 1939 tests have been curated for the last fifty years at the Oregon State Museum of Anthropology, University of Oregon, Eugene (stored under Accession No. 61). This material was located and analyzed to provide more data on house pits in the Lake Abert- Chewaucan Marsh Basin as part of a larger research project (Getting 1989). This article is meant to recognize and document the ZX Ranch site excavations.

An Archaeological Perspective on the Historic Settlement Pattern on Santa Cruz Island

This paper introduces new data pertaining to historic village locations and analyzes the quality of data we currently have regarding the distribution of the island's historic population. Use of the terms "Middle," "Late," and "historic" correspond generally with the chronology established by King (1981) for southern California. However, recent analysis of bead and microlith production data, representing two of the specialist products of the Channel Islanders, and a series of 25 new radiocarbon dates from several sites on Santa Cruz Island, together suggest that the onset of the Late Period occurred somewhat later than King had suggested, perhaps by about a century, or at ca. A.D. 1250-1300. That, nonetheless, is a topic explored in depth elsewhere (Arnold 1990a).


Cameron: Archaeological Investigations on the Rancho San Clemente, Orange County, California

Archaeological Investigations on the Rancho San Clemente, Orange County, California. Constance Cameron. Coyote Press Archives of California Prehistory No. 27, 1989, viii + 270 pp., 120 figs, plus tables and appendices, $16.95 (paper).

Brown: A Taxonomic Analysis of Avian Faunal Remains from Three Sites in Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles County, California

A Taxonomic Analysis of Avian Faunal Remains from Three Sites in Marina Del Rey. Los Angeles County, California Joan C. Brown. Coyote Press Archives of California Prehistory No. 30, vii + 71 pp., 8 tables, appendix, 1989, $6.20 (paper).

Hyder: Rock Art and Archaeology in Santa Barbara County, California

Rock Art and Archaeology in Santa Barbara County, California. William D. Hyder. San Luis Obispo County Archaeological Society Occasional Paper No. 13, 1989, 50 pp., 17 figures, 8 tables, no price listed.

Arnold: Craft Specialization in the Prehistoric Channel Islands, California

Craft Specialization in the Prehistoric Channel Islands, California Jeanne E. Arnold. University of California Publications in Anthropology 18, 1987, xvii + 278 pp., 23 tables, 24 figs., bibliography, $26.50 (paper).

Burrill: Ishi: America's Last Stoneage Indian

Ishi: America's Last Stoneage Indian. Richard Burrill. Sacramento: The Anthro Company, 1990, vi + 50 pp., 36 figs., $8.95 (paper).

Dillon and Boxt, eds.: Archaeology of the Three Springs Valley, California: A Study in Functional Cultural History

Archaeology of the Three Springs Valley, California: A Study in Functional Cultural History. Brian D. Dillon and Matthew A. Boxt, eds. Los Angeles: University of California Institute of Archaeology Monograph 30, 1989, 191 pp., 58 figs., 57 tables, $17.50 (paper).