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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 14, Issue 1, 1992

Issue cover


Introduction: The Future of Great Basin Anthropology

The following four papers were originally presented at the plenary session of the 22nd Great Basin Anthropological Conference, held in Reno, Nevada in October of 1990. Speakers addressed the question of what Great Basin anthropologists should be doing in the next 10 years. I asked them to tackle this difficult task because anthropologists today question many of the fundamentals of our field; the "voices" of ethnography, the inferential methods of archaeology, and the relationships between anthropologists and the world's cultures. The authors make some important suggestions about future problems and approaches in Great Basin anthropology. Not everyone will agree with all of the suggestions, but they need to be considered because, like it or not, anthropology will not proceed in the 21st century as it has in the 20th.

Cultural Anthropology and Linguistics in the Great Basin: Some proposals for the 1990s

As noted, it is difficult to say much about the future of cultural anthropology and linguistics in the Great Basin in the 1990s without saying at least something about the past. In other words, what was it (and is it) that ethnologists and linguists have been trying to do, who has contributed to the tasks to date, and what remains to be done? Although there are some recent summaries of data tied to these questions (e.g., D. Fowler 1986; Jacobsen 1986; Miller 1986), they are worth reviewing again.

New Directions? Great Basin Archaeology in the 1990s

In sum, where should Great Basin archaeology be moving in the 1990s? That question is largely answered by the research now underway. Significant substantive and technical advances will certainly result. How these will play, framed as they are by processualism in a discipline recasting its theoretical structure is uncertain. In any case, the 1990s should prove to be a most discomforting but exciting episode.

Archaeological Research in the Context of Cultural Resource Management: Pushing back the 1990s

CRM is a rubric for the body of laws, regulations, and bureaucratic structure that regulates, and to a great extent supports, the practice of archaeology in the United States at the present time. Thus, CRM is not just a context for those who perform contract archaeology, or for those who toil in federal agencies. CRM is a context in which every archeologist who holds a federal, state, or local permit works. The sooner and more widely this is recognized, the sooner we will be able to shape CRM into a better environment for archaeological research.

Archaeology and the Public: Future Directions

When asked to take a retrospective and prospective look at the state of Great Basin archaeology vis-a-vis the public it was clear that the scope and dimensions of such an endeavor could quickly escalate to unmanageable proportions. In this paper, I will focus on what I see as positive efforts that have been employed to include the public in what it is we do and the hurdles we need to overcome to realign our priorities. I then turn to the future and where we ought to think about going in the next decade.

"Women's Money": Types and Distributions of Pine Nut Beads in North California, Southern Oregon, and Northwestern Nevada

The aesthetic trait represented by pine nut beads appears to be centered among the Wintu, Shasta, and Karok. From there it spreads widely across tribal boundaries down the trade routes of the Klamath, Trinity, and Salmon rivers to the Pacific coast, as well as in an eastward direction along the Pit River and on out into the northern Great Basin. Trade, rather than mass population movement, was undoubtedly the means of transmission of pine nut beads in prehistoric times. Since pine nut beads were so often associated with women and their apparel, the movement of women from tribe to tribe may have contributed to its appearance outside the core areas. An expanded trade in goods and the exchange of women through marriage that followed the introduction of the horse in northern California circa A.D. 1800 (Layton 1981) probably influenced some of the spread. Why pine nut trade to the south was inhibited is not as yet understood. It does not seem likely to have been due to competition with clam shell disc beads. Such beads were real money items and thus represented wealth as well as decoration. The best explanation for the limited spread seems to be related to time. The trait had not been around long enough to be accepted by many of the more southerly tribes.

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.

4,000 Years of Human Occupation on Santa Barbara Island, California

Over the years, the authors have been doing background research, survey, data recovery, and collections analysis related to the prehistory of Santa Barbara Island. In this paper, we present radiocarbon dates for six of the prehistoric sites on Santa Barbara Island and discuss the potential antiquity of its initial settlement. First, however, we provide a context for our discussion by summarizing the environmental setting and history of archaeological research on the island. In the following sections, all site designations follow Greenwood's (1978:7-42) trinomial system.

Acorn Exploitation in the Eastern Sierra Nevada

Western Mono consultants identified three functional types of BRMs (starter, finishing, and seed mortars) at BRM sites at Crane Valley in the central Sierra Nevada. McCarthy et al. (1985) found these categories to be statistically significant and concluded that variability in mortar depth could be related to functional differences. Western Mono consultants also indicated that the high frequency of starter mortars across the landscape reflects the ease of manufacturing shallow mortars (H. McCarthy, personal communication 1991). Acorns could be processed without finishing mortars, although starter and finishing mortars were used at locations where acorns were processed in large quantities over a longer period of time. In this paper the categories of mortar types among the Western Mono will be applied to data from Mono County after an examination of archaeological evidence regarding milling tool use in the eastern Sierra Nevada.

Lake and Marsh-Edge Settlements on Malheur Lake, Harney County, Oregon

These surveys were essentially emergency measures with very limited goals. They were implemented to: (1) locate and provide basic documentation for as many newly exposed sites as possible within a limited time; (2) identify, map, and collect artifacts likely to be stolen by relic collectors; and (3) locate, document, and cover or remove exposed human remains. Removing tools and human remains evident on the surface prevented their loss to vandals and at the same time made the sites less attractive to these relic collectors. No subsurface testing was conducted at any of these sites.This paper introduces the reader to the recent hydrologic events at Malheur Lake, summarizes the results of the surveys, and presents some inferences regarding regional chronology and land use prompted by the survey data. These interpretations should be considered working hypotheses to be tested by continuing research in the region.


King: Evolution of Chumash Society, A Comparative Study of Artifacts Used for Social System Maintenance in the Santa Barbara Channel Region before A.D. 1894

Evolution of Chumash Society, A Comparative Study of Artifacts Used for Social System Maintenance in the Santa Barbara Channel Region before A.D. 1894 Chester D. King. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1990, xxiv + 296 pp., 22 tables, 36 figs., 3 maps, 2 graphs, bibliography, 2 appendices, $65.00 (hardbound).