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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 19, Issue 1, 1997

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Honey Lake Maidu Ethnogeography of Lassen County, California

Based mainly upon the testimonies of nineteenth and twentieth century Maidu inhabitants of the Honey Lake Valley in Lassen County, California, we present a Maidu perspective on local knowledge, such as where they lived, hunted, gathered, and buried their dead in the prehistoric and early historical periods. Drawing on family tape recordings and interview notes in the possession of the authors, as well as a range of other sources, this article is intended as a contribution to Maidu ethnogeography in the Honey Lake Valley region. While acknowledging that several ethnic groups lived in or near this region in the early historical period, and that boundaries are social constructs that may overlap and about which groups may hold different interpretations, we document a cross-generational Maidu perspective on their territorial range in the remembered past.

Animal Symbolism Among The Numa: Symbolic Analysis of Numic Origin Myths

This article focuses on two creation myths of the Numic hunters and gatherers of the North American Great Basin (i. e., Southern Paiute, Northern Paiute, and Western Shoshoni). Through an analysis of 25 variants of these myths, two major themes, female and male maturation, are expressed. Attention is drawn to the relationship between mythological animal characters and their counterparts in reality. The symbolic analysis of the origin myths illuminates the logically structured, conceptually based, and symbolically expressed system of thought and knowledge of the Numa.

On Late Holocene Variability in Bison Populations in the Northeastern Great Basin

Bison (Bison bison) are believed to have constituted a primary prey of prehistoric populations occupying portions of the northeastern Great Basin. This article presents evidence from archaeological sites along the northeastern shores of the Great Salt Lake that suggests bison populations may have fluctuated through time and become less abundant after A.D. 1300, possibly in response to paleoenvironmental conditions. The localized unpredictability and irregularity of this resource may have resulted in the adoption of flexible hunting strategies involving expansion of diet breadth, logistical trips to areas where bison persisted, and/or trade with neighboring peoples for bison products. These latter strategies were documented among historic populations occupying these areas, and evidence presented herein suggests that these strategies may have been in place by the fourteenth century or possibly earlier.

Animal Ethology Reflected in the Rock Art of Nine Mile Canyon, Utah

This study of the rock art of Nine Mile Canyon, in central eastern Utah, focuses on scenes depicting bighorn sheep and other large game animals, important resources to Great Basin Native American groups. Much of the rock art discussed is thought to have been created by members of the Fremont culture, although some was created by later Numic people. The results of this study suggest that the Native American artists who created the rock art scenes depicting bighorn sheep throughout Nine Mile Canyon had a detailed understanding of bighorn sheep behavior.


Eggshell Cave: A Ceremonial Site in the Western Mojave Desert, California

Excavations at a small cave in the western Mojave Desert revealed a small ceremonial location dating from late prehistoric times where, we believe, a person or persons ingested Amsinckia seeds for their hallucinogenic effect, likely for ritual purposes.

Microwear Analysis of the Lithic Assemblage at the Rosenberger Site

For several decades, microwear analysis has been applied to a variety of flaked stone artifacts. These studies have attempted to ascertain the function of specific flaked stone tools. This study applies microwear analysis to flaked stone artifacts recovered from a burial site in western Idaho. The purpose of this study is to determine if the artifacts recovered from the Rosenberger site (10-PE-29) were burial specific; that is, produced and used for ceremonial purposes only.

The Cico Chert Source on San Miguel Island, California

A major source of high quality chert was recently identified on San Miguel Island, where archaeological sites spanning much of the Holocene contain artifacts of this same material. Some varieties of this translucent chert are macroscopically similar to Santa Cruz Island chert, leading to possible confusion about the origin of some Channel Island lithic assemblages. Preliminary petrographic studies suggest that Cico cherts can be differentiated from Santa Cruz Island cherts microscopically, but additional research is needed to document the variability inherent in both chert types. Although the Chumash appear to have used Cico chert to make microblade drills and shell beads, the extent of such activities has yet to be determined.


Aikens and Jenkins: Archaeological Researchers in the Northern Great Basin: Fort Rock Archaeology Since Cressman

Archaeological Researches in the Northern Great Basin: Fort Rock Archaeology Since Cressman. Edited by C. Melvin Aikens and Dennis L. Jenkins. University of Oregon Anthropological Papers No. 50, 1994, ix + 628 pp., 90 tables, 172 figs, (including 44 maps and 22 graphs), bibliographies, 4 appendices, $25.00 (paper).

Gendar: Grass Games and Moon Races, California Indian Games and Toys

Grass Games and Moon Races, California Indian Games and Toys. Jeannine Gendar. Berkeley: Heyday Books, 1995, 125 pp., 65 black and white photographs and illustrations, $12.95 (paper).

Madsen and Rhode: Across the West: Human Population Movement and the Expansion of the Numa

Across the West: Human Population Movement and the Expansion of the Numa. David B. Madsen and David Rhode, eds. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1994, xi + 255 pp., 37 figs., 15 tables, 18 maps, $51.95 (paper).

Jones and Waugh: Central California Coastal Prehistory: A View from Little Pico Creek

Central California Coastal Prehistory: A View from Little Pico Creek. Terry L. Jones and Georgie Waugh. University of California, Los Angeles, Perspectives in California Archaeology, Vol. 3, 1995, 186 pp., 68 figs., 120 tables, 3 appendices, bibliography, index, $22.00 (paper).

Larsen and Kelly: Bioarchaeology of the Stillwater Marsh: Prehistoric Human Adaptation in the Western Great Basin

Bioarchaeology of the Stillwater Marsh: Prehistoric Human Adaptation in the Western Great Basin. Clark Spencer Larsen and Robert L. Kelly, with contributions by Robert L. Bettinger, Dale L. Hutchinson, Frederika A. Kaestle, Joanna E. Lambert, Becky K. Rolfs, Christopher B. Ruff, Katherine F. Russell, Margaret J. Schoeninger, and David Glenn Smith. American Museum of Natural History Anthropological Papers 77, 1995, 170 pp., 42 figs., 47 tables, 2 appendices, $20.50 (paper).

Fulkerson and Curtis: Weavers of Tradition and Beauty: Basketmakers of the Great Basin

Weavers of Tradition and Beauty: Basketmakers of the Great Basin. Text by Mary Lee Fulkerson, photographs by Kathleen Curtis. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1995, xxiii + 138 pp., 2 maps, 120+ photographs, glossary, bibliography, index, $19.95 (paper).