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

Volume 21, Issue 1, 1999

Issue cover


Franklin Fenenga and California Archaeology

Franklin Fenenga died suddenly on April 7, 1994, of pneumonia. Shortly before, ha had learned that he had inoperable lung cancer and only a relatively short time to live. His death ended a long and noteworthy career of research into California's archaeological past.


Indian Names and Naming Practices in the Sierra Nevada Foothills

The linguistically classified Yokoch, Mono, and Miwok Indian people of the central-southern Sierra Nevada foothills are known for their large and widespread aboriginal population, their sizable and active contemporary population, their association with Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, and their outstanding basketry traditions that are world-renowned. A study comparison of their traditional and postcontact naming practices and names revealed that the source and nature of cultural change in their case was northern Euroamerican hegemony.

Archaeology in the Forgotten Peninsula: Prehistoric Settlement and Subsistence Strategies in Northern Baja California

The preliminary data suggest that the settlement pattern in the Rio Rosario Valley was extremely mobile and dispersed, and not semisedentary and concentrated as the mission documents suggest. The high level of settlement mobility and low levels of population aggregation are indicated by various lines of archaeological evidence, and a hypothesis is advanced linking the impermanence of settlement to limits in terrestrial resources, particularly the local staple plant food, the coastal agave (Agave shawii). This raises issues regarding the role of marine and terrestrial resources in prehistoric coastal adaptations, not only on the Pacific coast of Baja California but in southern Alta California and elsewhere.

Measurement of Population Growth and Decline During California Prehistory

The distribution through time of radiocarbon dates is an important source of information about regional population fluctuation. However, a number of factors affecting distributional patterns must be considered when inferring changes in relative population size. Because these factors often are difficult to control, fluctuation in a date distribution is best considered a source of hypotheses about population growth and decline that should be tested against other sources of data. Three date distributions pertaining to the Santa Barbara Channel mainland coast, the northern Channel Islands, and the Vandenberg region exemplify the potential of this approach. These areas show similarities that may be linked to the impact of environmental events affecting broad geographic areas, as well as to differences that appear to reflect the impact of differing environments on cultural development. Future use of radiocarbon date distributions will be enhanced if archaeologists make every effort to obtain dates for every site investigated, take greater care in selecting samples, and report dating results in a systematic format.

The Milling Stone Horizon Revisited: New Perspectives from Northern and Central California

For nearly half a century, the Milling Stone Horizon has been recognized as an integral element of California culture history, but representative components have long been thought to be restricted to the southern portion of the state. Claims to the contrary by D. L. True and a few of his students for the presence of Milling Stone Horizon manifestations further north have not been fully embraced due to inadequate dating and poor component resolution. In this article, we reassess the previously scanty evidence for a Milling Stone Horizon presence in northern California, and review data from nine recently investigated sites that have yielded strong evidence for the Milling Stone Culture in Early-Middle Holocene contexts north of southern California.


Prehistoric Exploitation of Albatross on the Southern California Channel Islands

Archaeological excavations in coastal California and on the offshore Channel Islands customarily produce scant evidence of the prehistoric presence or cultural use of the three species of albatross that visit the area. However, recent investigations on San Clemente Island reveal dense concentrations of two species of albatross that are dated to a narrow Middle Holocene time period. At nearby San Nicolas Island, a similar concentration of the same two species was dated later in the Holocene. This report describes these unique avian archaeofaunas and suggests that concentrations of the remains of these birds in an area where they are rarely recovered may reflect attempts by immigrant birds to colonize the Channel Islands. The vulnerability of breeding albatrosses to intense predation by early hunter-gatherers is also discussed.

Archaeological Investigations at Tucker Hill, Lake County, Oregon

Tucker Hill is located in the Lake Abert- Chewaucan Marsh Basin in Lake County, Oregon. In 1995, as part of the requirements associated with the permitting process for a mining company to conduct a perlite quarrying operation, the authors conducted a cultural resources inventory of the upper slopes and top of Tucker Hill (Hutchins 1995), as well as a program of archaeological testing for 13 sites located on and around Tucker Hill (Hutchins et al. 1996). Evidence derived from archaeological survey and site testing provided what the authors believe to be a representative view of the types of sites occurring on the Tucker Hill landform. Studies of lowland sites in the Lake Abert-Chewaucan Marsh Basin have been conducted by Oetting and Pettigrew (1985, 1987), Pettigrew (1985), and Oetting (1988, 1989,1990a, 1990b), but this investigation of Tucker Hill is one of very few archaeological studies of upland sites in this vicinity.

Petroglyph Manufacture by Indirect Percussion: The Potential Occurrence of Tools and Debitage in Datable Context

Petroglyph manufacture probably often involved indirect percussion, especially for carefully made lines and edges of larger figures. Experimental replication shows that during indirect percussion, debitage is produced from the chisel-stone that should be recoverable in archaeological context at rock art sites. Following experiments that demonstrated how the debitage is produced, this report describes its characteristic shape and provides suggestions as to what sorts of contexts might contain this evidence.

Reflections on the United States National Museum-Gates Expeditions to the American Southwest, 1901 and 1905

American archaeology has reached a level of intellectual maturity which allows the study and analysis of its development. While most studies have stressed the growth of the discipline, few have emphasized the socio-historical context or the motivations of the individuals involved. The United States National Museum- Gates Southwest expeditions serve as a focus of these historical variables, and this report discusses community lifestyle, expedition participants, and financial agreements to clarify the organization and success of the endeavor.


Lightfoot et al., eds.: The Native Alaskan Neighborhood: A Midtiethnic Community at Colony Ross. The Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Fort Ross, California, Volume 2

The Native Alaskan Neighborhood: A Multiethnic Community at Colony Ross. The Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Fort Ross, California, Volume 2. Kent G. Lightfoot, Ann M. Schiff, and Thomas A. Wake, eds. Berkeley: Contributions of the University of California Archaeological Research Facility, No. 55, 1997, 429 pp., 191 figs., 10 plates, 74 tables, 3 microfiches, 29 appendices, $35.00 (paper).

Benson: The Noontide Sun: The Field Journals of the Reverend Stephen Bowers, Pioneer California Archaeologist

The Noontide Sun: The Field Journals of the Reverend Stephen Bowers, Pioneer California Archaeologist. Arlane Benson. Ballana Press Anthropological Papers No. 44, 1997, xiii -I- 288 pp., 57 figs., 2 tables, 2 appendices, references, index, $36.00 (hard cover).

Mason: The Census of 1790: A Demographic History of Colonial California

The Census of 1790: A Demographic History of Colonial California. William Marvin Mason. Ballena Press Anthropological Pliers No. 45, 1998, vi -I- 133 pp., 11 figs., 9 maps, $29.95 (hardcover), $19.95 (paper).