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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 24, Issue 2, 2004

Issue cover


Archaeological Discovery Of Two Wooden Bows From The Goso Range, Inyo County, California

Archaeological survey within the Coso Mountains resulted in the discovery of two wooden bows. The artifacts were cached in a rock crevice, and appear to represent sinew-backed, reflexed bows commonly used by Native peoples throughout much of the Great Basin. Due to rapid declines in the use of bow-and-arrow technology brought about by the introduction of guns during the historic period, ethnographic specimens and accounts of how bows were made and used are quite rare. Moreover, it appears that the Coso bows represent the only complete or near-complete examples ever recovered from an archaeological context in southern California and the western Great Basin.

More Than Meets the Eye: Fluorescence Photography for Enhanced Analysis of Pictographs

The study of rock art has traditionally focused on the analyses of style and technique rather than of materials and technology, in part because it is often considered undesirable to remove pigment samples for laboratory analysis. Pictographs and petroglyphs, more than many other potentially diagnostic artifacts, are often seen as one of a kind, finite resources that need to be spared from even the minimal damage caused by procedures such as X-ray fluorescence and radiocarbon dating. As such, only a limited amount of data have been generated in the last twenty years that deal with the technology involved in the manufacture of rock art. However, recent advances in photography-based procedures involving digital image enhancement (Clogg et al. 2000) and multispectral imaging (Kamal et al. 1999) have successfully highlighted the possibilities of using non-conventional photographic techniques as in situ methods of analysis, and are currently supplying new information about aboriginal pigment and stone working technologies to the field of rock art studies. As will be shown below, ultraviolet fluorescence photography also warrants consideration as a non-destructive, on-site procedure that can yield valuable data for rock art pigment recording and analysis.

Small Mammal Procurement in Coastal Contexts: A California Perspective

Faunal remains from two sites spanning the Middle and Late Holocene (8,000-300 BP) in central California show a decline in small mammal, primarily rabbit, procurement through time, despite groining human populations and intensification of a number of other resources. Models derived from optimal foraging theory and a broader subsistence approach are used to investigate the role rabbits played within the context of human population increase, emerging long-distance and intensified local exchange, and developing socio-political complexity. The models suggest that the best explanation of the identified faunal pattern is a change in patch choice with a concurrent shift to sea otter pelts as exchange items. Models based on optimal foraging theory need to consider the non-dietary value of certain resources to better understand faunal assemblages from archaeological sites.

The Death of Superintendent Stanley and the Cahuilla Uprising of 1907-1912

This essay documents the death of superintendent William Stanley during a melee at the Cahuilla Reservation in 1912 as a by-product of the Indians' non-negotiable demand for self-determination. Clashes between Indian Agency superintendents and reservation leaders ("captains") occurred at Morongo, Los Coyotes, Soboba, Mesa Grande, Campo, and other reservations in the Southern California Mission Indian Agency in the decade before World War I. Resilient, long-standing institutions like the fiesta and the captain system were viewed by the superintendents and their superiors in Washington, D.C. as blocking economic and moral progress. The struggle over political authority reflected broadbased disillusionment and frustration, and the desire to be free of Indian Agency interference. Primary grievances were the federal agency's failure to define boundaries and to provide permanent title to Southern California Indian lands. When the Mission Indian Federation formed in 1919, there had been more than a decade of concerted political activism regarding home rule in Southern California.

The Late Prehistoric Coastal Orange County Hokan Hypothesis: A Commentary

Cottrell's doctoral dissertation (1991) proposes that Hokan speakers occupied an approximately 20 km wide coastal strip in southern Orange County at the time of Spanish contact. According to this hypothesis, Shoshonean or Takic speakers were restricted to an inland territory that ended 20 km short of the Pacific coastline. If accurate, this "Hokan hypothesis" would necessitate a major rewrite of regional prehistory. Most archaeologists accept Kroeber's "Shoshonean wedge" model which states that immigrating Takic speakers reached the Pacific coast hundreds of years prior to Spanish contact. This critique shows that several crucial ethnohistoric and ethnographic observations of culture and language were not adequately considered in Cottrell's dissertation (1991), and that there are apparent misreads, misinterpretations, and misuses of archaeological and other kinds of data, as well as a general pattern of confirmation bias. The "Hokan hypothesis" is unsupportable.


A Unique Artifact Type From Rancho Attilio, Ventura County

An unusual and previously unreported artifact type was discovered during mitigation-mandated monitoring on 67 acres of Rancho Attilio. In 1987, Wittenberg-Livingston, developers from Newport Beach, California, purchased 117 acres of Rancho Attilio, a citrus and avocado ranch located in the Saticoy area of Ventura County's City of San Buenaventura. Portions of this property were originally acquired in 1886 by Baptista Vanoni, and over the years, the family continued to add to their holdings.

Divine Children

The draft of this brief discussion of one aspect of Chemehuevi myth was recently discovered by Margaret Laird in some of her mother's papers. It covers some (though not all) of the same material discussed in Chapter 18 of Laird's Mirror and Pattern: George Laird's World of Chemehuevi Mythology (Malki Museum Press, 1984), but from a somewhat different perspective. We can only speculate as to why it was not included in the larger work. It has been lightly edited.

Style, Context, and Chronology of a Wooden Canoe Model from Santa Rosa Island, California

In the Americas, indirect evidence of watercraft has recently been extended to roughly 13,000 to 11,000 calendar years ago (Erlandson 2002; Erlandson et al. 1996; Johnson et al. 2002). It remains unclear, however, what types of watercraft early peoples used and how these relate to boats described in ethnohistoric and ethnographic sources. North American coastal peoples used a variety of boats, including dugout and plank canoes, tule rafts, and skin boats (Gould 2000; Hudson and Blackburn 1982).


Fagan: The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850

The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. Brian Fagan. New York: Basic Books, 2000, 246 pp., $26.00 (hardcover).

Dozier: The Heart is Fire: The World of the Cahuilla Indians of Southern California

The Heart is Fire: The World of the Gahuilla Indians of Southern California Deborah Dozier. Berkeley: Heyday Books, 1998,169 pp., $16.00.

Lightfoot: Indians, Missionaries, and Merchants: The Legacy of Colonial Encounters

Indians, Missionaries, and Merchants: The Legacy of Colonial Encounters on the California Frontiers Kent G. Lightfoot. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005, 338 pp., $45.00 (cloth).