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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 30, Issue 2, 2010


Fray Joaquín Pascual Nuez’s Account of the Mojave River Expedition of 1819

This report provides a new translation of Franciscan Friar Joaquín Pascual Nuez’s diary account of a Spanish military expedition that marched down the Mojave River in 1819 to punish the Mojaves of the lower Colorado River for alleged depredations. The political background to the expedition is brie y discussed, and comments are provided about native places that were visited by the expedition.

Rock Art of Etna Cave, Nevada

Recent field and archival studies of the Etna Cave site (26LN111) in southeastern Nevada have documented the presence of heretofore undescribed rock art, including both pictographs and petroglyphs. Some of these images were previously documented in photographs from Samuel M. Wheeler’s original eldwork at the site in the 1930s, while others are newly discovered or rediscovered images. It is unclear why Wheeler failed to include a description of the pictographs and petroglyphs in his publications on Etna Cave, but the historical photographs con rm the ancient origins of the art and highlight the utility of historical museum records for new studies of even well­known sites.

The Use of Replicative Studies in Understanding the Function of Expedient Tools: The Sandstone Saws of San Nicolas Island, California

Malcolm J. Rogers (1930) described artifacts in his eld notes that he referred to as stone saws. Recent excavations at CA­SNI­25 yielded numerous utilized sandstone artifacts that might very well be the saws noted by Rogers. In this paper, we describe the production, use, and function of these tools and their spatial distribution across the site. Experiments show that these tools were capable of working a variety of materials, including wood, sea mammal bone, and marine shell; however, our study suggests that they were probably used for the manufacture of circular shell shhooks.


The Creation of a Carmeleño Identity:Marriage Practices in the Indian Village at Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Río Carmel

Indigenous peoples from diverse tribelets lived within the Indian village at Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Río Carmel. In precolonial times, California Indians formed identities tied to their tribelets. In the mission, those identities were reproduced as members of this pluralistic community formed a connection with their new place of residence. In this paper, I illustrate how marriage was one arena within which different indigenous peoples at this mission may have created a shared sense of identity. The data suggest that California Indians from different tribelets, which were generally endogamous in precolonial times, extensively intermarried in the mission. As people intermarried across tribelet social boundaries, a new community identity, that of the Carmeleño, may have been created. However, there were variations in this pattern of intermarriage correlating with time, demography, tribelet, and individual circumstances. Furthermore, other documentary evidence suggests that a Carmeleño identity may have been but one of many social identities situationally expressed at Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Río Carmel.

Linguistic Prehistory and the Archaic-Late Transition in the Colorado Desert

Valid links between prehistoric material residues and the languages that were spoken by their creators are notoriously dif cult to establish. Nonetheless, linguistic evidence does set limits on the archaeological scenarios that are tenable concerning prehistoric ethnic stability, displacements, and interactions. In the Colorado Desert, several of the synchronically observed linguistic patterns can plausibly be connected to events that fell within a broadly de ned Archaic­Late transition period (ca. 1,000 B.C. to A.D. 1000). Most likely falling within this period and region were the splits within the Cupan and Serran groups of the Uto­Aztecan family and the Delta­California and River branches of the Yuman family. There are also at least a few hints concerning the geographical directions in which linguistic expansions occurred. In general, linguistic evidence suggests that the region was marked by relatively severe sociocultural instability throughout the late Holocene.

Numic Expansion in the Southern Sierra Nevada

Recent research indicates that late prehistoric Numic expansion onto the western slope of the southern Sierra Nevada was facilitated by a competitive edge held by migrating groups, mainly Great Basin­derived settlement and subsistence behaviors ne­tuned to the uncertainties of living in Little Ice Age mountain environments. But ethnographic, linguistic, and archaeological evidence also suggests widespread borrowing from California cultures and the development of complementary social and economic relationships with California groups. This indicates a negotiated and elastic, rather than an overtly competitive, process of territorial expansion.


Mitchell: California’s First Maritimers

Baltimore: PublishAmerica LLLP, 2008, 89 pp., $16.95 (paper).

ygnacio-De Soto and Johnson: 6 Generations: A Chumash Family’s History

Film based on a script by Ernestine ygnacio-De Soto and John R. Johnson; produced, directed, and photographed by Paul Goldsmith, ASC; John R. Johnson, executive producer. Copyright Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, 2009. Running time: 56 minutes 45 seconds. (Price $18.00, order from Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History,

Jones and Klar: CaliforniaPrehistory: Colonization, Culture, and Complexity

Group, Inc., 2007; xiv + 394 pp., maps, illustrations, tables, bibliography, index; clothbound, $99.95.