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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 31, Issue 2, 2011


The Children of Rogers Lake: Knap Time as a Clue to Site Function in the Western Mojave Desert

Learning a craft by trial and error leaves an identi able signature in the material record, one that crosscuts time periods, cultures, and crafts. Novice training is also strongly correlated with speci c non-material variables, including the makeup of the student-teacher population, the location, and the timing of novice training. Based on intrinsic characteristics, an assemblage of projectile points from the western Mojave Desert is attributed to novices learning to knap. Inferences are derived from this assemblage regarding resident site population, the likely season of site occupation, and therefore the likely site function. It is suggested that, no matter the speci c craft, identi cation of novice artisan training areas may provide a valuable clue to hunter-gatherer site demography, seasonality, and resource acquisition.

A Re ned Shell Bead Chronology for Late Holocene Central California

In central California, a sequence of late Holocene cultural phases has long been recognized through the seriation of different shell-bead types. Calendrical dating of this sequence has, however, been in doubt. Based on the direct accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating of 140 stylistically distinct olivella shell beads, we present a re ned late Holocene cultural chronology for central California that replaces Bennyhoff and Hughes’ (1987) Scheme B. This study uses an empirically-derived ∆R value of 260 ± 35 to calibrate marine shell dates, revealing a series of short 125- to 620-year-long shell-bead style horizons from cal A.D. 200 through approximately cal A.D. 1835, following a 1,500-year- long period where little change in shell-bead styles is apparent. The new chronology supports long-recognized shifts in hunter-gatherer culture, and identi es an unexpected delay in the acceptance of bow and arrow technology in lowland central California until cal A.D. 1020 –1265.

Beads and Ornaments from San Diego: Evidence for Exchange Networks in Southern California and the American Southwest

The study of shell artifacts provides important information concerning economic and political ties between Native American groups over time. California Indian groups participated in wide-ranging exchange networks for thousands of years that involved the trading of shell beads and ornaments. Shell beads and ornaments from the San Diego region provide chronological information concerning numerous sites; more importantly, they also contribute to our knowledge of economic and political networks that included the greater Southwest and the Paci c Coast. Our examination of over 23 assemblages from San Diego County documents the frequent use of beads made in both the Santa Barbara Channel region and in the Southwest, as well as the use of locally-produced shell beads.


A Note From The Editor

This issue of the Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology (JCGBA) will mark my rst as editor. It is with great excitement and a deep sense of responsibility that I take over the editorship from Dr. Lynn Gamble. Her leadership over the last six years has allowed JCGBA to thrive and consistently produce top-quality research that highlights the diverse and complex history of California and the Great Basin. My primary goal as editor will be to continue to nurture this tradition. the JCGBA is the only academic publication in the far west that features articles from all four subfields of anthropology—linguistics, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and archaeology. With anthropology departments ssioning around the country due to nancial constraints and philosophical and theoretical differences, I see the Journal as a way to share our research within and across disciplines. When reading the JCGBA manuscripts that cross my desk, I often am reminded that despite the application of very different methods and analytical tools, our discipline is held together because we have much to offer one another, and an understanding of the human condition requires a holistic perspective.


Robert L. Bettinger: Hunter-Gatherer Foraging: Five Simple Models

Clinton Corners, New york: Eliot Werner Publications, Inc., 2009, 111 pp., 20 gures, 42 tables, 8 appendices, $29.50 (paper).

Sean o’Neill: Cultural Contact and Linguistic Relativity among the Indians of Northwestern California

Norman: University of oklahoma Press, 2008 xix + 354 pp., 24 illustrations, $50.00 (cloth)


Fremont Period Shell Trade

This paper reports on and synthesizes what was known, as of 1984, about the conveyance of shell beads during the Fremont Period (ca. A.D. 400 –1300) in the eastern Great Basin. Detailed site-speci c analyses of extant data indicate that the majority of shell beads imported during this time interval came from Southern California.

Archaeological Evidence of Eagles on the California Channel Islands

Historical records show that bald eagles (Haliæetus leucocephalus) once inhabited all eight California Channel Islands. Golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), however, do not appear in historical records as island residents. This study presents results of a search for prehistoric evidence of eagles in archaeological materials excavated from the California Channel Islands, along with brief biographical notes about the archaeologists who found them. Thirteen eagle talons from three islands were found in archeological collections of four institutions and identi ed as to species. Ten talons were from Santa Cruz Island, two were from San Nicolas Island, and one was from Santa Rosa Island, and they proved to be a mix of both bald eagle and golden eagle talons. They were found in materials excavated between 1875 and 1928 by Paul Schumacher, Steven Bowers, David Banks Rogers, George Albert Streeter, and Ronald Leroy Olson. One talon was decorated with asphaltum and olivella shell beads; ve were drilled with a hole for wearing as adornment; seven appeared to be unmodi ed. An eagle talon presence in archaeological remains cannot be assumed to be evidence of prehistoric eagle occupation of these islands, as island dwellers had well-developed trade networks through which talons may have been traded. Additional talons and other eagle remains undoubtedly will be identi ed in the future in faunal remains from Channel Islands archaeological sites.

In Search of a White Bear: An Eccentric Crescent from Sudden Ranch (CA-SBA-208), Northern Santa Barbara County, California

Over the years, there has been considerable interest among archaeologists in the distribution, function, and chronology of chipped stone crescents in California and the western United States. Questions about their chronology and function have yet to be fully resolved, but such crescents are widely considered to be Early Holocene or terminal Pleistocene time markers. More than a thousand crescents have been identified from California archaeological sites, but a relatively small percentage have zoomorphic attributes, including a rare ‘bear-shaped’ specimen now listed as California’s of cial prehistoric artifact. About 20 years ago another bear- shaped crescent in the Lompoc Museum was brought to my attention, a specimen not described in previous syntheses of crescents in California and the Far West. The location of that crescent is now uncertain, but I recently found additional data on the provenience and context of this crescent in two unpublished manuscripts by Clarence Ruth. This rare artifact has an unusual history that sheds light on the development of California archaeology.


The Indian War on Tule River

The following sympathetic and remarkably balanced account of the events that embroiled the settlers and Native Americans living in the San Joaquin Valley in a series of armed confrontations in 1856 originally appeared in the overland Monthly in 1884 (Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 46 – 53). Although the author, George W. Stewart, was not born until 1857, a year after the events that he describes, his long involvement in the community as editor of the Visalia newspaper furnished him with an opportunity to compile a great deal of factual information on the topic from a wide variety of local sources while simultaneously maintaining a certain degree of objectivity. As recent scholarship has demonstrated, the kinds of misunderstandings and cultural biases that Stewart describes here triggered actions that were tragically replicated in many other parts of the state. Stewart was clearly sympathetic toward the local Yokuts people, and wrote a number of papers on their beliefs and customs; he also had a deep interest in the natural resources of the region, and is perhaps best known today for his pivotal role in the creation of Sequoia National Park