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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 5, Issue 2, 1983

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The Roberts Collection of California Indian Photographs: A Brief Review

Some of our most interesting collections of native American photographs are virtually unknown outside the region of their origin. The collection of photographs taken by Mrs. Ruth K. Roberts and now in the Humboldt Room, Library, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California, is an example. The collection consists of 536 images and contains a large number of original negatives of the northern California coast from Crescent City southward to the mouth of the Klamath River. These, together with copy negatives of original photographs collected by Mrs. Roberts, form a remarkable document of Indian life in the region from about World War 1 into the 1950s. Twenty-nine photographs from the collection are shown here. The captions are based on notes originally written by Mrs. Roberts, many of which were made at the close of her life when she suffered greatly from failing eyesight, and include additions by her son, Harry, "whose memory of events some fifty years before was not necessarily very good." Dr. Pilling has continued to investigate the accuracy of these notes and has clarified some (Arnold Pilling, personal communication 1983). All captions are quoted from Pilling (1969).

Disease and Demographic Patterns at Santa Cruz Mission, Alta California

The establishment of Santa Cruz Mission in 1791 in northern Alta California introduced a tragic pattern of high mortality and low birth rates to the Indian community living in the region, which led to a dramatic decline in population levels. Epidemics, respiratory disease, and dysentery exacted a heavy mortality. Missionaries at Santa Cruz baptized 2,321 Indians between 1791 and 1846, but only 557 of these were natal baptisms (i.e., baptisms of children born at the mission), an average of 10 births per year (Santa Cruz Baptismal Register). Continual decline in the mission population forced the missionaries to recruit gentiles (non-Christian Indians) from the coastal mountains north and east of modern-day Watsonville and ultimately from the Central Valley in order to maintain a sufficiently large labor force. The basic pattern described above, the inability of the Indian population to stabilize in the face of high death rates, was not unique to Santa Cruz, but occurred in other mission groupings in northwestern New Spain. To understand the dynamics of Indian depopulation at Santa Cruz Mission, a number of demographic patterns can be examined that document high mortality and its manifestations. To calculate the degree of decline among the local population and population fluctuations, it is necessary to estimate a contact population size for the Santa Cruz area. Furthermore, a discussion of gentile recruitment as related to total mission population sheds further light on the process of demographic change.

Implications of Nutritional Potential of Anadromous Fish Resources of the Western Snake River Plain

The presence of anadromous fish resources in southwestern Idaho provides a major basis for archaeological interpretations of the prehistory of the western Snake River area (see Butler 1978; Favesic 1978; Swanson 1965). These interpretations are based on ethnographic accounts (e.g.. Steward 1938; Liljeblad 1957; Murphy and Murphy 1960) portraying spring/summer and fall salmon runs as the focal point of an otherwise transhumant pattern emphasizing unspecialized plant resource use. Salmonid resources in southern Idaho in this context have been viewed equal to other regionally important Great Basin resources such as pinon (Favesic 1978). Clearly, as indicated by fish weirs along the Middle Snake River (Meatte 1982, 1983; Butler 1983), native populations invested considerable energy in exploitation of fish resources. This emphasis, however, stands in contrast to ethnohistoric accounts of Snake River Shoshoni (Fremont 1887; Steward 1938) who depended heavily on supplies of stored salmon during the winter months. These accounts describe starving aboriginal groups awaiting the first spring salmon, a situation inconsistent with the magnitude of the resource and its ethnohistorically documented exploitation. This raises questions regarding the nutritional value of the resource. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the food potential of salmon for native populations by examining an historic fisheries harvest, calculating its food potential and assessing variables affecting loss of nutritional value.

Basin Religion and Theology: A Comparative Study of Power (Puha)

The Great Basin has been the focus of keen anthropological interest for some time, primarily because the efficient simplicity of societies indigenous to the region reveals much about the persistence, stamina, and ingenuity that people need to survive in a strenuous environment. The major concern of Basin studies has been with ecological theory, but these have all but ignored the traditional ideology that was the basis of native lifeways. Aside from some important contributions to general ethnography, cultural ecology in the Basin has dealt with ecology to the virtual exclusion of culture. Recently, with the possible deployment of the MX missile, the mining of subsurface minerals, and the expansion of energy transmission systems, Basin religious sites have been destroyed or threatened at an alarming rate, much as local food resources were destroyed over a century ago by settlers and livestock (Andrus 1979; Hartigan 1980; Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada 1976a, 1976b, 1976c). For this reason, an overview of Basin religion and theology has been greatly needed, one which treats the published information in a systematic fashion with the cooperation of native peoples. This study is a preliminary step in this direction.

Identification of Avian and Mammalian Species Used in the Manufacture of Bone Whistles Recovered from a San Francisco Bay Area Archaeological Site

The identification of bone artifacts as to species of bird or mammal is often neglected by archaeologists. In this paper we identify bird and mammal species and their skeletal elements as employed in the manufacture of bone whistles associated with early California aboriginal burials. Evidence is presented that the species and bone elements used greatly influenced the whistle-maker in establishing the position of the whistle stop or sound orifice, and that the position of the sound orifice (on center or off center with reference to whistle length) need not have chronological significance in cultural development as formerly believed.

The Effects of Grinding Stone Reuse on the Archaeological Record in the Eastern Great Basin

Archaeologists are aware that many factors change archaeological sites after they have been initially deposited. One kind of post-depositional phenomena that could change the material record is the scavenging and reuse of manos and metates from older sites by the later inhabitants of an area. If this has occurred, even on a limited basis, grinding tools may be disproportionately represented on older sites. In this paper I will argue (1) that the scavenging and reuse of grinding stones by hunter-gatherers should be expected on theoretical grounds under many circumstances and that this behavior has occurred in the Great Basin and elsewhere, and (2) that there is a statistically significant bias in the occurrence of grinding stones toward Late Prehistoric sites in the eastern Great Basin. I will then discuss the consequences of such a pattern for archaeological interpretation of site function.

The Organization of Artifacts, Features, and Activities at Pitas Point: A Coastal Chumash Village

Remains of house structures, refuse heaps, and activity areas within a coastal Chumash village are examined in this paper in order to describe the internal organization at a Late Period archaeological site in southern California. Methods of analysis include visual inspection of the distribution of artifact types and features, contingency tests, and examination of graphs resulting from standardization and other processes. All feature types are described in detail. Then, with the aid of ethnographic analogy and the use of historic records, activity areas are delineated. Activities that occurred within houses are distinguished from those that took place outside houses. In addition, specific activity loci are defined, such as basketmaking areas.

Knowledge about the relationships among artifacts and features within a site is important in understanding the uses of artifacts. The distribution of different artifact types often indicates the locations and types of activities that occurred at a site. Although houses in the Chumash area have been excavated, little is known about the organization of activities within houses. Archaeological evidence from the Pitas Point site, located in the Santa Barbara Channel region, offers an excellent source of data for addressing these problems.

Using the available data, I will attempt to demonstrate that there was a non-random distribution of artifact types at the Pitas Point site. Certain areas excavated are believed to be inside house structures on the basis of stratigraphic evidence. It is proposed that there are expectable differences between the types of artifacts occurring within as opposed to outside these structures. By using simple quantitative statistical techniques, including chi-square tests, this hypothesis will be tested. Once the range of activities performed inside house structures has been determined, features within these structures such as hearths or clusters of tarring pebbles will be identified. Ethnographic and historic data in conjunction with the archaeological record will be used to suggest the types of activities that took place at the site. Other activities described in the ethnographic record undoubtedly occurred at the Pitas Point site, but will not be discussed until more data have been examined.

Demographic Patterns in the Missions of Northern Baja California

The purpose of this essay is to examine basic demographic patterns in four missions in northern Baja California established after 1766 in order to formulate a model useful for explaining the dynamics of Indian depopulation in the Baja California missions and other mission groupings in northern New Spain. An examination of extant sacramental registers of baptisms and burials from San Fernando (est. 1769), Rosario (est. 1774), and Santo Domingo (est. 1775) missions shows the patterns of Indian conversion or incorporation into the mission system as related to the trend of a disappearing Indian population, and the inability of indigenous populations to reproduce in sufficient numbers to offset high mortality. The detailed 1813 census of San Vicente Mission (est. 1780) enables us to examine the demographic state of one mission at a specific point in time. This study in no way attempts to challenge the findings of Meigs (1935) and Aschmann (1959) in their monographs dealing with Baja California, but merely to reinterpret old data and introduce new materials.

Soapstone for the Cosmos: Archaeological Discoveries in the Cuyamaca Mountains

The Cuyamaca Mountains of interior San Diego County are a remote region characterized by a vast diversity of natural and cultural resources. Located 60 km. east of San Diego, and within the ethnographic homeland of the Kumeyaay Indians, the Cuyamacas comprise a major portion of the Peninsular Range. The region is drained by the San Diego and Sweetwater rivers, and ranges in elevation from 1,000 to 2,000 m. above sea level. Local plant communities include well-developed chaparral, grassland meadow, and oak-pine woodland associations.

Surprise Valley Settlement and Subsistence: A Critical Review of the Faunal Evidence

Prehistoric settlement-subsistence patterns within the Great Basin have been characterized as dispersed and restricted patterns (Elston 1982: 189). The dispersed pattern is best represented by Shoshonean groups in the central Great Basin who established several base camps in the course of their seasonal round and might not return to the same winter camp each year because of unpredictable food resources, particularly pinyon nuts. This pattern has been commonly termed the Desert Culture, Desert Archaic, or Shoshonean pattern (Aikens 1970: 200-202; Bettinger 1978a; Jennings 1957, 1964: Jennings and Norbeck 1955; Steward 1938, 1955; Thomas 1971a, 1972, 1983).

A Chronicle of Murphys Rancherica (Mol-Pee-So): An Historic Central Sierra Miwok Village

Murphys Rancheria was located about one mile from the town of Murphys, California, within the territory of the Central Sierra Miwok (Fig. 1). Situated on an exposed ridgetop that received gusty, southwest winds, the site was not an ideal Miwok village setting as described in the ethnographic literature. There was no economically viable water source until 1853 when the North Ditch mining canal was constructed to provide water for the Ora Plata and other mines in the region. It is probable that this Miwok rancheria would never have existed at its recorded location had not whites and other Euroamericans established themselves in the territory in 1848. As it is, occupation at the settlement was brief, probably lasting only fifty years (ca. 1870-1920). By the time the residents began budding their houses at this location they apparently had been on the move for several decades and were then well adapted to Euroamerican technology and lifeways.

This article summarizes the fragmentary notes, unpublished and published literature (including numerous photographs taken of the village during the 1900s), and the most recent studies involving ethnography, archival research, and archaeology at the village (Maniery 1982a). The main goals are to place Murphys in a cultural-historical setting, convey contemporary values and concerns expressed by non-Indians and native Americans over the disposition of the village (site), and to illuminate the importance of concurrently using archaeological, historical, and ethnographic methods to present a more complete picture on the subject.

A Brief History of the San Juan Paiute Indians of Northern Arizona

The San Juan Paiute Indians are a native people who have resided on their present homelands since prehistoric times and maintained their distinctive ethnicity, their language, and their customs despite the fact that their lands have been incorporated into the Navajo Reservation. They are now petitioning for federal acknowledgement under the provisions of the Federal Acknowledgement Act as specified in the Code of Federal Regulations (25CFR54). Documentation demonstrating their "identification as an Indian entity by anthropologists, historians, or other scholars" (25CFR54) has been provided to the San Juan Paiute Indians for submission to the Federal Acknowledgement Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (A. Turner 1983). The law requires the submission of: "a statement of facts establishing that the petitioner has been identified from historical times until the present on a substantially continuous basis, as 'American Indian,' or 'aboriginal'" [25CFR54.7(a)].

The present paper is based on the documentation generated in support of the San Juan Paiute petition. This is not an ethnographic or an ethnohistorical study. It is simply to put on record the historic notations of where the San Juan Paiute were living during the past two hundred years, and the fact that they indeed deserve identification as a recognizable and distinct group of Southern Paiute people.

In brief, the record of observations of Paiute people inhabiting the area south of the San Juan River and east of the Little Colorado is continuous from 1776, when the Spanish Franciscan Fathers Dominguez and Escalante made the first recorded contact, to the present time when several anthropologists are engaged in active research with this group.

The consensus that can be derived from the data is that the San Juan Paiute occupation of the area southeast of the San Juan-Little Colorado confluence far predates that of the Navajo and that the latter migrated to that territory after the 1867 Bosque Redondo incarceration. The antiquity of Paiute occupation was probably as early as A.D. 1300.

Casual Artifacts in Northern San Deigo County, California: The Hammergrinder

Artifact collections made as part of surveys conducted in northern San Diego County during the late 1940s and early 1950s included hammer-like implements characterized by batter and evidence of wear. Such artifacts were typically irregular in form, seemingly lacked evidence of purposeful shaping, and for lack of a better designation, were termed hammergrinders. Some kind of undefined multi-purpose function was assumed (Warren, True, and Eudey 1961: 17). At the time such artifacts were not given a great deal of consideration, and the only real concern was that they were cultural and that their critical identifying attributes were the not always obvious wear facets on one or more surfaces.

Unfortunately, in the years since 1961, no systematic treatment of this artifact has been proposed or published, and they are seldom mentioned in regional reports. Reasons for this lack of mention and/or reporting are uncertain but several possibilities come to mind: 1. It may be the case that they are not being recognized. This is especially likely (possible) when they are made of local rock with minimal evidence of cultural modification; 2. In other cases it may be that specimens fitting this category have been recognized as artifacts and collected, but were placed in a hammerstone category without further comment; 3. In a few cases (probably rare) such artifacts were collected and categorized as incipient manos or rubbing stones; 4. It may be that people working in the larger area are actually collecting these implements and simply prefer not to use the term hammergrinder.

It is not the purpose of this paper to argue for any particular name, and it does not matter what the artifacts are called. It does matter if they are not considered in the overall assessment of the local and regional prehistory. Fig. 1 shows the location of the study region.

The California Collection of I. G. Voznesensky and the Problems of Ancient Cultural Connections Between Asia and America

It is hard to form an idea of the spiritual culture of the most ancient Californians without going deep into California prehistory, and without broad parallels with phenomena of similar character for other peoples of the world. In our view, the genesis of native California religious thought, particularly for the inhabitants of the northern and central part of the state, developed in the same way as the religious views of other peoples of the world, e.g., the peoples of Siberia, North Asia, and also the islands of the South Seas. From a scientific point of view, perhaps the most trustworthy and valuable facts which can allow one to reconstruct religious views and mythology for these early Californians are those presented in the sciences of archaeology and ethnography.


Intermarriage at Fort Ross: Evidence From the San Rafael Mission Baptismal Register

In 1812, Ivan Aleksandovich Kuskov, representative of the Russian-American Company, established a fort north of the Slavianka [Russian] River. In the long run, the desire to establish a productive agricultural colony to supply Russian settlements in Alaska failed, but for 29 years (1812-1841) a unique experiment in acculturation occurred at the fort and surrounding settlements (Tikhmenev 1978: 133-142, 224-233).

A Maidu Acorn Dough Carrier

Among the collections of the State of California, Department of Parks and Recreation in Sacramento, is a Maidu acorn dough carrier (Fig. 1). A disposable container used by the Konkow Maidu to transport leached acorn dough, it may well be the sole surviving example of its kind collected at the turn of the century. Its complete description in the State catalog (No. MCS-369-3-SP) record reads "Bread Basket. Maidu. 3 x 11 in. Chico (?)." The "basket" was included in the large collection of James McCord Stilson, an avid collector of Indian artifacts who lived in the city of Chico. The entire collection was purchased by the State of California sometime around 1930. Stilson was apparently well acquainted with the Indian people of the local Chico Rancheria, and his collection included artifacts from local Maidu as well as many other western North American groups (Bruce Bernstein, personal communication 1982).

A Shaman's "Sucking Tube" from San Diego County, California

A widely held disease concept among the Indians of western North America was that illness could be caused by the lodging of a physical object in the body due to witchcraft or accident (Jorgensen 1980:285, 568). Correspondingly, a shaman could restore health by removal of the object. While variations existed from culture to culture and even from shaman to shaman, typically the operation involved manipulating the patient's body, blowing air or tobacco smoke over it, letting out a small amount of real or pretend blood from the site of the "pain," and finally removing the intrusive object by sucking with the mouth directly or with a tube. The curing process usually culminated with the shaman showing the patient and spectators the foreign object as proof of its extraction. Such objects were generally small enough to fit into the mouth or closed hand of the shaman so that they could be hidden until the appropriate time for their presentation. The objects often were overtly mundane things such as sticks, rocks, small reptiles, insects, or worms. However, even inanimate objects were generally thought of as being more or less animate things under supernatural control (Kroeber 1925:855; Jorgensen 1980:285).

An Early Incised Stone from Danger Cave, Utah

While reanalyzing the faunal remains from Danger Cave (42TO13) in northwestern Utah, I was surprised to find an incised stone among the bones. The provenience of the artifact indicates it was recovered from Feature 26, Level III. This level has been radiocarbon dated between 5150 B.C. and 4620 B.C. (Marwitt and Fry 1973: 3; Jennings 1978: Fig. 16). Only one other incised stone (of unknown provenience) has been reported from the cave (Jennings 1957: 219). Since the present artifact is considerably earlier than most incised stones from the Great Basin, it deserves a description and comparison with other such artifacts from the region.

Slicks in the San Luiseño Area

Although I have not seen the slicks described by True and Waugh (1981:84-115), a notable slick exists on a vertical rock face near the north end of Rincon Reservation which I will describe.

Radiocarbon Determinations from the Frey Creek Drainage in Northern San Diego County

Recent radiocarbon age determinations (see Fig. 1) allow a reexamination of the suggested age of the San Luis Rey assemblages. When C. W. Meighan defined the San Luis Rey Complex as a local manifestation of the late prehistoric occupancy in northern San Diego County, neither the geographic (territorial) nor the temporal boundaries of this tentative cultural unit were clear (Meighan 1954). Based on the condition of the midden and a number of artifactual traits, a temporal span of A.D. 1400 to 1750 was proposed for the non-pottery component (San Luis Rey 1), and since pottery was conspicuous by its absence in the "type site" excavations, it was suggested that this complex also dated the arrival of ceramics into this particular region. A tentative date of A.D. 1750 for the terminal end of the pre-pottery phase, of course, meant that San Luis Rey II (whatever that represented) had to be fitted into the very limited temporal slot extending from A.D. 1750 to somewhat before 1850. Using mission secularization as the approximate time for the demise of a functional prehistoric lifeway, San Luis Rey II would indeed have had a short duration.

A Note Concerning the Archaeology of Annadel State Park

The recent DPR investigations have been directed toward a better understanding of the Annadel prehistoric archaeological record. One goal of this work has been to delineate the boundaries of the park's primary obsidian source (i.e., the "Annadel" source). Special attention has also been given to x-ray fluorescence spectrography and obsidian hydration studies. These studies have helped to better illustrate the chemical variability of the local obsidian, and to better define the local chronological sequence (Origer 1982; Origer and Wickstrom 1982). Perhaps the most interesting survey finding has been the tentative identification of a previously undetected obsidian source occurring within and adjacent to the park. This paper is a brief discussion of these recent findings.

Yaa?vya's Poro: The Singular Power Object of a Chemehuevi Shaman

During the winter of 1980-81, the Sierra Caves Task Force of the National Speleological Society was studying cavern development in the vicinity of the Providence Mountains, San Bernardino County, California. On the second day of the expedition George Luteran, a member of the task force, left camp early in the morning to investigate some of the shelter caves in the immediate vicinity. While examining one of the shelters, Luteran noted a carved wooden stick hidden in the nest of a pack rat (Neotoma lepida). Having read Carobeth Laird's The Chemehuevis (1976), Luteran immediately recognized that the object resembled the ethnographer's description of a Chemehuevi shaman's poro. The Bureau of Land Management was contacted, and on January 14, 1981, the author visited the shelter with Luteran and others.


Lee: The Portable Cosmos: Effigies, Ornaments, and Incised Stone from the Chumash Area

The Chumash of the Santa Barbara Channel region have long been famous for their pictographic rock art (Grant 1965; Heizer and Clewlow 1973), but they were also producers of numerous examples of portable art—what French prehistorians would describe as art mobilier. The designs used conveyed ritual and social information, and reflected the world view of the Chumash. Georgia Lee, a noted expert on Chumash art (Lee 1977), has both an anthropological and professional artistic background. Most recently, she has been conducting research on the rock art of Easter Island. She combines her extensive knowledge and practical experience with a lucid and stimulating writing style.

Jurmain: The Skeletal Biology of CA-ALA-342

The Skeletal Biology of CA-ALA-342. Robert Jurmain, editor. Salinas: Coyote Press, 1983, $5.00 (paper).

Canfield: Sarah Winnemucca of the Northern Paiutes

Sarah Winnemucca of the Northern Paiutes. Gae Whitney Canfield. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1983, 306 pp., index, bibliography, notes, 39 illustrations, 20 maps, $19.95 (cloth).

Bickel: San Francisco Bay Archaeology: Sites Ala-328, Ala-13, and Ala-12

San Francisco Bay Archaeology: Sites Ala- 328, Ala-13, and Ala-12. Polly McW. Bickel. Berkeley: University of California Archaeological Research Facility Contributions No. 43, 1981, 375 pp., 12 plates, 11 maps, 112 tables (paper).

Caldwell: Rock Art Treasures of Ancient America: The California Collection

Rock Art Treasures of Ancient America: The California Collection. Dave Caldwell, producer. Hayward: Dave Caldwell Productions, Inc. Videotape, 25 min., $495.00 plus tax and shipping.

Hedges, ed.: Rock Art Papers Volume I

Rock Art Papers Volume I. Ken Hedges, editor. San Diego: San Diego Museum Papers No. 16, 1983, 104 pp., 94 illustrations, $10.95 (paper).

Meighan, ed.: Messages from the Past: Studies in California Rock Art

Messages from the Past: Studies in California Rock Art. Clement W. Meighan, editor. Los Angeles: University of California Institute of Archaeology Monograph No. 20, 1981, 185 pp., includes 63 pp. of black-and-white and color illustrations and photographs, $9.50 (paper).

Evans-Wentz: Cuchama and Sacred Mountains

Cuchama and Sacred Mountains. W. Y. Evans-Wentz. Frank Waters and Charles L. Adams, editors, Chicago: University of Ohio Swallow Press, 1981, 196 pp., $22.95 (cloth).

Train, Henrichs, and Archer: Medicinal Uses of Plants by Indian Tribes of Nevada

Medicinal Uses of Plants by Indian Tribes of Nevada. Percy Train. James R. Henrichs. and W. Andrew Archer. Lawrence, Massachusetts: Quarterman Publications, Inc. Reproduction of revised edition of 1957, 139 pp., $25.00 (cloth).

Pendleton and Thomas: The Fort Sage Drift Fence, Washoe County, Nevada

The Fort Sage Drift Fence, Washoe County, Nevada. Lorann S. A. Pendleton and David Hurst Thomas. New York: American Museum of Natural History Anthropological Papers. Vol. 58: Part 2, 1983.

Madsen and O'Connell, eds.: Man and Environment in the Great Basin

Man and Environment in the Great Basin. David B. Madsen and James F. O’Connell, eds. Society for American Archaeology Papers No. 2, 1982, 242pp., SAA members $10.95, nonmembers $14.95 (paper).