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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 7, Issue 1, 1985

Issue cover


Memorial to Carobeth Laird (1895-1983)

Carobeth Laird died on August 5, 1983. Her death was not unanticipated—she had been seriously ill for a very long time—but her strong will and enormous personal power had enabled Carobeth not only to live to the age of 88 but also to produce significant scholarly works during her final years. Her strength was enhanced by an outpouring of support from family, friends, and colleagues. Since she had started publishing nearly a decade before her death, Carobeth had acquired many professional colleagues—anthropologists, linguists, and friends. She left a body of scholarly work that could be the envy of any professional anthropologist.


Drought During California's Mission Period, 1769-1834

In this article, Spanish narrative material and mission harvest data are evaluated as source materials for historic drought analysis, then a more objective drought chronology drawn from southern California tree rings is offered. After presentation of these data, the paper concludes with a discussion of research themes in mission human ecology linked with drought. The article begins with a brief review of drought definitions, attributes of precipitation variability in the historic mission lands, then moves into a discussion of how this variability might be expressed in the Franciscan narratives.

Archaeological Investigations at Lake Berryessa, California: Berryessa II

Although data collection and analysis are far from complete, initial results suggest that there is significant patterning in the artifact distributions thus far compiled. As a tentative hypothesis, therefore, it is proposed that in the extant artifact distributions there is evidence for a hierarchical use of space related to: (1) terrain; (2) distance from primary water sources; and (3) probable locational differentials in the kinds and quantities of subsistence resources available for exploitation.

Navajo Settlement and Architecture in Southeastern California

This article describes several Navajo structures in the Mojave Desert in terms of their architecture and ethnohistoric function. Documentation is also provided regarding the nature of general Navajo settlement patterns in southeastern California.

The Significance of Small Sites to California Archaeology

These examples of the research potential of small sites in two neighboring regions of coastal California should drive home the point that small sites turn out to have considerable relevance to regional research once the commitment is made to understand their role in regionally based cultural systems. Small sites such as CA-SBA-1582 are significant to regional research because of their unique contents, whereas the small sites in northern Vandenberg Air Force Base are so because of the patterns of variation in their contents and their spatial relationships to one another. In both cases, the testing of behavioral hypotheses accounting for their contents must rely on knowledge of their distribution and abundance and their relationships with large sites.

Kuuchamaa: The Kumeyaay Sacred Mountain

While over the years I have been able to reconstruct a few portions of the Kumeyaay religious beliefs, the occasion for discussing my fragmentary reconstruction had not occurred. To discuss these matters under ordinary circumstances would be to cause someone's death. Thus, passage of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Native American Religious Freedom Act, which provided the opportunity to protect the sacred mountain, Kuuchamaa, presented the opportunity opportunity to develop a more complete and correct understanding of the moralistic and mystical philosophy of the Kumeyaay religion. Further, the Kumeyaay elders, having become aware of the published descriptions of their society and their religion and desiring that more correct information be presented, have asked that this material be published.

Alternative Approaches to the Shasta Complex and Adjacent Expressions: Assemblages, Cultural Ecology, and Taxonomies

Commenting on the rapidly changing archaeological perspectives of the Shasta Complex and neighboring late prehistoric assemblages in northern California, Jerald Johnson observed aptly that "considerable turmoil currently exists in the north-central part of the state in terms — not only of what terminology ought to be used — but also of what the different archaeological expressions represent" (J. Johnson and Theodoratus 1984: 190). It was also recently noted (Raven et al. 1984: 20) that the Shasta Complex concept, as first introduced by Meighan (1955), endured for nearly three decades before being seriously challenged. Not unexpectedly, as it now stands, the original concept may be so broadly defined as to obscure growing evidence of late prehistoric spatial and temporal cultural variability in the general region (J. Johnson and Theodoratus 1984: 187; Raven et al. 1984: 20). Current impressions of the Shasta Complex are, to a large extent, the result of an emphasis on reconstructing prehistoric adaptive strategies and cultural ecology in the region. The goal of this paper is to clarify notions about the Shasta Complex and adjacent prehistoric cultural expressions so that substitutions of one set of taxonomic and conceptual shortcomings for another might be avoided.

A Stone Alignment in the Northern Great Basin with a (Probably) Coincidental Astronomical Orientation

I would apologize for the frankly agnostic tone of this paper did I not believe that the limitations of the data strongly support agnosticism and that a more assertive statement now would likely demand greater apology in the future. Since such figures are only beginning to be recorded adequately in the northern Great Basin, and since rumor has it (somewhat more confidently than the published literature) that the data bank will bulk fairly large, it seems enough to have brought this single example to attention. I urge strongly, however, that such figures discovered or reported in the future be examined for astronomical, geographic, or ethnographic referents, and that the coordinates and bearings of all possible alignments be recorded with as much metric precision as possible before the cows and the dune buggies and the attrition commanded by natural forces erase them. The history of petroglyph studies offers probably adequate proof that the data bank will never grow large enough for the facts to speak for themselves, but the much smaller data bank on large, complex stone alignments barely enables us at present to ask any questions that are at once both interesting and answerable.


The Little Ice Age and Coastal Southern California Human Economy

We are interested in determining the magnitude of cooling in coastal southern California during the Little Ice Age, since the regional archaeological record does not appear to indicate major subsistence disruption among indigenous hunter-gatherer populations at that time. Koerper (1981), in fact, interpreted available prehistoric settlement data as showing generally increasing sedentism throughout the Holocene along the coast with no suggestion of late period deviation from this trend.

Early Holocene Settlement and Subsistence in Relation to Coastal Paleogeography: Evidence from CA-SBA-1807

This brief paper summarizes current knowledge of CA-SBA-1807 and discusses implications of the data for understanding the prehistory of the Santa Barbara Channel and other Early Period coastal sites of southern and central California.

Fish Remains from an "Open" Archaeological Site in the Fort Rock Basin, South-Central Oregon

This report presents results of test excavations at 35LK1016, an open archaeological site in Fort Rock Basin on the northwestern margin of the Great Basin. Found below the surface at the site, in association with chipped and ground stone tools and debitage, were substantial quantities of fish bone and other faunal remains. This collection of fish bone is the largest yet reported from an archaeological site in Fort Rock Basin. The findings made at 35LK1016 provide an example of the scientific potential of open sites in the Great Basin.

Acquisition Costs and Nutritional Data on Great Basin Resources

As part of an earlier study (Simms 1984), data on the costs and benefits of obtaining native food resources in the Great Basin were generated for use in foraging models developed from evolutionary ecology. Portions of these data are presented here for the benefit of researchers interested in the acquisition costs and nutrition of wild foods.

Changing Shellfish Exploitation in San Luis Obispo County, California

Analysis of shellfish remains from two sites in the Lodge Hill subdivision near Cambria, California (Fig. 1), suggests that a major change in mollusc exploitation may have occurred there prior to the Middle Period (1400 B.C. to A.D. 1150 [King 1981]). Specifically, by the end of the Early Period (7200- 1400 B.C. [King 1981]) there was a pronounced shift from the intensive exploitation of Mytilus californianus to the exploitation of a more diverse molluscan assemblage consisting primarily of Tegula funebralis, limpets, and chitons. This change might have been a result of overexploitation of the Mytilus sp. population, but it also may indicate a change in local environmental conditions due to rising sea level and shore cliff erosion.


Observations on the Review of Archaeological Investigations in the Sacramento River Canyon

Henn's (1984) interesting review underscores one of the hazards of impatience: the audience that expects the prelude to subsume the fugue always risks disappointment. Henn's disappointment with our work in the Sacramento River Canyon springs in part from his failure to distinguish some important stages in the conduct of inquiry, and he is led, at our disadvantage, to review our achievement of goals to which we did not aspire.


Baumhoff and Orlins: An Archaeological Assay on Dry Creek, Sonoma County, California

An Archaeological Assay on Dry Creek, Sonoma County, California.Martin A. Baumhoff and Robert I. Orlins. Berkeley: University of California Archaeological Research Facility Contributions No. 40, 1979, 244 pp., 30 figs., 30 maps, index, 3 appendices, $8.00 (paper).'

Kaldenberg: Rancho Park North: A San Dieguito - La Jollan Shellfish Processing Site in Coastal Southern California

Rancho Park North: A San Dieguito - La Jollan Shellfish Processing Site in Coastal Southern California.Russell L. Kaldenberg. El Centro: Imperial Valley College Museum Society Occasional Paper No. 6, 1982, 216 pp., 50 figs., 37 tables (paper).

Johnson and Theodoratus: Cottonwood Creek Project, Shasta and Tehama Counties, California: Dutch Gulch Lake Intensive Cultural Resources Survey; and Johnson and Theodoratus: Cottonwood Creek Project, Shasta and Tehama Counties, California: Tehama Lake Intensive Cultural Resources Survey

Cottonwood Creek Project. Shasta and Tehama Counties, California: Dutch Gulch Lake Intensive Cultural Resources Suney.Jerald J. Johnson and Dorothea J Theodoratus. Sacramento: U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1984, 460 pp., 33 figs., 21 plates, 51 maps, 45 tables, bibliography, gratis (paper). Cottonwood Creek Project, Shasta and Tehama Counties. California: Tehama Lake Intensive Cultural Resources Survey. Jerald J. Johnson and Dorothea J Theodoratus. Sacramento; U, S, Army Corps of Engineers, 1984, 228 pp., 3 figs., 11 plates, 14 maps, 32 tables, bibliography, gratis (paper).

Fields and Toms: The Hover Collection of Karuk Baskets

The Hover Collection of Karuk Baskets.Virginia M. Fields, text; James D. Toms, photographs. Clarke Memorial Museum, 240 E Street, Eureka, California 95501, 1985. $21.00 (paper).