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Rick T.C.,Smithsonian Institution | DeLong R.L.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Erlandson J.M.,University of Oregon | Braje T.J.,San Diego State University | And 7 more authors.
Holocene | Year: 2011

Driven to the brink of extinction during the nineteenth century commercial fur and oil trade, northern elephant seal (NES, Mirounga angustirostris) populations now exceed 100 000 animals in the northeast Pacific from Alaska to Baja California. Because little is known about the biogeography and ecology of NES prior to the mid-nineteenth century, we synthesize and analyze the occurrence of NES remains in North American archaeological sites. Comparing these archaeological data with modern biogeographical, genetic, and behavioral data, we provide a trans-Holocene perspective on NES distribution and abundance. Compared with other pinnipeds, NES bones are relatively rare throughout the Holocene, even in California where they currently breed in large numbers. Low numbers of NES north of California match contemporary NES distribution, but extremely low occurrences in California suggest their abundance in this area was very different during the Holocene than today. We propose four hypotheses to explain this discrepancy, concluding that ancient human settlement and other activities may have displaced NES from many of their preferred modern habitats during much of the Holocene. © The Author(s) 2011.

Codding B.F.,University of Utah | Whitaker A.R.,Far Western Anthropological Research Group | Bird D.W.,Stanford University
Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology | Year: 2014

Shellfish are a crucial resource for past and present subsistence-level societies around the world. Despite the diversity of environments in which shellfish are exploited, an examination of the global patterns of shellfish exploitation reveal surprisingly common patterns in the opportunities allowed and constraints imposed by relying on shellfish. These commonalities, linked to the fundamental features of shellfish and their exploitation, can illuminate diverse social and ecological factors likely to influence variability in their archaeological signatures. Here we review contributions to this special issue and explore common trends in shellfish use and its archaeological consequences. © 2014 Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Peterson C.D.,Portland State University | Stock E.,Triple E Consultants | Meyer J.,Far Western Anthropological Research Group | Kaijankoski P.,Far Western Anthropological Research Group | Price D.M.,University of Wollongong
Journal of Coastal Research | Year: 2015

Peterson, C.D.; Stock, E.; Meyer, J.; Kaijankoski, P., and Price, D.M., 2015. Origins of Quaternary coastal dune sheets in San Francisco and Monterey Bay, central California coast, U.S.A.: Reflecting contrasts in shelf depocenters and coastal neotectonics. The San Francisco and Monterey Bay coastal dune sheets derive from similar origins in the central California coast but differ substantially in size (respectively, ~400 and ~900 km2) and age (respectively, <0.1 and >1.0 Ma). The San Francisco dune sheet is restricted to a short alongshore interval (<20 km) within a relatively straight coastline (150 km in length) that borders a broad shelf (~40 km in width). The Monterey Bay dune sheet is restricted to the Monterey Bay embayment (41 km alongshore length). The embayment includes a very narrow shelf (3-15 km in width), which is dissected by the Monterey Submarine Canyon. Generally low onshore topographic relief (<150 m elevation) likely enhanced inland transgression of Late Pleistocene dune fields in both the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas. The locations of the dune sheets are directly related to sand accumulations in marine low-stand depocenters that supplied sand to the adjacent dune fields by eolian transport across the emerged inner shelves. The San Francisco shelf depocenter is apparently localized at a midshelf bight (-50 to-100 m elevation) that extends 25 km (east-west) offshore of a paleoriver mouth of a major river system, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River. The Monterey Bay shelf depocenter is bounded alongshore by major headlands and converging paleoshorelines (-30 to-90 m elevation) that effectively trapped littoral sand from small coastal drainages, primarily the Salinas River. High vertical rates of neotectonic deformation in the San Francisco dune sheet (0.4-1.0 mm y-1) limited dune sheet longevity and deposit thickness (5-35 m). Low uplift rates (~0.1 mm y-1) in the central Monterey Bay dune sheet permitted deposit accumulations of up to 250 m thickness. The differences in dune sheet extent, thickness, and age resulted from key differences in localized shelf accommodation space and coastal neotectonic vertical movements. © 2015 Coastel Education and Research, Inc.

Eerkens J.W.,University of California at Davis | Rosenthal J.S.,Far Western Anthropological Research Group | Stevens N.E.,University of California at Davis | Cannon A.,Statistical Research Inc. | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology | Year: 2010

Production of marine shell beads in island and coastal settings was an important activity in prehistory, with important political and economic ties. Currently, there are few methods to track beads to their locus of production. Examining the spatial distribution of bead types provides one method of doing so. Chemical and stable isotopic methods provide an additional and independent means of testing hypotheses generated by spatial distributions. We use stable oxygen, carbon, and strontium isotope data to reconstruct provenance zones for 18 Olivella biplicata beads from the Los Angeles Basin and San Nicolas Island, California. We compare the results to isotopic data from modern and radiocarbon-dated whole shells collected along the Pacific Coast. Results indicate that all 18 beads were manufactured from shells growing in open coast locations south of Point Conception. Differences in isotopic composition between bead types suggest that not all were produced in the same location. Some, such as callus beads (K1), have highly variable composition, suggesting production in a range of locations. Others, such as thin lipped (E1), seem to have been produced in more restricted regions. © 2010 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Hockett B.,Bureau of Land Management | Young C.,Far Western Anthropological Research Group | Carter J.,Bureau of Land Management | Dillingham E.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | And 2 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2013

In the Great Basin, large-scale trapping features designed to capture multiple artiodactyls include fences or drive lines and corrals with associated wings. More than 100 of these features are known in the Great Basin. An experimental project confirms that these features must have been built through group effort. The marked concentration of large-scale trapping features in western and eastern Nevada may be explained by ecological factors such as the presence of migrating herds of ungulates, nearby toolstone sources, pinyon nuts, and water. The proliferation of large-scale trapping feature planning and construction beginning ca. 5000 to 6000 years ago is supported by studies of trap-associated projectile points and rock art. Initial construction of traps may have been sparked by human population increases that created new challenges and encouraged the development of new sociological and ecological adaptations. © 2012 .

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