Far Western Anthropological Research Group

Davis, CA, United States

Far Western Anthropological Research Group

Davis, CA, United States

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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.


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.


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 .


Whelan C.S.,University of California at Davis | Whitaker A.R.,Far Western Anthropological Research Group | Rosenthal J.S.,Far Western Anthropological Research Group | Wohlgemuth E.,Far Western Anthropological Research Group
American Antiquity | Year: 2013

Food storage is a crucial adaptation for hunter-gatherers who face seasonal resource shortfalls, hut the extra time that hunter-gatherers must spend accumulating food surpluses has the potential to conflict with the time they need for other activities during seasons of abundance. Since the activities that conflict with storage may he different for women and men, it is important to consider which gender is responsible for storage. We argue that when women perform most storage tasks, the trade-off between foraging and childcare is likely to shape storage behavior, particularly the decision of which foods to store. Our analysis of storage food preferences among the prehistoric hunter-gatherers of California's Sierra Nevada suggests that women altered their storage strategy during the late Holocene when the shift to a semi-sedentary settlement system increased the conflict they faced between foraging and providing childcare. The adoption of an acorn-based storage economy during this period allowed women to minimize the time they spent foraging away from their residential bases, so they could better accommodate their childcare needs. This study demonstrates the utility of considering issues beyond the rate of caloric return from foraging to develop more complete models of hunter-gatherer behavior and explanations of the archaeological record. Copyright © 2013 by the Society for American Archaeology.


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.


Lupo K.D.,Southern Methodist University | Schmitt D.N.,Southern Methodist University | Kiahtipes C.A.,Southern Methodist University | Ndanga J.-P.,University of Bangui | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

An ongoing question in paleoenvironmental reconstructions of the central African rainforest concerns the role that prehistoric metallurgy played in shaping forest vegetation. Here we report evidence of intensive iron-ore mining and smelting in forested regions of the northern Congo Basin dating to the late Holocene. Volumetric estimates on extracted iron-ore and associated slag mounds from prehistoric sites in the southern Central African Republic suggest large-scale iron production on par with other archaeological and historically-known iron fabrication areas. These data document the first evidence of intensive iron mining and production spanning approximately 90 years prior to colonial occupation (circa AD 1889) and during an interval of time that is poorly represented in the archaeological record. Additional site areas pre-dating these remains by 3-4 centuries reflect an earlier period of iron production on a smaller scale. Microbotanical evidence from a sediment core collected from an adjacent riparian trap shows a reduction in shade-demanding trees in concert with an increase in light-demanding species spanning the time interval associated with iron intensification. This shift occurs during the same time interval when many portions of the Central African witnessed forest transgressions associated with a return to moister and more humid conditions beginning 500-100 years ago. Although data presented here do not demonstrate that iron smelting activities caused widespread vegetation change in Central Africa, we argue that intense mining and smelting can have localized and potentially regional impacts on vegetation communities. These data further demonstrate the high value of pairing archeological and paleoenvironmental analyses to reconstruct regional-scale forest histories. Copyright: © 2015 Lupo et al.


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.


Byrd B.F.,Far Western Anthropological Research Group | Garrard A.N.,University College London | Brandy P.,Far Western Anthropological Research Group
Quaternary International | Year: 2015

This study takes a regional approach to understanding the nature of Near Eastern hunter-gatherer spatial organization near the height of the Last Glacial Maximum, circa 21,000 calibrated years ago. To do so, we reconstructed the paleogeography and paleovegetation and then employed least-cost GIS analysis to model foraging ranges and potential annual territorial extent associated with a selection of excavated and dated sites throughout the southern Levant. Settlement trends in the region as a whole are explored first, followed by a case study of annual settlement scenarios in the arid Azraq Basin on the eastern edge of the Levant, focusing on its distinctive large aggregation sites.The results of the study reveal that potential maximum daily foraging ranges as well as habitats and habitat zone heterogeneity within these foraging ranges differed greatly across the region. Due to variance in potential plant and animal productivity, settlement patterns undoubtedly differed significantly across the southern Levant particularly with respect to the number of moves per year, the importance of fusion-fission strategies, the seasonality of relocation tactics, and the importance of group territoriality. These variances in annual settlement options and emerging patterns within the southern Levant at the height of the Last Glacial Maximum provide baseline conditions for understanding divergences in adaptive trajectories within the wider region. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

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