During the last 10 years, we have learned a great deal about the potential for a coastal peopling of the Americas and the importance of marine resources in early economies. Despite research at a growing number of terminal Pleistocene archaeological sites on the Pacific Coast of the Americas, however, important questions remain about the lifeways of early Paleocoastal peoples. Research at CA-SRI-26, a roughly 11,700 year old site on California's Santa Rosa Island, provides new data on Paleoindian technologies, subsistence strategies, and seasonality in an insular maritime setting. Buried beneath approximately two meters of alluvium, much of the site has been lost to erosion, but its remnants have produced chipped stone artifacts (crescents and Channel Island Amol and Channel Island Barbed points) diagnostic of early island Paleocoastal components. The bones of waterfowl and seabirds, fish, and marine mammals, along with small amounts of shellfish document a diverse subsistence strategy. These data support a relatively brief occupation during the wetter “winter” season (late fall to early spring), in an upland location several km from the open coast. When placed in the context of other Paleocoastal sites on the Channel Islands, CA-SRI-26 demonstrates diverse maritime subsistence strategies and a mix of seasonal and more sustained year-round island occupations. Our results add to knowledge about a distinctive island Paleocoastal culture that appears to be related to Western Stemmed Tradition sites widely scattered across western North America.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)