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Title: The culture of Santarosae : subsistence strategies and landscape use in the Northern Channel Islands from the initial occupation
Author: Watts, Jack Loy
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The Northern Channel Islands (NCI) lie southwest of Santa Barbara, California. In the Late Pleistocene, the NCI were part of the larger paleo-island of Santarosae, reachable only by open water voyages. The hypothesis presented in this thesis is that people with a distinctive littoral maritime culture, including open water boat technology, spread from Japan along the Pacific Coast and reached Santarosae prior to 13,000 calBP, where they found a rich, stable food supply and a benign environment. Prior to Spanish contact and removal of the native population, the Northern Channel Islands had been occupied for at least 13,000 years, one of the longest local occupancy records in the world. This hypothesis is supported by new evidence from CA-SMI-522, on western San Miguel, dated - 10,000 calBP; and from ongoing work at CA-SMI-678, 679, and 701 , three quarry sites near Cardwell Bluffs on eastern San Miguel, dated between - 12,200 and - 11 ,400 calBP. Comparison of LP/EH lithic assemblages suggests cultural affinity between Santarosae and Late Pleistocene Japan. Dimensional analysis of points from the NCI suggests possible use of bow and arrow technology on Santarosae as early as - 12,000 calBP, over 10,000 years earlier than commonly assumed. Seasonality and paleotemperature estimates are supported by data from for δ18O analysis of red (Haliotis rufescens) and black (H. cracherodii) aba lone recovered from Cardwell Bluffs and CA-SMl-522 which yielded estimates suggesting sea surface temperatures surrounding Santarosae from - 11,600 - - 10,000 calBP were ~3.7° - 3.0°C cooler than today. Seasonality estimates from H. cracherodii suggest that the NCI were occupied during four distinct seasons by 10,000 calBP. Dietary reconstruction, supported by paleotemperature estimates, indicates that plant foods were a necessary dietary component for the long term occupancy of Santarosae without reliance on mainland food resources.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available