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An Inquiry into the Status of the Santa Barbara Spear-Thrower

  • Robert F. Heizer (a1)

When, in November 1793, Vancouver's Discovery, in company with the Chatham and Daedalus, lay off Santa Barbara for eight days, George Goodman Hewett, Surgeon's First Mate, had an opportunity to augment his private ethnographical collections formed during the voyage through the South Seas and along the American west coast. This collection was in private hands until 1891, when it became the property of the British Museum. At this time C. H. Read delivered to the Royal Anthropological Institute (1) a brief historical sketch of the collection and a short description of the more significant items. It is from this paper that we hear first of the Chumash spear-thrower, foreshafted dart with bone barb and flint point, sinew-backed bow, and doublebladed paddle.

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I am indebted to Gordon W. Hewes for the drawings.

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1. Read C. H., An Account of a Collection of Ethnographical Specimens Formed During Vancouver's Voyage in the Pacific Ocean, 1790-1795. J.A.I. 21:99108, 1891.
2. See U. S. Geographical Surveys of the Territory of the U.S. West of the 100th Meridian. Vol. VII, Archaeology, Washington, 1879.
3. Dalton O. M., Notes on an ethnographical collection from the west coast of North America (more especially California), Hawaii, & Tahiti, formed during the voyage of Captain Vancouver 1790-1795, and now in the British Museum. Internationales Archiv fur Ethnographie 10:225245, 1897.
4. Krause F., Schleudervorrichtungen fur Wiirfwaffen. Internat. Archiv fiir Ethnogr. 15:121-166, 1902. (A condensed translation of this important paper will be found in the Smithsonian Annual Report for 1904, pp. 619-638.)
5. Nuttall Z., The atlatl or spear-thrower of the ancient Mexicans. Archaeological and Ethnological Papers of the Peabody Museum, Vol. 1, No. 3, Cambridge, 1891.
6. Starr F., Some North American Spear-throwers. Internat. Archiv für Ethnogr. 11:233235, 1898.
7. Mason O. T., The Throwing-Stick in California. A.A.O.S. 5:66, 1892.
8. Harrington J. P., Exploration of the Burton Mound at Santa Barbara, California. BAE-AR 44:25168, 1928. (Pp. 35-55 are a series of translations of historical accounts concerning the Santa Barbara region.)
9. Kroeber A. L., Handbook of the Indians of California. BAE-B 78, 1925. (Pp. 558-560 treat the Hewett collection.)
10. Essig E. O., Ogden A., and Dufour C. J., The Russians in California. California Historical Society, Special Publication 7, 1933. (Pp. 29-51 is a full account of Russian hunting activities on the California coast from 1803-1841.)
11. Olson R. L., Chumash Prehistory. UC-PAAE 28:121, 1930. (See p. 17 and fn. 10 for Site 2.)
12. Rogers D. B., Prehistoric Inhabitants of the Santa Barbara Coast. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, 1929.
13. Kroeber A. L., Native Culture of the Southwest. UC-PAAE 23:375398, 1928.
14. Beals R. L., The Comparative Ethnology of Northern Mexico Before 1750. Ibero-Americana: 2, Berkeley, 1932.
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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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