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  • Mikael Fauvelle (a1), Ellen Esch (a2) and Andrew Somerville (a3)

A popular model for social evolution in the Santa Barbara Channel region holds that, during times of resource stress, islanders would trade with mainlanders for plant foods in order to supplement island diets. Recently, western sea-purslane (Sesuvium verrucosum) has been suggested as a primary food product involved in this exchange. This report presents new caloric values for Sesuvium verrucosum and other plant foods that have been indicated as possible cross-channel trade goods. We argue that western sea-purslane is unlikely to have been a major trade item and suggest an alternate possibility for the presence of sea-purslane seeds in archaeological middens on Santa Cruz Island. While climate change may indeed have impacted social histories in the Channel Region, we argue that current data do not support the transportation of plant foods as having been a major component in this process.

Un modelo popular sobre la evolución de la complejidad social en la región del canal de Santa Barbara sostiene que en épocas de estrés de recursos, los isleños negociarían con los habitantes de tierra firme para suplementar sus dietas con alimentos vegetales. Un estudio reciente sugiere que una planta en específico, Sesuvium verrucosum, fue un producto alimenticio primario involucrado en este intercambio. Este informe presenta nuevos valores calóricos para Sesuvium verrucosum y otros alimentos vegetales que han sido indicados como posibles productos de intercambio a través del canal. Se argumenta que no es probable que Sesuvium verrucosum fuera un recurso de intercambio importante. Sugerimos una posibilidad alternativa acerca de la presencia de semillas de Sesuvium verrucosum en los concheros arqueológicos de la isla de Santa Cruz. Aunque el cambio climático pudo haber impactado significativamente las historias sociales en la región del Canal, los datos actuales no sustentan la hipótesis que el intercambio de alimentos vegetales fuera un componente fundamental de este proceso.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
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