Skip to main content
×
×
Home

CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUBSISTENCE EXCHANGE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: WAS WESTERN SEA-PURSLANE A CHANNEL ISLAND TRADE GOOD?

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

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.

Copyright
Corresponding author
(mfauvell@ucsd.edu, corresponding author)
References
Hide All
Arnold, Jeanne. E. 1992 Complex Hunter-Gatherer-Fishers of Prehistoric California: Chiefs, Specialists, and Maritime Adaptations of the Channel Islands. American Antiquity 57:6084.
Arnold, Jeanne. E. 2012 Prestige Trade in the Santa Barbara Channel Region. California Archaeology 4:145148.
Arnold, Jeanne E. (editor) 2001 The Origins of a Pacific Coast Chiefdom: The Chumash of the Channel Islands. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
Arnold, Jeanne E. (editor) 2004 Foundations of Chumash Complexity. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, Los Angeles.
Arnold, Jeanne E., and Martin, Lana S. 2014 Botanical Evidence of Paleodietary and Environmental Change: Drought on the Channel Islands, California. American Antiquity 79:227248.
Braje, Todd 2015 Defining Marginality under Shifting Baselines: Historical Transformations of California's Channel Island. Paper presented at the 80th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco.
Ebeling, Walter 1986 Handbook of Indian Foods and Fibers of Arid America. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Fauvelle, Mikael 2011 Mobile Mounds: Asymmetrical Exchange and the Role of the Tomol in the Development of Chumash Complexity. California Archaeology 3:141158.
Fauvelle, Mikael 2012 Myths of an Island Chiefdom: Super Chert and Golden Acorns. A Response to Arnold. California Archaeology 4:149152.
Fauvelle, Mikael 2013 Evaluating Cross-Channel Exchange in the Santa Barbara Region: Experimental Data on Acorn Processing and Transport. American Antiquity 78:790798.
Fauvelle, Mikael 2014 Acorns, Asphaltum, and Asymmetrical Exchange: Invisible Exports and the Political Economy of the Santa Barbara Channel. American Antiquity 79:573575.
Gill, Kristina M. 2013 Paleoethnobotanical Investigations on the Channel Islands: Current Directions and Theoretical Considerations. In California's Channel Islands: The Archaeology of Human-Environment Interactions, edited by Jazwa, Christopher S. and Perry, Jennifer E., pp. 113136. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
Gill, Kristina M. 2014 Seasons of Change: Using Seasonal Morphological Changes in Brodiaea Corms to Determine Season of Harvest from Archaeobotanical Remains. American Antiquity 79:638654.
Gill, Kristina M. 2015 Ancient Plant Use and the Importance of Geophytes among the Island Chumash of Santa Cruz Island, California. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Gill, Kristina M., and Erlandson, Jon M. 2014 The Island Chumash and Exchange in the Santa Barbara Channel Region. American Antiquity 79:570572.
Gill, Kristina M., and Hoppa, Kristin 2015 Gathering Evidence: Terrestrial Plan Resources of California's Islands. Paper presented at the 80th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco.
Gilliand, Linda E. 1985 Proximate Analysis and Mineral Composition of Traditional California Native American Foods. Unpublished Master's thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis.
Hudson, Travis, Timbrook, Janice, and Rempe, Melissa 1978 Tomol: Chumash Watercraft as Described in the Ethnographic Notes of John P. Harrington. Ballena Press, Socorro, California.
Kennett, Douglas J. 2005 The Island Chumash: Behavioral Ecology of a Maritime Society. University of California Press, Berkeley.
King, Chester 1976 Chumash Inter-Village Economic Exchange. In Native Californians: A Theoretical Retrospective, edited by Bean, Lowell. J. and Blackburn, Thomas C., pp. 289318. Ballena Press, Socorro, California.
Martin, Steve L., and Popper, Virginia S. 2001 Paleoethnobotanical Investigations of Archaeological sites on Santa Cruz Island. In The Origins of a Pacific Coast Chiefdom: The Chumash of the Channel Islands, edited by Arnold, Jeanne E., pp. 245260. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
Mudie, Petra J. Greer, Sheila, Brakel, Judith, Dickson, James H., Schinkel, Clara, Peterson-Welsh, Ruth, Stevens, Margaret, Turner, Nancy J., Shadow, Mary, and Washington, Rasealie 2005 Forensic Palynology and Ethnobotany of Salicornia species (Chenopodiaceae) in Northwest Canada and Alaska. Canadian Journal of Botany. 83:111123.
Sutton, Elizabeth 2014 Digging Stick Weights and Doughnut Stones: An Analysis of Perforated Stones from the Santa Barbara Channel Region. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 34:1742.
Thakar, Heather 2014 Food and Fertility in Prehistoric California: A Case-study of Risk-reducing Foraging Behavior and Population Growth from Santa Cruz Island, California. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Timbrook, Janice 1993 Island Chumash Ethnobotany. In Archaeology on the Northern Channel Islands of California: Studies of Subsistence, Economics, and Social Organization, edited by Glassow, Michael, pp. 4762. Coyote Press, Salinas, California.
Wilke, Philip J. 1978 Late Prehistoric Human Ecology at Lake Cahuilla, Coachella Valley, California. Contributions of the University of California Archaeological Research Facility 38:1168.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed