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Paleocoastal Marine Fishing on the Pacific Coast of the Americas: Perspectives from Daisy Cave, California

  • Torben C. Rick (a1), Jon M. Erlandson (a2) and René L. Vellanoweth (a3)

Analysis of over 27,000 fish bones from strata at Daisy Cave dated between about 11,500 and 8500 cal B.P. suggests that early Channel Islanders fished relatively intensively in a variety of habitats using a number of distinct technologies, including boats and the earliest evidence for hook-and-line fishing on the Pacific Coast of the Americas. The abundance of fish remains and fishing-related artifacts supports dietary reconstructions that suggest fish provided more than 50 percent of the edible meat represented in faunal samples from the early Holocene site strata. The abundance and economic importance of fish at Daisy Cave, unprecedented among early sites along the Pacific Coast of North America, suggest that early maritime capabilities on the Channel Islands were both more advanced and more variable than previously believed. When combined with a survey of fish remains from several other early Pacific Coast sites, these data suggest that early New World peoples effectively used watercraft, captured a diverse array of fish, and exploited a variety of marine habitats and resources.

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