Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 February 2016
California's Northern Channel Islands have long been an epicenter of specialized fishing economies dating from 13,000 yr ago to the mid-19th century. With thousands of well-preserved shell middens, some dominated by single shellfish species and little to no material culture, it can be difficult to distinguish between specialized prehistoric and historical deposits at some site types. Beginning at least in the Early Holocene and continuing into the Historic period, California mussels, turban snails, and abalone were targeted for specialized collection and processing by Native Americans and later Chinese and Euro-American fishers. Here, we demonstrate how selective accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating of specialized abalone processing camps can help distinguish between prehistoric and historical sites. While unconventional, our case study demonstrates the utility of 14C dating at sites less than 300 yr old.
Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.