Origins Of A Pacific Coast Chiefdom

When Europeans first visited California, they encountered one of the most culturally diverse regions of the New World. The coasts and ecologically richest areas were dotted with small polities which were supported not by horticulture but exclusively by hunting, fishing, and gathering, placing them among the more complex hunter-gatherer groups in the world.

The Origins of a Pacific Coast Chiefdom considers the Chumash, perhaps the most hierarchically organized of the California groups. It explores the final thousand years of coastal Chumash culture, which culminated in the complex society witnessed by the earliest Spanish explorers.

Chumash life was characterized by settled villages, massive production of prestige goods, sophisticated plank canoes, and extensive maritime exchange systems—features more characteristic of agricultural societies. Archaeological sites in the island Chumash area are exceptionally well preserved, permitting precise interpretations of both subtle and major changes in technologies, subsistence, prestige goods, and specialized shell and lithic industries. The data and interpretations presented here are the result of fifteen years of intensive investigation on the Channel Islands.

Table of Contents:
List of Figures
List of Tables

1. The Chumash in World and Regional Perspectives ~ Jeanne E. Arnold
2. The Channel Islands Project: History, Objectives, and Methods ~ Jeanne E. Arnold
3. Ethnohistoric Reflections of Cruzeño Chumash Society ~ John R. Johnson
4. The Evolution of Specialized Shellworking among the Island Chumash ~ Jeanne E. Arnold and Anthony P, Graesch
5. Flaked Stone Craft Production and Exchange in Island Chumash Territory ~ Jeanne E. Arnold, Aimee M. Preziosi, and Paul Shattuck
6. Bifaces and the Institutionalization of Exchange Relationships in the Chumash Sphere ~ Scott Pletka
7. Standardization and Specialization: The Island Chumash Microdrill Industry ~ Aimee M. Preziosi
8. Groundstone Tools as Indicators of Changing Subsistence and Exchange Patterns in the Coastal Chumash Region ~ Colleen Delaney-Rivera
9. Bone Tool Technology on Santa Cruz Island and Implications for Exchange ~ Thomas A. Wake
10. Ecological and Economic Analysis of Faunal Remains from Santa Cruz Island ~ Roger H. Colten
11. The Economics of Island Chumash Fishing Practices ~ Scott Pletka
12. Paleoethnobotanical Investigations of Archaeological Sites on Santa Cruz Island ~ Steve L. Martin and Virginia S. Popper
13. Culture Contact on the Channel Islands: Historic-Era Production and Exchange Systems ~ Anthony P. Graesch
14. Social Evolution and the Political Economy in the Northern Channel Islands ~ Jeanne E. Arnold


Praise and Reviews:

"This volume is the strongest and most thorough case study of a complex hunting and gathering culture that I have read, and one of the best archaeological case studies, period, that I have read in some time."—Gary Coupland, University of Toronto