The Prehistory of Morro Bay

Central California's Overlooked Estuary

Morro Bay is one of more than thirty major estuaries where prehistoric people thrived along the California coast, yet for much of the twentieth century these systems were deemed insignificant within the broader outline of New World prehistory. Recent research, however, has shown that estuaries were magnets for human occupation as early as 10,000 years ago. This book combines archaeological data from large-scale excavations completed between 2003 and 2014 with other studies from Morro Bay to reveal a heretofore overlooked yet remarkable history of cultural change and adaptation. Over the last 8,000 years, as the bay evolved toward its current configuration, inhabitants endured earthquake and drought, regularly adjusting their settlement practices but continuing to fish and collect shellfish. Their populations slowly grew against a backdrop of extreme resource diversity and diachronic habitat variation, ultimately leaving behind evidence of a unique human-estuary ecological saga.


Appendices A through J

Terry L. Jones is professor of anthropology and chair of the Department of Social Sciences at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Deborah A. Jones is a retired principal investigator at Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc.
William R. Hildebrandt is a research associate in anthropology at the University of California, Davis, and founding president of Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc.
Kacey Hadick is manager of heritage programs for CyArk in Oakland, California.
Patricia Mikkelsen is principal investigator and project manager at Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc.

Table of Contents:
List of Figures
List of Tables
1. Introduction
2. Contextual Background: Environment and Ethnohistory
3. Archaeological Context
4. Field and Analytical Methods
5. CA- SLO-14
6. CA- SLO-23
7. CA- SLO-457
8. CA- SLO-458
9. CA- SLO-626
10. CA- SLO-812
11. Summary
12. Synthesis and Discussion
List of Tables in Appendix A
References Cited

Praise and Reviews:
“Thorough and relevant. The descriptions of the sites, assemblages, and components likewise progress in an easy-to-follow fashion with ample documentation in figures and tables, allowing researchers to check the conclusions as well as come to their own conclusions using the same datasets. A book like this is long overdue for the Central Coast area of California.”
—Nathan Stevens, California State University, Sacramento