Amy Gusick

Amy Gusick
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County · Department of Anthropology

PhD

About

35
Publications
10,161
Reads
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300
Citations
Citations since 2016
26 Research Items
243 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220102030405060
20162017201820192020202120220102030405060
Introduction
Dr. Gusick's research interests focus on human-environmental dynamics, the development of maritime societies, peopling of the Americas, and hunter-gatherer subsistence and settlement. Current research projects focus on early human coastal migration and settlement and the effect of environmental stress on Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene human groups along the Pacific Rim. Dr. Gusick uses both terrestrial and underwater archaeological methods in her research.
Additional affiliations
January 2018 - present
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Position
  • Associate Curator of Archaeology
January 2018 - present
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Position
  • NAGPRA Officer
September 2015 - January 2018
California State University, San Bernardino
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Education
January 2007 - June 2012
University of California, Santa Barbara
Field of study
  • Anthropology
September 2004 - December 2007
University of California, Santa Barbara
Field of study
  • Anthropology

Publications

Publications (35)
Chapter
Full-text available
Awareness of and interest in the role that coastlines and coastal adaptations played in the development and dispersal of anatomically modern humans have grown over the last few decades. Scattered evidence for marine exploitation between 125,000 and 12,000 cal BP has been identified in Africa (Henshilwood et al. 2001; Singer and Wymer 1982; Walter e...
Chapter
Full-text available
Previous mobility hypotheses that have been formed for the Early Holocene on the Northern Channel Islands have included minimal data from Santa Cruz Island, the largest and most environmentally diverse landmass within the Northern Channel Island chain. Yet, data from this island are important because the three main Northern Channel Islands vary in...
Article
Full-text available
Subsistence strategies of the hunter-gatherer-fishers who inhabited the Northern Channel Islands have included fishing since at least 9,000 B.P. While there has been a steady increase of fish meat to the diet over this extended time period, there was a pronounced increase identified during the Middle and Late periods (2,600 – 200 B.P.). This increa...
Article
Full-text available
Forty years ago, Knut Fladmark (1979) argued that the Pacific Coast offered a viable alternative to the ice-free corridor model for the initial peopling of the Americas—one of the first to support a “coastal migration theory” that remained marginal for decades. Today, the pre-Clovis occupation at the Monte Verde site is widely accepted, several oth...
Article
Full-text available
Defining a maritime cultural landscape relies on recognizing both the landscape and seascape as integral to maritime societies. While this concept has been part of anthropological studies for decades, data from the submerged portion of the maritime landscape is often overlooked. The maritime archaeological work needed to collect these data has hist...
Article
Full-text available
On global, regional, and local scales, sea level histories and paleoshoreline reconstructions are critical to understanding the deep history of human adaptations in island and coastal settings. The distance of any individual site from the coast strongly influences decisions about the transport of coastal resources and has a direct impact on human s...
Article
California’s Northern Channel Islands contain an incredible record of terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene human occupation. Since the hunter-gatherer-fishers who created these sites relied heavily on marine resources, a critical aspect of understanding early settlement patterns is calculating distance to paleoshorelines. This has traditionally...
Article
The lowstand extensions of two fluvial systems from the Cascadia subduction margin are investigated using high-resolution seismic reflection data to determine the relative controls on paleodrainage morphology. We document distinct differences between the two systems, located ~40 km apart, attributed to underlying structure and lithology, shelf grad...
Article
Full-text available
We investigate animal food preferences of the Ostiones people, the occupants of the coastal site of Puerto Marqués, one of the few Late Archaic Period sites located along the Pacific coast of Mexico (4600 and 2000 cal BCE). Our data are based upon recovered faunal remains at the site, which consist of vertebrate bones and molluskan shells identifie...
Article
The Channel Islands of California have received much attention from researchers, in part, due to the long occupation history of the islands that spans at least 13,000 years. The Northern Channel Islands have played an important role in our understanding of early coastal adaptations and development of complexity among maritime adapted peoples; howev...
Article
THE NATURAL HISTORY Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) has a vast collection of material representing cultures from around the world. More than 200,000 cultural items and 18,000 archival documents are curated as part of the Archaeology and Ethnology collections, including objects from the numerous indigenous societies that have thrived in Southern...
Article
Full-text available
Since the collapse of the Clovis-first model of the peopling of the Americas some 30 years ago, there has been growing interest in the Pacific Coast as a potential early human dispersal corridor. With postglacial eustatic sea level rise inundating most New World paleoshorelines older than ~7000 years, however, locating terminal Pleistocene sites al...
Article
High-resolution Chirp sub-bottom data were obtained offshore from the Northern Channel Islands (NCI), California, to image submerged paleoshorelines and assess local uplift rates. Although modern bathymetry is often used for modeling paleoshorelines, Chirp data image paleoshorelines buried beneath sediment that obscures their seafloor expression. T...
Article
As applications for offshore renewable energy projects increase, state and federal land managers have become concerned over potential impacts to cultural heritage resources along submerged landscapes. Identification, documentation, and management of historical shipwrecks have been relatively common, but methods for identifying submerged pre-contact...
Chapter
Islands have long been viewed as marginal habitats compared to mainland regions where terrestrial resources are generally more abundant and diverse. We examine this concept of island marginality by reviewing evidence for Paleocoastal settlement of islands off the Pacific Coast of Alta and Baja California. If the islands were marginal, we should exp...
Poster
Full-text available
Sea-level rise following the last glacial maximum (~20 kya) has resulted in the submergence of paleochannels, tar seeps, and archeological sites on continental shelves. The distribution of these sites is important for archeological research, offshore infrastructure development, and environmental hazard assessment. Modification of controlled source...
Article
While studies on recovery bias are numerous in the literature, the current research focuses on defining best practices in field collection techniques to provide a more accurate representative of site constituents, particularly fish remains. Methods to determine best practices included use of 1/4-inch, 1/8-inch, and 1/16-inch mesh to process excavat...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper proposes an innovative research hub as part of the Coastline and People (CoPe) initiative led by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Specific recommendations, anticipated impact and value, and defined reasoning ans supporting evidence are detailed in the paper.
Article
Full-text available
Recent surveys on California’s northern Channel Islands have highlighted the ubiquity of small, low-density lithic scatters across coastal terraces and interior ridgelines. These sites typically lack organic materials or diagnostic artifacts and are therefore rarely the subject of archaeological investigation. Here we quantify raw material and flak...
Article
Full-text available
Using 1929 aerial photos of western Santa Cruz Island, we identified numerous potential shell midden locations, followed by confirmation of site locations via field reconnaissance. Heavy grazing by sheep, cattle, and pigs closely cropped island vegetation in the early twentieth century, exposing shell middens now often covered with thick vegetation...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Methodological advances are reshaping our understanding of island colonization. Refinements in dating methods, paleoenvironmental reconstructions, and search techniques have resulted in discoveries that challenge outdated theories of islands as marginal to human migration, settlement, and subsistence. This is particularly true for research related...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Oceanographic conditions, especially sea surface temperature, exhibit strong influences on intertidal habitat and species performance. The Northern Channel Island of California are located within a complex oceanographic pattern with persistent cooler and warmer waters on north-west and south-east coasts of the islands, respectively. These patterns...
Article
Full-text available
Paleocoastal sites, dated between ∼13,000 and 8000 cal yr BP, are relatively abundant on California's Northern Channel Islands but rare on the largest island of Santa Cruz. Here we describe three lithic sites containing chipped-stone crescents and, in one case, a stemmed Channel Island Barbed point fragment. Elsewhere on the islands, datable sites...
Chapter
Full-text available
The hypothesized west coast route of the first peopling of the Americas has seen relatively limited empirical investigation, perhaps because of the difficulty and expense of finding underwater sites. We review some ways of thinking about the ancient coastline and the process of marine transgression that may be useful for modeling underwater site lo...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter we outline what we know about submerged prehistory from the American perspective by revisiting places where researchers have actively searched for sites, places where sites underwater are known, and places that have great potentials for discovery. We describe our own works conducted on the East and West Coasts of North America: the...
Article
Full-text available
Article
Recent research utilizing paleolandscape reconstruction and targeted underwater survey has yielded the discovery of prehistoric cultural material on the submerged landscape off of Espíritu Santo Island, Baja California Sur. Our ability to identify preserved inundated cultural remains suggests that Baja California’s unique geography and environment...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
This project builds on a recent paper presented at the 2016 California Islands Symposium in Ventura California (see presentation pdf available under contributions). My co-authors and I integrate a vast (and growing) database of oxygen isotope measurements derived from marine shells in archaeological contexts on Santa Cruz Island, California with detailed archaeomalacological analyses. Our initial study demonstrates persistent spatial variation in nearshore paleo-SST temperatures that diverge from broad regional reconstruction and appear to structure the abundance of several key taxa in archaeological contexts throughout the Holocene. We are currently expanding our analysis to include all oxygen isotope data from archaeological contexts on the Northern Channel Islands. We are also interested in generating additional data to fill in chronological and spatial gaps in our original analysis. These data contribute significantly to elucidating the paleoecology of Santa Cruz Island and the Channel Islands as a whole.