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A Bead Analysis of Northern Chumash Village Site, Tstyiwi: CA-SLO-51/H


Abstract and Figures

In the Spring of 2015, California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), San Luis Obispo, conducted a field methods class at CA-SLO-51/H, led by Dr. Terry Jones. The site was found to correlate to the Northern Chumash village, Tstyiwi. The site included a rich assemblage of shell beads. Of the 302 beads recovered from the site, 27 different types of beads were identified. The diagnostic Olivella (Callianax biplicata) shell beads indicate a village occupation spanning from the Early Period through to contact and early post-contact. Shell bead manufacturing at the site is demonstrated by abalone shell bead blanks and shell bead drills.
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A Bead Analysis of
Northern Chumash Village Site, Tstyiwi:
Kaya Wiggins
Advised by
Dr. Terry Jones
Ant 461, 462
Senior Project
Social Sciences Department
College of Liberal Arts
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Spring, 2016
I wish to thank the following individuals for their support during the four years it took for
me to earn my undergraduate degree, which I will receive after submission of this paper.
Christina MacDonald and Valerie Levulett encouraged me to get my Bachelors Degree and
helped get me my first job. My uncle, Cris Lowgren, and Ethan Bertrando, my former professor
and current supervisor, lent resources and edited this paper. I’d also like to thank my advisor,
Terry Jones, for entrusting me with this task and providing me with tools I needed to complete
this analysis. All of those mentioned above mentored me throughout this process and I feel very
fortunate for the time and effort they afforded me. I need to acknowledge Brian Barbier, of
UCSB. He helped identify a couple of irregular beads from the collection and advised me on
other related issues. Within my family there are two individuals I would like to acknowledge for
facilitating my interest in California archaeology my grandmother, Constance Lowgren, who
has since passed away, and my uncle Cris. From a young age they inspired me to explore and
seek out information, with special interest to the natural world and California’s past. Lastly, I’d
like to thank my husband Bryan for his support and patience throughout my college years. He
was my number one supporter and my financial backbone throughout my time at Cal Poly.
Without him, this wouldn’t have been possible.
List of Tables……………………………………………………………………….ii
List of Figures……………………………………………………………………..iii
Summary and Conclusions……………………………………………………......38
Recommendations for Future Research…………………………………………...44
References Cited…………………………………………………………………..46
Table 1. Olivella bead types and amounts per component……………………17
Table 2. Diagnostic bead types and amounts per component………………...40
Figure 1. Dating schemes proposed for beads and for the Central Coast……...11
Figure 2. Diagram of where beads originate on Olivella shell……...………....14
Figure 3. Class A beads…………………...…………………………………...19
Figure 4. B3 barrel bead……………………………………………………….20
Figure 5. Class E beads……………………………………………..…………22
Figure 6. Class G beads………………………………………………………..24
Figure 7. Class H beads………………………………………………………..25
Figure 8. Class K beads………………………………………………………..26
Figure 9. A double-punched whole shell bead...………………………………28
Figure 10. Clam shell disk beads………………………………………………..30
Figure 11. Abalone epidermis disk beads……………………………………….32
Figure 12. Abalone nacre disk bead…………………………………………….33
Figure 13. Shell bead blanks……………………………………………………35
Figure 14. Polished stone beads………………………………………………..36
In the Spring of 2015, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo conducted a field methods class at the
archaeological site CA-SLO-51/H, located on the Pecho Coast of San Luis Obispo County. The
data recovered was sent to a lab located at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where the collected
materials were analyzed by the subsequent Cal Poly lab methods classes. It was later revealed
that CA-SLO-51/H is the site of the former Chumash Village, Tstyiwi (Jones, personal
communication 2015; Greenwood 1972).
A large portion of the recovered materials found at CA-SLO-51/H consisted of beads
made from various materials. Over 35% of the materials obtained from CA-SLO-51/H were
beads and of those, over 81% were manufactured from the purple olive shell.
For decades, the purple olive shell has been scientifically known as Olivella biplicata, or
simply Olivella. Recently, the scientific name has been updated by biologists and is now
referred to as Callianax biplicata. However, the shell species still resides within the Olivellidae
family and archaeologists continue to use the term Olivella in literature so I will do the same.
Based on the abundance and various types of Olivella beads recovered from CA-SLO-
51/H a thorough analysis is warranted in order to better understand the activities and span of
occupation of the site. Included in this paper is an overview of the non-Olivella beads found at
CA-SLO-51/H. By combining the extensive analysis of the Olivella shell beads with the brief
overview of the non-Olivella beads a more complete interpretation of the activities should
emerge. The focus of this paper is to identify the different types of Olivella shell beads and non-
Olivella beads, determine the time of their manufacturing, and interpret any patterns that become
apparent during the process.
Limitations to the analysis include the fact that the site was heavily disturbed by decades
of farming activities. Any stratigraphic integrity has been damaged to the point that depth
provenience is meaningless. Also, due to time constraints, 5.22 cubic meters were dug. The
meager excavation produced abundant data, however, the sample size is considerably smaller in
proportion to previous studies (Greenwood 1972).
Studies on shell beads and their effects on cultures in California are largely associated
with two types. Those bead types are clam shell disk beads and Olivella shell beads. In
southern California, including San Luis Obispo County, Olivella shell beads were the type most
utilized by native groups. Their prominence in the archaeological record has encouraged
numerous studies and efforts to classify the different types of beads in search for any temporal
indications and further patterns in prehistory and history. Furthermore, those patterns illustrate a
very complex history of Olivella shell utilization, originating in the Santa Barbara Channel and
producing increased social complexity, unlike any other area of California. Some of the issues
that have developed after considering the prominence of Olivella shell beads in the
archaeological record include: Trade implications; possible Olivella bead manufacturing outside
of the Channel Islands; environmental impacts on the Olivella shell bead industry; the
relationship between Olivella shell beads and Chumash social complexity; the effects of
European colonization on the Olivella shell bead industry.
One of the first looks at North American beads, if not the first, was done by Orchard
(1929). His scope of work included beads made of all materials and throughout the North
American continent; the bulk of his research geared towards the analysis of glass beads.
However, he did research California’s Olivella shell beads and briefly summarized their
distribution and abundance in the archaeological record. Orchard did not establish any
diagnostic indications and declared that due to their large quantities in grave lots and their being
haphazardly strewn about in archaeological sites, distinguishing their purpose would be
impossible (Orchard 1929: 20).
Efforts to classify Olivella shell beads occurred once archaeologists noticed that the
different Olivella beads likely had temporal importance. However, a standardization of an
Olivella bead classification and chronology would take decades to develop and refine. The first
attempt at creating a typology for Olivella shell beads came from Lillard, Heizer, and Fenenga
(1939), while developing the chronology of horizons in California (Milliken and Schwitalla
2012). They looked at the stratigraphy of archaeological sites in the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta and recognized that the artifact assemblages indicated temporal components. The artifacts
they looked at for temporal indications included Olivella shell beads. They also discovered that
two bead types were present during each horizon, Type 1a and 1b, and concluded that they had
no temporal significance (Groza 2002).
Their Olivella typology was referenced for over a decade but their work was incomplete.
Gifford (1947) elaborated on their work by producing quantified metrics and bead descriptions of
the different bead types (Milliken and Schwitalla 2012). Unfortunately, Gifford’s criteria for
classifying many of the beads were inconsistent with others, especially Bennyhoff and Heizer,
and his work has been infrequently referenced (Groza 2002).
Bennyhoff and Heizer (1958) made an important contribution to Olivella bead dating.
They recognized that Olivella shell beads from California could be cross-dated with assemblages
from the Great Basin area to establish the timing of components within archaeological sites. The
also included radiocarbon dates with their findings. It was during this time that Bennyhoff and
Heizer became interested in the subtle changes over time in Olivella shell beads that indicate
changes in behavior. They also addressed the ongoing issue with bead classification, that there is
variation among bead types. Determination of a bead being, “intermediate between recognized
types because of normal variation, local manufacture or the fact that a number of types represent
different stages of a single evolving tradition,is an issue that continues to plague bead analysts
(Bennyhoff and Heizer 1958: 78 cited in Groza 2002: 23).
James A. Bennyhoff devoted much work to Olivella shell bead research and
classification. He, along with Richard Hughes, made arguably the most important contribution to
Olivella shell bead classification with their 1987 publication, Shell Bead and Ornament
Exchange Networks Between California and the Western Great Basin. Their paper became the
standard reference for typing beads and still is today. Bennyhoff borrowed from Lillard et al
(1939) but used letters as opposed to numbers for typing Olivella shell beads. Bennyhoff and
Hughes (1987) categorized bead types by class and subclass and included descriptions and
metrics, sources, temporal significance, and amount of Great Basin occurrences. They also
included illustrations with bead variation and scale, for reference. Their conclusions were based
on their analysis of thousands of beads, numerous archaeological site records, and previous
radiocarbon dates. The radiocarbon results prompted Bennyhoff to establish a new dating scheme
for California, scheme B1, which was also included in the Bennyhoff and Hughes (1987)
publication. Their publication gave archaeologists and academics a much more comprehensive
and useful tool to date archaeological sites containing Olivella shell beads and improved the
accuracy of dating different patterns throughout prehistory and history. Scheme B1 went
unquestioned until 2002 by Randall Groza (Groza 2002).
In her Master’s thesis, Groza identified some issues with Bennyhoff and Hughes (1987).
Bennyhoff and Hughes’ radiocarbon dates came from burials and features, which included
charcoal, shell, and bone collagen. One issue is that their dates didn’t take into account that
different materials must be individually corrected, according to material. (For a further
understanding of correcting radiocarbon dates and calibration see Groza 2002). Another issue is
that their chronology didn’t conform to subsequent data found in the Santa Barbara Channel, the
source of Olivella shell bead production. Lastly, Bennyhoff and Hughesresults weren’t from
beads and therefore context discrepancies are problematic. Groza sought to remedy these issues
in his thesis and later in his published 2011 paper with Rosenthal, Southen, and Milliken. In her
thesis, Groza dated beads from the Bennyhoff and Hughes (1987) sample but used the less
destructive and more accurate method of dating, Accelorator Mass Spectrometry (AMS). Groza
et al. (2011) also used AMS dating on beads in the Santa Barbara Channel. With new data, a
new scheme was developed by Groza et al. (2011) that more accurately dated Olivella shell
beads and therefore, patterns throughout prehistory and history.
Bennyhoff’s work was built upon again in a 2012 bead manual, by Randy Milliken and
Al Schwitalla, California and Great Basin Olivella Shell Bead Guide: A Diagnostic Type Guide
in Memory of James A. Bennyhoff. The purpose of their guide was to create a more “user-
friendlyexperience with high-quality photographs along with 3-D representations.
Some of the most notable publications related to beads in Chumash territory subsequent
to Bennyhoff came from one of his students, Chester King. In his 1981 Ph.D. dissertation, King
produced an artifact chronology and arguably the most thorough bead analysis for the Santa
Barbara Channel area. King distinguished himself from his predecessors by developing his own
Olivella typology (for better or worse) by using descriptive names for the different types, as
opposed to letters. For example, Bennyhoff calls the small cupped beads, made from the callus
of the Olivella shell, Class K, while King has categorized them as Cupped. He organizes all
beads according to their temporal significance, then by species or material. Whereas, others
before him organized their beads arbitrarily with numbers or letters. In the opinion of this writer,
his bead typology is less quantitative than Bennyhoff’s and more qualitative in approach at
describing beads types. King’s purpose seems more towards the interpretation of beads in their
function and association as well as their timing and distribution. King’s approach is arguably
less comprehensive, however, that is not to say it’s not profoundly important to California bead
research. One cannot consider producing a bead analysis in southern California without
consulting a number of King’s publications.
Creating bead typologies or dating schemes is not the only important information
archaeologists have to offer in regard to Olivella shell beads. Other researchers have chosen to
interpret their meaning and effects on Native Californian cultures. During the Early and Middle
Periods in California, Olivella shell beads were used for adorning individuals and exhibited
status (Gamble 2008; Bettinger 2015). They had value and were traded but not in a monetary
sense. It was during the Middle-Late Transition that a specific type of Olivella bead became,
what many would argue, a standardized currency (Arnold 1992; Arnold and Walsh 2010;
Chagnon 1970; Gamble 2008). It is during this time that bead production of Olivella cupped
beads, Class K, becomes exclusively manufactured on the Northern Channel Islands by
specialized craftsmen. Also, likely at this time, the Chumash in the Santa Barbara Channel
reached a chiefdom level society, with hereditary leaders (Arnold 1992; Arnold and Walsh 2010).
Jean Arnold has asserted that during the Middle-Late Transition environmental
fluctuations put stress on Native populations in the Channel. Arnold (1992) attributed the
environmental flux to a period of El Nino/Southern Oscillations (ENSO). The conditions during
that time would have been much warmer than previously, but most importantly, upwelling that
normally would occur wouldn’t. Upwelling in the ocean brings cool water and nutrients to
marine environments. When upwelling doesn’t occur marine populations suffer and thus,
Chumash populations dependent upon marine life for food would also suffer. As a consequence,
opportunistic chiefs began to exercise their power on the masses, forcing them into craft
specialization. The elites were able to create a surplus of wealth goods by intensifying and
controlling the means of production and it elevated their status. With a surplus wealth, chiefs
were able to acquire commodities for their people and a shell bead economy emerged. The
economy had profound effects on Chumash culture, which became a complex chiefdom,
governed by those with inherited political power (Arnold 1992; Arnold and Walsh 2010).
Arnold’s environmental hypothesis, being the driving force for emergent sociopolitical
complexity, was a thoughtful explanation. However, it wasn’t accepted by all. Kennett and
Kennett (2000) published a paper in response to Arnold (1992) that utterly contradicted her
ENSO hypothesis. In their paper they agreed that environmental instability ultimately caused
Chumash culture to increase in social complexity, however it wasn’t because of ENSO. They
studied oxygen isotope data from mussel shells (Mytilus californianus) and saw something
critically different from Arnold’s prediction. Between A.D. 450 and 1300, conditions were drier
and cooler in the Santa Barbara Channel and marine populations flourished, while terrestrial
resources were stressed. The shortage of water and other resources created competition and
violence and simultaneously, cooperation amongst related and unrelated Chumash peoples. This
sort of behavior, compounded by the environmental instability, was the catalyst for decreased
mobility and intensification of resources. Only after that long process, around A.D. 1300, did the
environment become more stable allowing populations to increase as well as the socio-
complexity of the Chumash people to emerge.
Another interpretation of how the shell bead economy propelled Chumash culture into the
Chiefdom level it was in the Late Period comes from Bettinger (2015). His take isn’t
environmental but cultural. He disagrees with Arnold’s emergent social complexity model,
which she attributes to elites creating immense wealth and control over their subjects. Bettinger
proposes that the increased social complexity of the Late Period Chumash was a, “grassroots
innovation” influenced by those at the bottom of the hierarchy. He explains that money came
about because it was those without wealth that were in demand of a “third-partyin order to
acquire commodities. That third-party was money. The medium chosen for currency was the
Olivella cupped or K beads. K beads are hard enough to manufacture to make them valuable but
not so much that they cannot be manufactured in abundance. This perspective is practical.
Those without status couldn’t acquire wealth items like white deer skins, obsidian blades, or
sewn-plank canoes known as tomolos. They were the ones to benefit from having money, not the
elite. Having money shrunk the wealth gap, not widened it. The poor created a means to acquire
commodities because they participated in and encouraged the shell bead economy (Bettinger
There are various explanations of how or why Chumash sociopolitical complexity
increased around A.D. 1300. To list them all is outside of the scope of this bead analysis. What
we do know is that the Chumash shell bead economy had profound effects on the culture.
Nowhere else in California had there been a culture so complex, socially and politically. Their
culture was on the brink of becoming a capitalist, market economy (Gamble 2008). However, at
the time of contact, we know that their economy plummeted with the introduction of Venetian
glass trade beads, brought primarily by the Spanish. Olivella shell beads subsequently became
less valuable, and cupped beads ceased to be manufactured entirely (King 1981; 2011).
Unfortunately, much of what we know about Olivella shell beads comes from the Santa
Barbara Channel. Bead information from San Luis Obispo County is rare and even more so for
the Pecho Coast (Gibson 1988; Greenwood 1972). The Indians that lived on the Pecho Coast
were from the Obispeño branch of Northern Chumash, however, they refer to themselves as the
tityu tityu (Klar 1975 cited in Jones 2013). What we do know (beyond beads) is that the Indians
occupying the Central Coast were distinct from those in the Santa Barbara Channel, though
related. Jones and Waugh (1995) developed a separate chronology, The Central Coast Sequence,
for the area. In the results section of this paper, I will be indicate time periods per bead type,
however those are based on beads found mostly outside of the Central Coast. It is unknown how
the Bennyhoff and Hughes (1987) and the Groza et al. (2011) schemes can be applied to the
beads found on the Central Coast. Future bead research is needed in the area in order to
determine how comparable conclusions derived in the Santa Barbara Channel are for the
Northern Chumash.
(Bennyhoff and Hughes
(Groza et al. 2011)
(Jones and Waugh 1995)
Calendar age
cal B.P.
Historic Mission /Historic 100
Protohistoric Period 300
Late period 400
Late 500
period Late Period 600
Middle/Late Middle/Late 800
Transition Transition 900
Middle/Late 1100
Transition 1200
Middle 1500
Period 1600
Middle Period 1700
Middle Period 1800
Early/Middle Transition Early/Middle 2300
Transition 2400
Early Period 2900
Early Period 3000
Early Period & 3700
Early/Middle Period 3800
No No Transition 3900
Bead Bead 4000
Data Data 4100
Millingstone 8500-5500 BP
Earl y Hol ocene /Pal eoco as tal
???-8500 BP
Figure 1. Dating schemes proposed for beads and for the Central Coast.
All of the materials that were obtained from CA-SLO-51/H, including the beads, were
brought to Cal Poly’s lab for student analysis in the fall, winter, and spring quarters of 2015 and
2016. The shell beads were washed and bagged in individual 2” x 3”, 2 mm plastic bags with
their provenience information and later their catalogue information written on acid-free paper
Spire-lopped and whole shell Olivella beads required measurements for maximum
diameter, maximum length, and maximum diameter of each perforation. Round and tube beads
required measurements for maximum diameter or maximum length and width, maximum
perforation diameter or length and width, thickness, and curvature (for the Olivella beads). Any
anomalous characteristics were also noted, such as existing pigment, fibers wrapped around a
bead, any incising, or if a bead was burnt or broken. Measurements were taken with digital
calipers in millimeters and all specimens were weighed in grams.
Bead information was entered into two Excel spreadsheets, one for the master catalogue
of the entire site and one specifically for beads. The variables that were accounted for in the
bead catalogue were: unit number; catalogue number; depth found; mesh size used while sorting;
class of artifact; material; count; weight; description; comments; maximum diameter of the bead;
perforation size; thickness; bead curvature; length, if necessary; width, if necessary; any other
perforation measurements if applicable; and bead type.
The Olivella beads from CA-SLO-51/H were classified using the Bennyhoff & Hughes
(1987) classification in combination with the shell bead guide and reference collection developed
by Milliken and Schwitalla (2012). The Bennyhoff & Hughes classification method is
comprehensive and is a well-established method for typing Olivella shell beads that many
archaeologists and academics are familiar with.
The Milliken and Schwitalla bead guide and reference collection helped to identify many
of the beads exhibiting perceived anomalous characteristics. I was able to compare the beads of
CA-SLO-51/H with replicas and based on morphological traits, instead of metrics alone, I was
able to classify the abnormal beads.
Non-Olivella beads were classified to a much lesser extent than the Olivella shell beads.
The information used to classify all other beads primarily came from Chester King’s Ph.D.
dissertation (1981) and his report for The National Park Service, Overview of the History of
American Indians in the Santa Monica Mountains (2011). In these documents, King’s focus is
on the cultural resources obtained from Chumash sites in the Santa Barbara Channel and Santa
Monica Mountains, however, considering the lack of available bead data from Northern
Chumash areas and that artifact assemblages in San Luis Obispo County are most consistent with
other Santa Barbara Channel assemblages, King’s documents are sufficient resources for the
brief classification of non-Olivella beads that follows.
For the polished stone beads found at CA-SLO-51/H, Kings (1990; 2011) interpretations
were utilized but were not entirely sufficient for this analysis. King includes beads made of a
talc schist and chlorite schist in the same category of polished stone beads. The polished stone
beads of CA-SLO-51/H have been treated the same considering that the stone material hasn’t
been determined with certainty but looks to be made of a talc schist, or steatite. However, there
were multiple distinct polished stone beads when considering shape and metrics. Therefore, the
report written by Mikkelsen, Hildebrandt, and Jones (2000), “Adaptations on the Shores of
Morro Bay Estuary: Excavations at Site CA-SLO-165, Morro Bay, California,” was referenced
when developing a classification scheme for the polished stone beads. Mikkelsen et al. (2000)
scheme was adopted and modified to best represent the variability of polished stone beads found
at CA-SLO-51/H.
A total of 349 potential beads and Olivella shell specimens was recovered during the
excavations and surface collection at CA-SLO-51/H. Of the 349 specimens, 302 beads were
identified and classified. The rest of the materials were either categorized as being Olivella
detritus, whole Olivella shells, bead fragments, bead blanks, or not being bead-related.
Based on the distribution of the control units and the bead types and amounts, two
temporal components were identified from the excavation materials at the site. The first
component included Control Units 1-4 and was dominated by Late Period beads. Component 2
consisted of control Units 5 and 6 and the column sample from Unit 6. The beads found within
Component 2 contained the majority of post-contact beads. The surface collection finds were
considered a separate Component 3. From Units 1-4, 70 beads were recovered. Units 5 and 6
produced 188, including from the column sample of Unit 6. Lastly, 44 beads were recovered
from the surface collection.
Fortunately, because there were so many different bead types indicative of periods
ranging from Early to Historic and found in association with each other, we were able to
conclude that the integrity of the site had been compromised to a significant degree. Component
1 was established within the agricultural field, bordering Pecho Creek, and was far less intact
than Component 2, located outside of the agricultural field. Due to the disturbed nature of the
site, any correlation between depth and bead types cannot be identified and therefore is not
indicated in the following results.
Table 1. Olivella bead types and amounts per component.
A total of 247 classifiable Olivella biplicata shell beads (Table 1) was recovered from
CA-SLO-51/H. Component 1 produced 54 Olivella shell beads, component 2 produced 152
Olivella beads, and component 3 (surface) produced 41 Olivella beads.
The following classification of Olivella shell beads from CA-SLO-51/H is derived from
the standardized classification scheme developed by Bennyhoff and Hughes (1987).
Spire-lopped, Class A (n = 45)
Comp 1
Comp 2
Comp 3
*one H with no subtype included in sums
Spire-lopped beads are nearly complete Olivella shells except that the top of the shell,
called the spire, has been removed. Removing the spire can be accomplished by breaking,
grinding or by natural processes. Given the context of CA-SLO-51/H, we can only assume that
all of the Olivella shells missing spires were created with the purpose of producing a bead.
There are three size distinctions of Class A beads based on the maximum diameter of the shell.
Small: 3.0-
6.5 mm; Medium: 6.51-9.5 mm; Large: 9.51-14.0. Within Class A, there are 6 subdivisions. At
CA-SLO-51/H specimens representing A1, A4, and A5 were recovered (Figure 3).
A1 Simple Spire-lopped.
Attributes: Simple spire-lopped, or A1, beads are characterized by a missing spire.
Distribution: There were 40 A1 beads found at CA-SLO-51/H. Each of the units
produced A1 beads ranging from small to large with the exception of Units 3 and 4 which did not
produce A1a (small) or A1c (large) types. From the surface collection, 2 A1b (medium) beads
were recovered as well as 22 A1c beads.
Temporal Significance: A1 beads can occur in any time period.
A4 Punched Spire-lopped
Attributes: A4 beads are spire-lopped Olivella beads and have a perforation in the
body of the shell that is not drilled, but punched.
Distribution: There were four A4 beads found in Units 3-6. All of the specimens were
A4c beads, or large A4 beads. None were recovered in the surface collection or column sample.
Temporal Significance: uncertain.
A5 Applique Spire-lopped
Attributes: A5, or applique spire-lopped, beads are spire-lopped beads with the side
of the body ground flat and diagonally to the shell axis.
Distribution: Only one A5c (Figure 3. Specimen 5-116) bead was recovered from Unit
Figure 3. Class A beads. From left to right A1 simple spire-
lopped, A4 punched spire-lopped, and A5 applique spire-lopped.
Temporal Significance: A5 beads are likely markers for the Protohistoric and
Historic Periods in San Luis Obispo County.
End Ground, Class B (n = 1)
B3 Barrel
Attributes: Barrel/B3 (Figure 4) beads are from Class B, or end-ground. B beads lack
a spire and parts of the aperture have been removed. Class B beads have the same categorical
sizes as Class A beads. B3 types are characterized by excessive grinding at the base of the shell,
giving the bead its maximum diameter towards the middle of the shell.
Distribution: One barrel (Figure 4. Specimen 5-115) bead was found at CA-SLO-51/H,
in Unit 5.
Temporal Significance: These beads are not good temporal indicators.
Figure 4. B3 barrel bead.
Split, Class C (n = 1)
C2 Split Drilled
Attributes: These are half-shell beads sometimes with a shelf and the all of the edges
are ground. The bead found at CA-SLO-51/H that most resembles a C bead is round and has
shelf remnants. The bead, Specimen 5-25, is indistinguishable between a C1, beveled, or a C2,
split drilled bead because of measurement overlap and morphological inconsistencies. Initially,
this bead was thought to be from the E class but after consulting with Brian Barbier, of UCSB,
he was able to confirm that it is in fact a C, and mostly resembled the C2 type.
Distribution: A single split bead was found in Unit 5.
Temporal Significance: C beads are markers for the Middle Period. C1
indicates Early/Middle Transition, while C2 is a marker for the early Middle Period in the San
Francisco Bay area and terminal Middle Period in the Delta area.
Lipped, Class E (n = 34)
Class E beads are oval to round beads produced from the upper callus of the Olivella
shell and portions of the body whorl. The upper callus is also referred to the inner lip, hence the
name of the class. Class E beads developed later from cupped beads, Class K. There are three
subdivisions of Class E beads (Figure 5) and further subdivisions within those subclasses exist.
E1 Thin Lipped
Attributes: Class E1 beads are thin lipped and can be round or oval in shape.
Distribution: Seventeen E1 beads were found in the units and on the surface during the
surface collection of the field: one each in Units 1, 2, and 4; two in both Units 3 and 6; six in
Unit 5; and four from the surface collection; no E1 beads were found in the column sample.
Temporal Significance: E1 beads are markers of Phase 2 of the Late Period.
E2 Thick Lipped
Attributes: E2 beads are thick lipped but there are lipless and shelved varieties within
the type.
Distribution: There were 13 E2 beads found in total; five from Unit 5; five found in
Unit 6, not including the column sample; three were found on the surface.
Temporal Significane: E2 beads represent Phase 2 of the Late Period, except E2a4
(full lipped and shelved) and E2b (deep lipped) beads persist into the Historic Period.
Figure 5. Class E beads. From left to right E1 thin lipped,
E2 thick lipped, and E3 large lipped.
E3 Large Lipped
Attributes: E3 beads are large lipped and oval in shape. The modal size of E3s are
larger than E1 and E2 types. The modal size of class E beads increased over time.
Distribution: Four E3 beads were recovered; one each from Unit 5 and on the surface;
two were found in Unit 6; no E3 beads were found in the column sample.
Temporal Significance: E3 beads are most common during the Historic
Saucer, Class G (n = 57)
Saucers are shallow, circular beads with slight curvature and made from the shell wall.
Saucers edges are ground. There are 6 types of Class G beads, based on their diameters and
perforation sizes.
G1 Tiny Saucer
Attributes: G1 types (Figure 6. Specimen 2-45) are tiny saucers. These beads are
small, their diameters ranging between 2.0 and 5.0 mm, and are nearly flat.
Distribution: G1 beads were the most commonly recovered bead at the site. There were
53 found in total: three in Unit 1; two each in Unit 2 and Unit 3; one in Unit 4, ten in Unit 5,
thirty in Unit 6; three in the column sample; two were found during the surface collection. All
beads recovered from the column sample were G1 beads.
Temporal Significance: G1 types can occur during any period of time.
G2 Normal Saucer
Attributes: The G2 type (Figure 6. Specimen 5-37) is a normal saucer. Their
diameters are nearly uniform, between 5.0 and 10.0 mm, and were ground by stringing multiple
beads and rolling them on a surface.
Distribution: There were three G2 beads recovered from the site: one in Unit 5; one in
Unit 6; and one during the surface collection.
Temporal Significance: G2s are markers of the Middle Period with an emphasis in
the early phases of that period (Groza et al. 2011).
G3 Ring
Attributes: G3 (Figure 6. Specimen 6-16), or rings, are distinct from other G types
because of their large perforation size; the mode being 3 mm, whereas other G type perforations
are ~ 2mm.
Figure 6. Class G beads. From left to right G1 tiny saucer,
G3 ring, and G2 normal saucer.
Distribution: Only one G3 type was found, in Unit 6.
Temporal Significance: G3 beads are markers of the Middle Period with an
emphasis in the early phases of that period (Groza et al. 2011).
Disk, Class H (n = 8)
Disks are shallow, circular beads made from the shell wall. They have distinctly small
perforations from their being made from metal needle drills as opposed to stone. There is a
correlation between increases in size with grinding to chipping over time.
Eight total beads were identified from the units, however one bead from Unit 6 broke
while taking metrics. The bead had experienced a degree of burning and therefore was prone to
breakage. It was determined to be an H based on the appearance of the perforation size before it
broke. The bead’s edges were degraded but as to whether or not this occurred during the time it
was manufactured or when it was burned is unknown. I’ve simply indicated that the bead is an
H type and it is not included below.
H1 Ground Disk
Figure 7. Class H beads. From left to right H1 ground disk
and H2 rough disk.
Attributes: H1 types (Figure 7. Specimen 3-45) have either ground or semi-ground
Distribution: One H1 bead was found in Unit 2 as well as in Unit 3; two each were
found in Units 5 and 6.
Temporal Significance: H1 beads occur during the Mission Period.
H2 Rough Disk
Attributes: H2 beads (Figure 7. Specimen 5-137) have rough edges that have been
Distribution: Only one H2 bead was found in Unit 6.
Temporal Significance: H2 beads occur during the Mission Period.
Callus, Class K (n = 100)
Cupped beads are small, thick, circular beads made from the upper callus of the Olivella shell.
They are ancestral to the E class. Examples of K beads are shown in Figure 8.
Figure 8. Class K beads. From left to right a K1 cupped bead,
two K2 bushings, and two K3 cylinders.
K1 Cupped
Attributes: K1 beads are thick and cupped. They are the largest Class of K, their
diameters being between 3.0 and 7.0 mm. Occasionally, these beads are found incised with
hatching or cross-hatching marks.
Distribution: 43 K1 beads were recovered from all of the units and on the surface, but
none from the column sample. Five were from Unit 1; two were from Unit 2; nine from Unit 3;
two from Unit 4; eight from Unit 5, fifteen from Unit 6; two came from the surface collection.
Temporal Significance: K1 beads are markers for Phases 1 and 2 of the Late
K2 Bushing
Attributes: K2, or bushings, are thin. They were strung as beads and as bushings in
between other beads. Their diameter range is between 3.0 and 4.0 mm.
Distribution: 42 K2 beads were recovered at CA-SLO-51/H. There were four from unit
2; three from Unit 4; fourteen from Unit 5; eighteen from Unit 6; three came from the surface
Temporal Significance: K2 beads are markers for Phases 1 and 2 of the Late Period.
K3 Cylinder
Attributes: K3/Cylinder beads are thick and smaller in diameter than K1 and K2
types, between 2.0 and 3.0 mm. The cylindrical perforations are also larger than the others
which makes K3 bead walls thinner than K1 and K2. K3 beads are sometimes incised with
hatching or cross hatching.
Distribution: 15 K3 beads were identified four of the units. Units 2 and 5 both had
three; Unit 6 had eight; during the surface collection only 1 K3 was recovered.
Temporal Significance: K3 beads are markers for Phases 1 and 2 of the Late
Whole Shell, Class O (n = 1)
O4 Double-Punched Whole Shell
Attributes: O beads are whole Olivella shells that have been perforated, commonly in
the body whorl of the shell. Double-punched whole shell beads, or O4 beads, have two
Figure 9. A double-punched whole shell.
perforations on opposite sides of the body whorl. There are three size distinctions which are the
same as Class A beads.
Distribution: One O4c bead (Figure 9. Specimen S-42) was found during the surface
Temporal Significance: O4 beads represent the Early Period on SCrI-3.
Olivella Whole Shells and Detritus
Each of the control units, the column sample and the field surface produced amounts of
Olivella whole shells and detritus. There were specimens with missing spires that were
indeterminable as beads and were not included within the Spire-lopped, Class A beads. These
specimens are fragmented and their morphology is not clearly representative of an Olivella bead
type, as it was indeterminate whether their missing spires were anthropogenic or the result of
natural processes.
Whole Shells Twelve whole Olivella shells were recovered from CA-SLO-51/H. Two each
came from the Units 1, 3, and 4; one came from Unit 5; five came from Unit 6.
Detritus All of the detritus, except for one specimen, was collected from Components 1
and 3 of the site (Units 1-4 and the surface collection). The single specimen, 6-104, is a possible
bead and not detritus, at all. It’s missing its spire and part of the penultimate whorl. If the
specimen is in fact a bead it would be an A1a type. It’s possible that the lack of any detritus
within Component 2, where there is an abundance of many other beads and types, simply
accounts for that area not being subject to plowing.
Thirty-four faunal beads, not belonging to the olivellidae family have been identified
from CA-SLO-51/H. What follows is a description of those beads according to their species,
amounts, and any temporal information that applies. Included are two beads, of an undetermined
faunal material.
Clam Beads (n=4)
Four beads made of clam shell of undetermined species were obtained from CA-SLO-
51/H. All four were disks. Previous efforts for classifying clam shell disk beads are meager.
Many have noted metrics for clam disk beads and avoided any attempt at classifying the beads.
However, Von Der Porten et al. (2014) sought to remedy the issue of clam shell classification and
dating. According to them, clam shell disk beads (CSDB) can be classified into three types
based on face diameter: A1 diameters measure between 3 and 8 mm; A2, between 9 and 16 mm;
A3, >16 mm face diameter.
Figure 10. Clam shell disk beads.
For the purposes of this paper and because three of the four beads are nearly uniform in
size and distinct from the fourth bead, Von Der Porten et al.’s (2014) classification method has
been applied. Specimens 2-44 (Figure 10), from Unit 2, and 4-13 and 4-67, from Unit 4, can be
categorized as type A1 CSDB. Specimen CS-1 (Figure 10) is an A2 CSDB. Von Der Porten et
al. assign CDSB types A1 and A2 to the Late Period. Specifically A1 is associated with phase 2a
and A2 with phase 2b of the Late Period.
King (1981; 2011) places Chumash clam disk beads within two periods, the early and
Clam disc and cylinder beads were not used in the Santa Barbara Channel during the Middle Period
following Phase M1. They were again made and used during the Late Period. Clam disc and cylinder beads
were made by chipping out disc or cylinder shaped pieces, where the surfaces to be drilled in were the
naturally flat ventral and dorsal faces of the clam shell. These were drilled and the circumferences were
then smoothed by grinding (Figure 7.44). Clam cylinder and tube beads were made from Pismo Clam
(Tivela stultorum) shells; some thinner disc beads may have been made from shells of other species (King
Associated with Specimen 2-44 (Figure 10) was a fibrous material that wraps around a
portion of the bead wall. Specimen 4-13 is burnt and black in color.
Limpet Rings (n = 13)
Thirteen limpet rings were recovered from all of the units and from the surface collection.
A single limpet ring was found in Unit 1; three were recovered from Unit 2; a limpet ring was
found in Units 3, 4, and 5; three limpet rings each were recovered from both Unit 6 and the
surface collection.
The maximum lengths of the limpet rings ranged from 9.6 mm and 15.05 mm, with an
average of 11.85 mm. The maximum widths ranged from 5.9 mm to 12.78 mm, with an average
of 8.5 mm. The maximum lengths of the perforations ranged from 4.64 mm to 7.32 mm and
averaged 5.36 mm. The maximum widths for the perforations were between 1.91 mm and 3.99
mm and 2.89 mm was the average.
Limpet rings (Megathura crenulata and Fisurella volcano) occur during the Middle and
Late Periods but are most common during the late phases of the Middle Period (King 1981;
Abalone Disks (n = 11)
Epidermis Disks (n = 10) All ten abalone epidermis beads (Figure 11) that were recovered
from CA-SLO-51/H came from Component 2: two from Unit 5 and seven from Unit 6.
All of the epidermis beads are from the red abalone species, Haliotis rufescens, as
indicated by the color of the beads. Red abalone epidermis disk beads are more common than
those from black abalone, Haliotis cracherodii, which are greenish in color. Abalone epidermis
disk beads were often used in necklaces and in combination with other bead types including:
Figure 11. Abalone epidermis disk bead.
Olivella cupped, cylinder, and disk beads; columella beads; clam disk beads; and other abalone
ornaments. Furthermore, abalone epidermis disk beads were the only beads, outside of other
Olivella callus and columella beads, that were strung with Olivella cupped beads (King 1981;
2011). It is suggested by the burial patterns at the Medea Creek cemetery (CA-LAN-243) that
abalone epidermis beads were worn by those that inherited political power (King 2011: 220).
Epidermis beads are frequently found in Late Period sites and are most commonly
associated with phases 2 and 3 of the Late Period.
Nacre Disks (n = 1 ) Small disk beads made from the nacre (Figure 12), sometimes referred to
as mother of pearl, of the abalone shell and lacking any epidermis, such as the one found in Unit
3, are infrequently recovered from Chumash sites in the Santa Barbara channel. According to
King (2011) abalone nacre are most commonly associated with phases M1 and M2 of the Middle
Period and become less common and ceasing before phase M5.
Dentalium (n = 4)
Four fragmented/modified Dentalium shells were extracted during the sorting process. A
single Dentalium fragment came from Unit 4 and the remaining three came from Unit 6. Judging
Figure 12. Abalone nacre disk bead.
by the lack of ridges that are characteristic to Dentalium neohexagonum, the specimens are likely
of the Dentalium pretiosum species.
D. pretiosum beads were most widely utilized during the Early Period and into phase M1
of the Middle Period of King’s (1981) chronology. These shells were used as currency during
historic times from northwest California to Alaska. D. pretiosum were smaller and rarer further
south on the coast of California and were infrequently used as beads in the Santa Barbara
Channel though they occasionally occur in the archaeological record associated with the Late
Period and into the Historic Period (King 1981; 2011).
Indeterminate Beads
Two beads of unknown material were recovered from Unit 6. Specimen 6-168 is small,
measuring 3.67 mm in diameter. The bead is 3.41mm at its thickest and thins to 2.59 mm at the
thinnest portion. The perforation is central, thin walls, and it appears to be biconically drilled.
The color is tan. It is unknown as to what material this bead is manufactured from.
Specimen 6-197 is a small bead of similar size to 6-168 but the material is different. The
diameter is 3.07 mm. The thickest portion of the bead is 2.92 mm and the thinnest measures 2.55
mm. The perforation is off-centered and it’s been biconically drilled. The color is greyish. The
bead appears to be made of shell, possibly mussel. There is visible layering on the outer bead
walls indicative of shell.
Shell Bead Blanks.
Three specimens, and possibly a fourth, were recovered from Control Unit 6 that indicate
shell bead manufacturing at CA-SLO-51/H. Whether or not CS-54 is either a broken bead or one
that broke during the process of its creation is indeterminable. Specimen 6-219 (Figure 13) is a
made of mussel, Mytilus californianus, while the other three specimens are of red abalone,
Haliotis rufescens. Both species would have been locally available at the site.
According to King (2011), Mussel disks were made during the Middle and Late Periods.
They were commonly strung together with Olivella wall beads, likely because of the contrast
effect. At Madea Creek, Mussel beads were thought to be associated with those who inherited
political power, not unlike red abalone epidermis beads (King 1981; 2011).
Figure 13. Shell bead blanks. From left to right a mussel
shell bead blank and two red abalone epidermis bead blanks.
Twelve polished stone beads (Figure 14), likely made of chlorite or talc schists, were
recovered from CA-SLO-51/H. King (1981; 2011) considers beads made of chlorite schists and
talc schists similar in appearance and context and we have done the same here. It is not known
for certain as to which mineral material the beads are made of, but the beads were initially
identified as steatite and that identification has remained in place based on steatite beads from
similar assemblages. Steatite, sometimes referred to as soapstone, is a soft metamorphic rock
composed of a talc schist. Polished stone beads can occur during any time, however chlorite
schist and talc schist beads are mostly associated with the Middle and Late Periods; their sizes
decreasing in time as other bead types became more popular. The colors of the polished stone
beads of CA-SLO-51/H, range from black to grey. The beads have been categorized by shape
and size, based on an adaptation of the categorization provided by Mikkelsen et al. (2000).
Figure 14. Polished stone beads.
Disk < 0.65 mm thickness/diameter ratio
Barrel 0.65-1.45 mm thickness/diameter ratio
Globular bead with rounded edges and no flat surfaces
Small 0-5 mm diameter
Medium 5-9 mm diameter
Large > 9 mm diameter
Disk (n= 9)
Small Seven of the nine disks were small: one from Unit 3; two from Unit 5; and four
from Unit 6.
Medium One medium disk was recovered from Unit 6.
Large One large disk was found in Unit 1.
Barrel (n= 2)
Two small barrel beads were recovered from Units 3 and 6.
Globular (n= 1)
One large globular bead was found in Unit 5.
A total of nine glass beads was found at CA-SLO-51/H: two from Unit 3 and the rest
from Unit 6. Glass beads were brought to California largely by Spanish colonizers. They were
widely used by the Chumash between the years 1770 and 1800. Glass beads quickly became a
dominant form of currency throughout California. Their introduction, compounded by the
termination of cupped Olivella beads, had disastrous effects on the shell bead manufacturing
industry in the Santa Barbara Channel (King 1981, 2011; Gamble 2008). Glass bead value
decreased over time as their abundance increased into the Mission Period. After ~1800, when
the missions had obtained considerable social control over native populations, the use of glass
beads began to decline while shell beads began to dominate once again (King 1981; 2011).
Unfortunately, because of the processes of deflation on the portion of the site located
within the agricultural field, much of the vertical stratigraphic integrity was lost at Component 1.
The excavation volume at Component 1 was 4 m3, whereas, 1.22 m3 was excavated from the
second component. Despite the difference in the volume excavated, Component 1 contained 118
less beads recovered than Component 2. This tells us that a whole lot of data was likely
destroyed and that Component 2 has been better preserved, considering the amount of data
pulled from this modest volume of excavated dirt. We cannot know the original deposition and
association of the beads. They appear chaotically strewn and mixed throughout all of the
components. Were they once associated with burials? There is no evidence to support that
conclusion. No burials were identified during the Cal Poly Field School excavations and
Greenwood (1972) identified only one. However, that is not to say they don’t exist.
Greenwood’s burial was discovered below 50 cm and units were purposefully dug to 50 cm
depths during the Cal Poly field investigations to avoid any potential burials.
In addition to the beads, the rest of the recovered materials from the site appear to
represent a Chumash village site, specifically the village of Tstyiwi. The 2015 excavation
performed at CA-SLO51/H was a modest one, especially when compared to other nearby
excavations. For example, 216.5 m3 were excavated from 8 sites during the Los Osos Sewer
Project, about 15 kilometers away. Only 5.22 m3 were excavated from CA-SLO-51/H. Yet the
amount of beads recovered during the Los Osos Sewer Project was 199 and included 17 types of
beads, spanning an occupation from the Early though the Late Period (Gibson 2013). That
means the Los Osos Sewer Project produced less than one bead per cubic meter, but at CA-SLO-
51/H, 57.85 beads were recovered per cubic meter which included at least 27 bead types,
representing time periods that ranged from the Early and Early/Middle Transition to post-contact.
This could suggest that CA-SLO-51/H was a more intensely occupied site than the other sites in
the nearby vicinity. This is supported by the ethnographic accounts of the location of Tstyiwi and
linguistic evidence. Tstyiwi literally translates to breast, as does the Spanish word pecho, which
Table 2. Diagnostic bead types and amounts per component.
is the name of the rancho where CA-SLO-51/H is situated (Greenwood 1972; Jones, personal
communication 2015).
The bead data from CA-SLO-51/H gives us an indication about the span of activities
there (Table 2). The Bead assemblage from CA-SLO-51/H indicates an occupation spanning
from the Early Period to post-contact. However, only one bead (Figure 9) is diagnostic of the
Early Period and Early/Middle Transition and a few examples could be indicative of the Middle
Period. Beads from the Late Period through to post-contact dominate the site and there is an
emphasis of peak occupation during the Late Period (Jones and Waugh 1995).
Diagnostic Type
Comp 1
Comp 2
Comp 3
Clam disk
Limpet ring
Abalone epidermis
Abalone nacre
There is a possibility that CA-SLO-51/H has a Millingstone component and even an
Early Holocene/Paleocoastal component. However, beads diagnostic of those periods of time
have yet to be identified.
The only diagnostic Early and Early/Middle Transition bead recovered was the O4 bead
found during the surface collection of the site. As previously explained, Component 3 was
arbitrarily assigned and consisted of items found during the surface collection. The rest of the
beads recovered from the 3rd component have not been included in the following conclusions
because the archaeology is biased towards large, visible beads and does not accurately illustrate
patterns in the archaeological record. The five clam shell disk beads (CSDB) could indicate the
Early Period and Early/Middle Transition (for the Central Coast), however their condition
implies a more recent manufacturing and, supported by the Von der Porten et al. (2014) typology
for CDSB, I conclude that they were manufactured during the Late Period.
Middle Period beads were found at CA-SLO-51/H. Determining the number of those
beads manufactured during that time is problematic given that limpet rings and steatite beads
occur in both the Middle and Late Periods. Due to this fact, their counts from the total Middle
Period beads and Late Period beads were omitted, as well as from the total number of beads from
Components 1 and 2 so that more accurate figures can be established. The percent of Middle
Period beads at CA-SLO-51/H was 3.18%. Thus, Middle Period beads are represented at CA-
SLO-51/H, but represent less than 5% of the diagnostic bead assemblage.
Late Period beads dominate CA-SLO-51/H, and make up 83.85% of the total diagnostic
beads from both components. At the least, this tells us that many of the beads were
manufactured during the Late Period and represent a period of time when the village of Tstyiwi
was at its peak of cultural complexity.
The post-contact beads found at the site largely came from Component 2. Of the
diagnostic beads from Component 2, 14.78% were historic, while 9.52% from Component 1
were historic. Because there was a higher percentage of historic beads at Component 2 and a
higher percentage of Late Period beads at Component 1, it was possible to make a distinction
between the two components. Component 1 had a higher frequency of Late Period beads and a
lower frequency of post-contact beads. Therefore Component 1 indicates a more intensified Late
Period occupation and Component 2 indicates more post-contact activity. Evidence for that is
supported by the massive amounts of fish bone recovered from Component 2, signifying an
intensification of marine resources at the site in response to seeking isolated refuge from
invading foreigners (Jones, personal communication 2015).
Olivella detritus was recovered from Component 1 and from the surface collection. Two
specimens were found in Component 2, but those specimens appear more to be broken Olivella
shell beads, with spires removed and bottom halves broken off. They were not included in the
results section of this paper because it is indeterminable whether or not they were end-ground or
Class A beads. Given that there is Olivella shell detritus in Component 1 and on the surface, this
could mean at least two things: The shells could have been fragmented due to the plowing
activities at the site and/or there was Olivella shell manufacturing taking place at CA-SLO-51/H.
The first explanation is favored for this paper. Supporting that explanation is the lack of any
detritus found at Component 2 because it is situated outside of the agricultural field. I speculate
that if there was Olivella shell bead manufacturing going on, it would have been during the Late
Period, when K beads were valued as currency, and are the most plentiful type found at the site.
However this is controversial because many assert that nearly all of the Olivella shell beads
made after 650 B.P. were manufactured on the Northern Channel Islands (Arnold and Walsh
One supporting line of evidence supporting on-site bead manufacturing is the presence of
bead drills. Greenwood (1972) noted 9 chert drills at CA-SLO-51/H, however, she didn’t
indicate what they were used for. Edgeware analysis was conducted on three bead drills found
during Cal Poly’s 2015 excavations which indicated that two were in fact used on shell. Drills,
therefore, are present at CA-SLO-51/H, yet whether or not the drills were for the purpose of
making Olivella shell bead money is not known.
We can tell that the Indians did manufacture their own abalone (Haliotis rufescens)
epidermis beads and mussel (Mytilus californianus) beads. We know this from the two, and
possibly a third, abalone epidermis bead blanks and one mussel bead blank, all recovered from
Unit 6. King (1981; 2011) concludes that, in the Santa Barbara Channel, mussel disks are
indicative of the Middle and Late Periods and red abalone epidermis beads were produced during
the Late Period. He noticed that graves containing mussel and red abalone epidermis beads were
associated with those who had inherited power. It is proposed here that we are seeing a different
pattern at CA-SLO-51/H. Because Component 2 contains 17 (80.9%) of the 21 beads diagnostic
of the Historic Period, and because no other mussel disks, abalone epidermis beads or blanks
were recovered from the Late Period component (Component 1), it is proposed here that the
beads and blanks are post-contact. It is further proposed that the epidermis beads and blanks
found at CA-SLO-51/H are the result of the Pecho Coast Chumash being isolated to that area,
thus being forced to exploit local resources to manufacture their beads. Who those beads were
made for is unknown, however, this interpretation suggests that the abalone epidermis beads and
blanks represent a time when the villagers of Tstyiwi were resisting subjugation and the
oppression of their culture brought about by the Mission system as opposed to representing a
period of time when the Chumash were at a cultural peak, during the Late Period.
CA-SLO-51/H reached its highest cultural complexity during the Late Period as
evidenced by the increase of cultural materials, including beads, present at the site. This pattern
is consistent with the Santa Barbara Channel (Arnold 1992; Arnold and Walsh 2010; Bettinger
2015; Gamble 2008; Kennet and Kennet 2000). However, during the Protohistoric Period on the
Central Coast, differences with the Channel emerge when interpreting the red abalone epidermis
and mussel beads. The information granted by specific bead types and fish bone data (Jones,
personal communication 2015) represents a shift in behavior as a result of coping with
Europeans threatening the lifeways for the Indians at Tstyiwi. Those on the Pecho Coast were
less numerous and presumably less socially and politically complex than their southern relatives.
It would be illuminating to know how related they groups were from one another, given that the
Northern Chumash are lumped in with those in the Santa Barbara Channel. Separate dating
schemes are applied to both areas (Jones and Waugh 1995; King 1981, 2011) and perhaps further
indication of differences can be gleaned from the assemblage of bead types of the two places.
Future research is needed in order to answer that complex question. A possibly fruitful avenue
of inquiry could be future bead analyses and the reexamination of assemblages from nearby sites
to look for any patterns that exist that would link red abalone epidermis beads as well as mussel
disk beads with the Protohistoric Period.
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Society for California Archaeology 28: 267-281.
Full-text available
Valencina de la Concepción-Castilleja de Guzmán Archaeological Zone is a major resource for the study of the Coper Age in South-west Europe. Within this mega-site, numerous tholos-type constructions have been found which contained a large number of artefacts and organic remains (human and animal bones, botanical residues, etc). A major category are the perforated beads found around the human bodies inhumed inside the Large Chamber of the Montelirio tholos. This masters dissertation focuses in the study of those beads through their comparison with similar productions documented among different prehistoric societies throughout the planet. Secondly, this work also includes the characterisation of the beads from the point of view of its raw material, and by an experimental archaeology trial, the analysis of the technical processes used in its manufacture.
Orderly Anarchy delivers a provocative and innovative reexamination of sociopolitical evolution among Native American groups in California, a region known for its wealth of prehistoric languages, populations, and cultural adaptations. Scholars have tended to emphasize the development ofsocial complexity and inequality to explain this diversity. Robert L. Bettinger argues instead that "orderly anarchy," the emergence of small, autonomous groups, provided a crucial strategy in social organization. Drawing on ethnographic and archaeological data and evolutionary, economic, and anthropological theory, he shows that these small groups devised diverse solutions to environmental, technological, and social obstacles to the intensified use of resources. This book revises our understanding of how California became the most densely populated landscape in aboriginal North America.
When Spanish explorers and missionaries came onto Southern California's shores in 1769, they encountered the large towns and villages of the Chumash, a people who at that time were among the most advanced hunter-gatherer societies in the world. The Spanish were entertained and fed at lavish feasts hosted by chiefs who ruled over the settlements and who participated in extensive social and economic networks. In this first modern synthesis of data from the Chumash heartland, Lynn H. Gamble weaves together multiple sources of evidence to re-create the rich tapestry of Chumash society. Drawing from archaeology, historical documents, ethnography, and ecology, she describes daily life in the large mainland towns, focusing on Chumash culture, household organization, politics, economy, warfare, and more.
The Chumash of the Santa Barbara Channel region were among the most economically and politically complex hunter-gatherer cultures of the New World. In recent decades, rich ethnohistorical documents pertaining to Chumash culture were analyzed, thus providing an excellent foundation for understanding the simple chiefdom that was in place as explorers and missionaries arrived in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. Current archaeological research on the Channel Islands focuses on the emergence of ranked society in Chumash prehistory, with special emphasis on political developments and environmental stresses that contributed to cultural evolution. A wide range of data acquired from the Channel Islands illuminates a new model of the rise of complexity. This model of chiefdom emergence is based on population-resource imbalances, political opportunism, and the manipulation of labor by rising elites. Diverse lines of evidence must be employed to evaluate the timing, causes, and consequences of increasing complexity.
Archaeological data indicates that socially and politically complex hunter-gatherer societies had become well established on the southern California coast by A.D. 1300. Major developmental changes in sociopolitical complexity are generally considered to have taken place rapidly between AD 1150 and 1300. Recently, two hypotheses have been proposed to account for this rapid cultural evolution, both invoking stressful climatic conditions as an important trigger for cultural change. One suggests that the sociopolitical development was stimulated, in part, by multiple marine and terrestrial subsistence stresses, particularly low marine productivity resulting from regional warming. The other suggests that these developments were largely driven by decreases in terrestrial productivity and water availability linked to drought. Resolution of this debate has been hampered by insufficient paleoclimatic and archaeological data. We present a well-dated, relatively high resolution (25-year intervals) oxygen isotopic marine climate record and new archaeological data from the Northern Channel Islands for the last 3,000 years. These data strongly suggest that changes in human behavior associated with increasing cultural complexity: 1) accelerated after A.D. 500 and became dominant by A.D. 1300, 2) occurred during one of the coldest and most unstable marine climatic intervals of the Holocene (A.D. 450-1300), and 3) coincided with cool, dry terrestrial conditions. Incipient cultural complexity emerged during an interval marked by inferred high marine productivity, reduced terrestrial food and water availability, and large, unpredictable variations in terrestrial resource availability. Our records suggest a strong relationship during this time between climatically induced changes in environmental conditions and social, political, and economic responses, including the emergence of more intensified fishing, and increased sedentism, violence, and trade.
Franklin Fenenga 1939 An Introduction to the Archaeology of Central California. Sacramento: Sacramento Junior College, Department of Anthropology
  • Jeremiah Lillard
  • Robert Heizer
Lillard, Jeremiah, Robert Heizer, Franklin Fenenga 1939 An Introduction to the Archaeology of Central California. Sacramento: Sacramento Junior College, Department of Anthropology, Bulletin 1.
Pacific Legacy Historic Preservation (Organization), & Society for California Archaeology
  • Randy Milliken
  • Al Schwitalla
Milliken, Randy and Al Schwitalla, Pacific Legacy Historic Preservation (Organization), & Society for California Archaeology.