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Colonized as early as 13,500 years ago, the Northern Channel Islands of California offer some of the earliest evidence of human habitation along the west coast of North America. The Chumash people who lived on these islands are considered to be among the most socially and politically complex hunter-gatherers in the world. The Island Chumash provides a powerful and innovative synthesis of the cultural and environmental history of the chain of islands. Douglas J. Kennett shows that the trends in cultural elaboration were, in part, set into motion by a series of dramatic environmental events that were the catalyst for the unprecedented social and political complexity observed historically.
Study Area, Climate Change and Emergent Cultural Complexity, Note on Chronology
Human Behavioral Ecology and Maritime Societies
Maritime Foraging Strategies, Diet Choice in Maritime Settings, Return Rates for Marine Resources, Central Place Foraging and Maritime Foragers, Intensification and the Ideal Free Distribution, Competition and the Formation of Social Hierarchies in Coastal Settings, Summary
General Physiography, Geology, Climate, Hydrology, Terrestrial Resources-Spatial Distribution, Marine Resources-Spatial Distribution, Seasonal Variability, Short-Term Climatic Variability, Paleoenvironment, Sea-level, Marine Climate History, Terrestrial Climate History, Summary
The Ethnohistoric Record, Chumash Population Levels, Subsistence, Settlement, Sexual Division of Labor, Sociopolitical Organization, Exchange and Specialization, Warfare and Territoriality, Ethnohistoric Summary, The Prehistoric Record, Chronology, Cultural Overview, Development of Sociopolitical Complexity, Punctuated Cultural Development, Prehistoric Summary
Historic Island Communities
Historic Island Villages, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa Island, San Miguel Island, Geographic Analysis, Viewshed Analysis, Rank-Size Analysis,Summary
Terminal Pleistocene to Middle Holocene Records
Terminal Pleistocene Record, Early Holocene Record, Middle Holocene Record
Population Growth and Demographic Expansion, Territoriality and Warfare, Economic Intensificaton, Increases in Trade and Exchange, Emergent Sociopolitical Complexity
Central Place Foraging, Intensification and the Ideal Free Distribution, Competition and the Formation of Social Hierarchies
Douglas J. Kennett is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oregon.
"Archaeologists will find this data-packed volume the newest, best, and most even-handed synthesis of Channel Islands Chumash research."
– Roberta S. Greenwood, California History
"The Island Chumash is a convincing analysis of cultural and economic change [...] an important book that has a far broader application than the narrow confines of California archaeology."
– Brian Fagan, Journal Of Field Archaeology
"The most important study to come out of the Chumash area, and one of the best examples of research on culture change in contemporary archaeology."
– L. Mark Raab, coeditor of Prehistoric California
"A contribution that is remarkable in its scope, quality, and importance."
– Terry L. Jones, coeditor of Catalysts to Complexity
"The most comprehensive effort yet made to apply the theoretical framework of behavioral ecology to a problem in human prehistory. The result is not only an excellent demonstration of the power of the approach but a major contribution to the pre-European history of California."
– James O'Connell, University of Utah