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Pine Nut Processing in Southern California is the Absence of Evidence the Evidence of Absence?

  • Lynn H. Gamble (a1) and Scott Mattingly (a2)

Abstract

Burned rock features that were used for heat, light, the processing of resources, cooking, roasting, ceremonial purposes, and other functions are encountered all over the world. Over 200 prehistoric fire-altered rock (FAR) features have been documented at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, an area ethnographically occupied by the Kumeyaay Indians along the central coast of San Diego County in southern California. These features are more densely concentrated at sites within the boundaries of the reserve than at other nearby coastal locations, suggesting an association with a specific resource in the area. Although many FAR features found in southern California and the Southwest are often interpreted as Agave deserti or Yucca whipplei roasting pits, these species are rare at the reserve; the few that exist there today are believed to be modem introductions. We propose that the FAR features in the project area were probably used to process Torrey pine nuts, a high-ranked resource that was valued by the Kumeyaay.

Resumen

Las características de las piedras quemadas encontradas alrededor del mundo, muestran que fueron utilizadas para lograr distintos propósitos, como la calefacción, la luz, el procesamiento de recursos, para cocinar y asar, intenciones ceremoniales y otras funciones. Hay cientos de funciones de piedra quemada prehistórica (FAR) que han sido documentadas en la Reserva Natural Estatal Torrey Pines, que está ubicada a lo largo de la costa central del condado de San Diego en el sur de California, una región etnográficamente ocupada por los Indios Kumeyaay. Estos rasgos se encuentran más densamente concentrados en emplazamientos dentro de los límites de la Reserva, en comparación con ubicaciones costeras cerca del área, lo cual sugiere que en los alrededores de la reserva hay una asociación a este recurso específico. Aunque hay varios rasgos de la FAR que se encuentran en el sur de California y en el suroeste de los Estados Unidos, son frecuentemente interpretados como pozos de asar para las especies Agave deserti o Yucca whipplei. Estas especies son extremamente raras en la reserva, las pocas que existen hoy en día, se cree que han sido por alteración moderna. Proponemos que estos rasgos de la FAR en la zona del proyecto, han sido utilizados para procesar piñones de Torrey, los cuales eran un recurso muy valioso para los Indios Kumeyaay.

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References

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Pine Nut Processing in Southern California is the Absence of Evidence the Evidence of Absence?

  • Lynn H. Gamble (a1) and Scott Mattingly (a2)

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