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Reassessing Human Settlement on the South Coast of San Miguel Island, California: The Use of 14C Dating as a Reconnaissance Tool

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2016

Todd J Braje
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403-1218, USA.
Jon M Erlandson
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403-1218, USA. Email: jerland@uoregon.edu
Torben C Rick
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas 75275-0336, USA. Email: trick@smu.edu
Corresponding
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Abstract

California's San Miguel Island contains over 600 archaeological sites, some occupied as early as 12,000 yr ago and most located along the island's north coast. Archaeologists have long believed the south coast to have been marginal or largely uninhabited. Burial of some landforms by sand dunes deposited after historical overgrazing, the lack of systematic survey, and a dearth of radiocarbon dating have also contributed to an underestimation of the intensity of human land use along the south coast of San Miguel Island. Our recent reconnaissance and dating of shell middens on the island's south coast indicate more intensive occupation than previously thought, with numerous south coast sites spanning at least the past 9000 yr, and demonstrate the utility of combining systematic archaeological reconnaissance and radiometrics in reconstructions of human settlement and historical ecology in coastal environments.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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