Cache Cave in Context: Unveiling New Discoveries in South Central California

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

This symposium presents the findings from two seasons of fieldwork at the site of Cache Cave, which contains the largest known assemblage of perishable artifacts yet recorded within the larger Chumash linguistic area or that of its immediate neighbors. While cache sites were once relatively ubiquitous across the greater Chumash area, due to antiquarian and other looting activities, no major cache site has ever been studied using modern archaeological techniques. Field work in 2012 at Cache Cave uncovered not only a cache cave site having remarkable preservation with material in context, but one that dwarfs any previously known site in the sheer quantity of its assemblage. Subsequent work in 2014 has defined and documented the extent of the cave complex, explored in detail some of the cave deposits, and further refined our knowledge of site structure and chronology. This allows not only the first in depth, systematic analysis of any kind on this important site type, but an investigation of the largest cache cave ever discovered in the region. Papers presented here offer our initial views of the site and its assemblage in various contexts, as well as findings from habitation and special-use sites in the cave's vicinity.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-10 of 10)

  • Documents (10)

  • Assessing the Use of Lithic Artifacts in the Manufacture of Fiber Technolgies at Cach Cave (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Allison Hill. Julienne Bernard.

    Cache Cave exhibits one of the most significant in situ assemblages of basketry and cordage recorded within the Chumash culture area. The abundance and quality of the unique items preserved in this cave system attest that caching served as one important aspect of site function. The presence of utilitarian lithic artifacts, identified during excavations at the cave in 2012 and 2014, suggest that this site may have served additional functions throughout the duration of its use. The...

  • Cache Cave in Context: 3D Scanning Complex Cave Environments for Mapping and In-Situ Documentation of Artifacts (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michelle Wienhold. Alana Springer. Abby Viselman.

    The spatial documentation at Cache Cave entailed the mapping of the cave’s interconnecting passages and shelters, its taphonomic environment, and the archaeology present at the site. Due to its complex formation and small spaces, the overall cave structure could not be recorded by more traditional mapping methods. Through the use of three-dimensional (3D) scanning during the Spring and Summer of 2014, a multi-scalar, high resolution approach was used to capture both the interior structure and...

  • Cache Cave: Site Structure and Chronology (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only David Robinson. Julienne Bernard.

    This paper presents an overview of the site structure within the confines of Cache Cave with a particular focus on excavated crevices, deposits, and features. We also present the results of 25 AMS dates so far submitted from the site. These dates include a range of material from basketry, cordage, matting, reeds, bone objects, and charcoal. In total, this program represents the most comprehensively dated Chumash cache cave assemblage yet achieved and yields important data regarding site usage...

  • Cave sticks? An investigation in to the use and purpose of bifurcated sticks found in cache caves. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Dan McArthur. David Robinson.

    This study aims to explore the purpose and use of bifurcated sticks found in cache caves of Southern California. Known as ‘witchsticks’ or ‘spirtsticks’, little formal research has been undertaken on these enigmatic cave sticks. As suggested by their naming, interpretations presume a ritual connotation despite little evidence; alternately, a purely practical application has equally been poorly considered. With the discovery of new Cache cave comes the ability to observe well preserved cave...

  • Contextual Implications: Excavating Open Air Sites Adjacent to Cache Cave (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Timothy Murphy IV.

    This paper outlines the cultural context of a complex of sites (known as the LCC sites) nearest to Cache Cave in South Central California. Results from LCC test excavations provide new information that help characterize cultural occupation of this Chumash and Yokuts borderland area in the San Emigdio Hills. The paper focuses on artifact assemblages from excavations near bedrock milling features associated with LCC sites. Artifacts recovered during excavation, such as lithics, fragmented faunal...

  • Ethnohistoric Insights Pertaining to the Emigdiano Chumash and Other Southern San Joaquin Valley Indigenous Groups (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only David Earle. John R. Johnson.

    The native groups who inhabited the San Emigdio Mountains on the southwestern edge of the San Joaquin Valley are believed to have been speakers of an interior dialect of one of the Chumashan languages, although which one has been open to debate. Certainly the Emigdiano Chumash occupied an important position in the economic exchange system that linked indigenous Kitanemuk and Yokuts groups of the San Joaquin Valley with coastal Chumash peoples. Ethnohistorical study of records kept by...

  • Introducing the Cache Cave Archaeological Project: Background, Aims, and Methods (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Julienne Bernard. David Robinson. John Johnson.

    Caching in caves and rockshelters has been documented in many parts of the Chumash region and beyond, but the discovery and excavation of this Cache Cave provides one of the first opportunities to document cached items in context, assess formation processes, and interpret a site of this kind with preservation of perishable artifacts, as well as materials that are potentially associated with their manufacture and maintenance. This paper introduces the Cache Cave site, situates this site among...

  • Preliminary Insights from the Cache Cave Textile Assemblage (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Edward Jolie.

    Much of what is known about the pre-contact textile industries of interior Chumash peoples derives from early archaeological investigations and nonprofessional collections acquired from caves and rockshelters during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The vast majority of this material is undated, poorly provenienced, and underreported, which makes interpreting such artifacts’ technological stylistic variability and significance difficult. Recent recovery of more than 500...

  • Serrated scapular tools from Cache Cave (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Gloria Brown. Daniel Reeves. David Robinson.

    Due to taphonomic processes at most open sites, bone tools are underrepresented in relation to stone tools. Tools made from modified artiodactyl scapulae are best known from protected sites (caves and rockshelters) in the Great Basin, such as Humboldt Cave and Lovelock Cave. These scapular tools vary in form and presumably function. Some are pointed and described as awls, but a second type is a serrated form, which we will discuss here. Many serrated forms are described as scapular saws, suited...

  • Signs of Authority? Symbolic media and items of personal adornment from Cache Cave (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Daniel Reeves.

    Along with a remarkable utilitarian perishable assemblage, a number of objects recovered from Cache Cave can be considered from ideological or symbolic perspectives. These include a number of ornamental and personal items that clearly indicate something other than the storage of everyday objects within the cave. This assemblage contains a variety of beads, a coyote femur tube, an exquisite chert knife, and several other enigmatic objects made of animal bone, skin, wood, and shell, including...