Small, But Not Insignificant: Human Subsistence, Ecology, and Land Use on Anacapa Island, California


Anacapa Island (2.9 km2) is the second smallest of California’s Channel Islands and has limited freshwater and terrestrial biodiversity. Called ‘Anayapax, a word meaning deception or mirage, by the Chumash, archaeologists have long speculated that the island was occupied seasonally or as a stopover by people based on the mainland or other islands. Here, we focus on our recent archaeological research at CA-ANI-2 and other Anacapa sites. Occupied between about 3130 and 2750 cal BP, CA-ANI-2 contains diverse faunal and artifact assemblages, including the remains of whales, pinnipeds, deer from the mainland, a variety of marine fishes, and unique chipped stone and bone tools. Stable oxygen isotope data suggest that mussels deposited at CA-ANI-2 were harvested during all seasons of the year. When placed in the context of other archaeological sites on Anacapa and Santa Barbara islands (2.6 km2), these data suggest that, despite their small size and perceived marginality, both of these islands played an important role in larger Native America interaction spheres and settlement/subsistence systems.

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Cite this Record

Small, But Not Insignificant: Human Subsistence, Ecology, and Land Use on Anacapa Island, California. Torben Rick, Leslie Reeder-Myers, Kenneth Gobalet, Nicholas Jew, Thomas Wake. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395064)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;