The Assumption of Insular Marginality: The Curious Case of Isla Cedros, Baja California

Author(s): Matthew Des Lauriers; Danny Sosa

Year: 2015


What about islands inspires us to think of them as places on ‘the edge?’ The idea of an island is often more remote than the reality. The word itself conjures up notions of loneliness and isolation. Some islands are inextricably linked, to other islands and/or the adjacent mainland, while the nonpareil isolation of Rapa Nui is legendary. Lying off the Pacific Coast of Baja California, Isla Cedros presents a strange combination of these factors. The island supported a large resident population before European Contact due to ample fresh water, surrounding seas teeming with marine resources, and a robust terrestrial ecosystem. The islanders were tied into the social networks of the adjacent peninsula as evidenced by Jesuit documents and an abundance of obsidian brought from the mainland. This island was the largest population center for hundreds of kilometers in every direction. Isla Cedros was not a marginal place, but one of the most important centers, one of the most ecologically rich locations, and home to one of the most dynamic social environments in the region. Its remoteness from other major centers provides archaeologists an opportunity to examine the essential qualities of an island and the impacts of such on human behavior.

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Cite this Record

The Assumption of Insular Marginality: The Curious Case of Isla Cedros, Baja California. Matthew Des Lauriers, Danny Sosa. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395131)

Spatial Coverage

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