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Stable Isotope Sourcing of Olivella Shell Beads from Central California

Author(s): Jelmer Eerkens ; Gregory Burns

Year: 2015

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Although a temporally diagnostic type artifact, the pre-contact cultural role of Olivella beads is poorly understood for Central California and the San Francisco Bay Area. While important as an item of trade and burial wealth, the nature of Olivella bead origin and conveyance is uncertain. Stable isotope sourcing, using oxygen and carbon from serial sampling shell carbonate, provides a potential to locate where shell was collected for bead production. We document developments in a technique for interpreting seasonal marine isotope signatures along the California coast, and compare sourcing results for beads from possible manufacture, domestic, and funerary assemblages from several Middle and Late Period sites.

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Stable Isotope Sourcing of Olivella Shell Beads from Central California. Gregory Burns, Jelmer Eerkens. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398101)


Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America