They Sent Sandstone Across the Sea? A Preliminary Petrographic Study of Stone Bowls and Mortars


The Spanish chroniclers of the 18th century document extensive and intensive long distance regional trade networks among indigenous peoples throughout southern California (and beyond). Archaeologists are currently reevaluating these long held interpretations of Chumash regional exchange networks in the southern California region during the late prehistoric period. We report a pilot study focused the determination of the lithology/mineralogy of stone bowls/mortars collected from various sites in the Channel islands on the mainland using thin-section petrographic techniques. Our project documents the range of lithologies for a sample set of groundstone bowls and mortars, and compares them to the range of lithologies of potential natural outcrop sources of these groundstone tool types on the various northern Channel Islands of California, and the adjacent mainland. The rock types include sandstone, volcaniclastics, and volcanic rocks. Our study has implications for interpretations of archaeological materials specifically from the southern California Bight region, as well as broader studies focused on regional trade and exchange.

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Cite this Record

They Sent Sandstone Across the Sea? A Preliminary Petrographic Study of Stone Bowls and Mortars. Colleen Delaney, Shawna Couplin, Charles Fazzone, Kathleen M Marsaglia. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398106)

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Spatial Coverage

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