Land Snails and Archaeology on the California Channel Islands


Land snails have the potential to address a variety of archaeological concerns, including the identification of paleolandscapes and paleoclimatic conditions. Such studies demonstrate how non-marine mollusks can be employed to infer changes such as seasonal and long-term precipitation rates and anthropogenic landscape alterations. Although land snails are abundant in Channel Island sites, they are often ignored. In this paper, we utilize land snail remains from three archaeological sites on San Nicolas Island and a rock shelter site on San Miguel Island to address specific questions about past human activities and settlement patterns throughout the Holocene. Multiple land snail taxa including Micrarionta opuntia, Helmithoglypta ayressiana, and Xerorionta sp. were identified and quantified in this study.Our results suggest that land snails can be used to clarify stratigraphic ambiguities in the archaeological record, especially patterns caused by short-term occupation/abandonment cycles. Furthermore, our study suggests that the native people of San Nicolas Island incorporated land snails into their ritualized activities and ceremonial events.

Cite this Record

Land Snails and Archaeology on the California Channel Islands. Jessica Morales, Lauren M. Mirasol, Amira F. Ainis, René L. Vellanoweth. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429896)

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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17483