By L. Mark Raab
San Clemente Island serves as a microcosm of California maritime archaeology from prehistoric via ancient occasions. The authors use findings from approximately twenty years of analysis at the island to give a cultural heritage that defies many prior assumptions in regards to the coastal prehistory of the Pacific Northwest.
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Extra resources for California Maritime Archaeology: A San Clemente Island Perspective
1995a). Conversely, cooler SSTs (sea surface temperatures) during the La Niñas of 1983–1984 and 1998–1999 resulted in heavy kelp growth. Earlier generations of archaeologists, as we point out in chapter 9, assumed that prehistoric California coast was an exceptionally benign, unchanging natural province. Modern paleoenvironmental and archaeological research refutes this assumption (Raab and Jones 2004; Jones and Klar 2007). Changing SST has been identified by archaeologists as a major driver of marine ecosystem productivity in southern California, with corresponding influences on prehistoric maritime economies (Pisias 1978; Raab et al.
Moratto (1984) was one of the first investigators to offer a serious challenge to this scenario. , the existence of distinctively maritime cultural adaptations on the California coast during the Early Holocene. Unlike previous suggestions along these lines, Moratto’s proposal enjoyed a key advantage: mounting empirical evidence of early coastal occupation. The advent of contract archaeology during the 1970s greatly expanded the scope of coastal research in California. This trend, employing modern data recovery techniques and funding for radiocarbon dating, quickly produced two interesting results.
Three terrains—Coastal Terrace, Upland Marine Terraces, and Plateau—are largely a product of emergent marine terraces mentioned earlier. Structurally, these terraces consist of wave-cut platforms, sea cliffs, and post-emergent colluvial wedges covering the platforms at the bases of sea cliffs. These terrace terrains can be segregated on the basis of their relative age (age increases with elevation), and the degree of erosion or deposition of terrace surfaces, a primary factor in archaeological preservation.