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Southern California Bight: Wikis

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The Southern California Bight includes coastal southern California, the Channel Islands and part of the Pacific Ocean.

Within the Southern California bight lie the traditional territories of the Chumash and the GabrieliƱo. These two cultures are considered the epitome of hunter-gatherer complexity. Specifically, the Chumash were organized into many small polities with each one having one or more chiefs.

For food, the people ate mollusks as their primary source of protein as opposed to any terrestrial or marine mammal. Fish, however, were important on the Channel Islands because of the limited availability of seed-bearing plants such as oaks, lemonade berry bushes, and islay (Island Cherry).

The earliest inhabitants in the Southern California Bight were probably foragers living in small communities. These settlements were generally small and short-term through the Late Pleistocene and the Early Holocene. By the end of the Early Holocene, however, residential settlements became more stable and were reoccupied regularly. There is little evidence for prolonged occupation on any settlement until the Middle and Late Holocene. Houses are rare, but the ones found date from between 3100 and 2100 B.C.

The technology in this region include ground stone mortars and pestles from as early as 4700 B.C. Also, compound bone fishhooks were developed alongside new forms of net weights. As well, the tomol was an important part in transportation, providing access to new marine habitats, and could haul great capacities.


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