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given by archaeologists to the earliest periods of a culture. In particular, it may refer to:North American archaic
In the Land of the Setting Sun:
California and the Great Basin
- California’s Cultural area does not match the current political boundaries of the state
- The northwest and north east part considered part of northwest plateau
- the Mojave Desert is considered part of the Great Basin.
- ecologically diverse
- ecological zones range from coast, grasslands, forests, deserts and mountains
- varied climate - rainfall in the north, sunshine in south
- arch materials and lifeways are culturally diverse
The California Archaic (10,500-2000 BC)
environmental changes occurred ca. 10,000 B.P. People began to adapt to warmer and drier conditions as well as loss of resources
California Archaic understood as reaction to changing resources. subsistence broadened by incorporating hard seeds that required processing through grinding technology such as metates and manos.
Why is characterizing California difficult?
ecology and complexities are varied and difficult to define
La Jolla Complex (6000 BC – 300 AD)
- Described by Malcolm J. Rogers
- mineral geologist, interested in faunal materials, moved to escondido, became involved in arch,
- found in southern California and northern Baja represents orientation towards exploiting coastal resources.
- hallmarked by grinding technology, flexed burials, rough percussion-flaked stone tools, and extensive shell middens.
- reclassified as encinitas complex
Pauma Complex typology
- Inland southern California
- shares similarities with La Jolla complex, but lack the shell deposits and tools made from shell, but thats not so surprising.
- still though it was treated different from La Jolla
- depending on which arch is asked people living inland may think that they are qualitatively different than those in the coast
adjacent channel islands
- a range of “cultural phases” have been defined, such as Oak Grove and Hunting Phase.
- people buried in extended burials covered in ochre
- settlements are pithouses
Southern California settlement patterns:
- Sites along coast usually situated on high ground
- This choice in occupation may represent a real trend in habitation, but may also result from sample bias
- higher ground sites are more accessible to archaeologists because sites at lower elevations have likely flooded as a result of a rise in sea levels.
- There is a distinct preference for sites near lagoons and estuaries due to the diversity of lifeforms in them
California archaic Eating patterns
- Not a lot of fishing despite living near coastal region
- everything people are doing revolves around shellfish
- preferred dietary resource
- Seeds and acorns complemented the shellfish-rich diet (high in protein but low in calories), and provided much needed carbohydrates and calories.
- Overall there is diversity of diet, due to acorn exploitation and experimentation with farming and different dietary resources because of the changing climate
- However, we should not think of this as farming is better, but as a response to change in environment.
how many hours a week do hunter gatherers spend procuring food?
20 hours a week
The Great Basin Archaic (8,000 BC- 1400 AD)
- occupies area between Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains.
- The heart of this area is the hydrographic“great basin”, which is an area of internal drainage where all streams and rivers (flowing inland) end in lakes or playas within the basin itself.
cultural areas of the Great Basin
- encompasses parts of:
- eastern California
- western Colorado
- western Wyoming
Typology of the Great Basin
- varied land form and climate like California
- high mountains, deep valleys, broad arid floors
- variable vegetation
- Vegetation in north - cold desert characterized by sagebrush saltbush, and warm desert
- vegetation in the south - warm desert dominated by creosote.
- end of pleistocene marked by arid, dry shrinking lakes
Danger Cave (9,000 BC- 500 AD)
- found in western Utah in Bonneville lake region
- Jesse Jennings did most fieldwork in the site in the 50's
- interesting place to understand the archaic bc it represents continued habitation over long periods of time
- 5 level of danger cave dating from 9000 BC to 500 a.d
- we can see life change over time and the range of activities over seasonality
- in lower level - (early)a lot of pickleweed and other desert vege
- coprolites also found which shows what people were eating
- jennings thought he could define characteristic in terms of grinding technology and so he came to define it as the "desert archaic"
- however, the more work that was done the more challenges came up regarding technology and developments outside the great basin were similar
- hence, desert archaic should be attributed to a predilection of human ecology rather than a behavioral phenomenon
Great Basin has tremendous use of what kind of technology?
- weaving technology
- great basin defined by technology, but also absence thereof such as ceramics due to scarcity of resources
- therefore making things out of reed or basketry is much more effective
- so therefore there is no need for some of this technology that we associate and use as distinguishing characteristics in the Great Basin.
- we need to divest ourelves with some of these notions becuase people are exploiting things different ways
- such as hunting - we cant only think of hunting with bows and spears because people hunted small animals using nets and different tactics