Hunter Gatherer Research

Monumentality in the hunter-gathererfisher landscapes of the Greater San Francisco Bay, California

Hunter Gatherer Research (2017), 3, (1), 65–85.

Abstract

This paper explores the merits of interpreting central California shell mounds as purposefully constructed monuments. The authors employ three expectations from the recent literature to evaluate if Native Californians built monuments from shell. The results indicate that they did not erect standalone monuments during large communal gatherings in one or more rapid pulses of construction as described for huntergatherers elsewhere. However, there is evidence that the sites were monumental in their meaning to local groups. The authors explore an alternative pathway to monumentality that involves the long-term buildup of shell-rich deposits resulting from a diverse range of cultural and ceremonial practices.

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Author details

Lightfoot, Kent G

Luby, Edward M

Sanchez, Gabriel M