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Foundations of Chumash Complexity

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Foundations of Chumash Complexity
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Foundations of Chumash Complexity

Jeanne E. Arnold

This volume highlights the latest research on the foundations of sociopolitical complexity in coastal California. The populous maritime societies of southern California, particularly the groups known collectively as the Chumash, have gone largely unrecognized as prototypical complex hunter-gatherers, only recently beginning to emerge from the shadow of their more celebrated counterparts on the Northwest Coast of North America. While Northwest cultures are renowned for such complex institutions as ceremonial potlatches, slavery, cedar plank-house villages, and rich artistic traditions, the Chumash are increasingly recognized as complex hunter-gatherers with a different set of organizational characteristics: ascribed chiefly leadership, a strong maritime economy based on oceangoing canoes, an integrative ceremonial system, and intensive and highly specialized craft production activities. Chumash sites provide some of the most robust data on these subjects available in the Americas. Contributors present stimulating new analyses of household and village organization, ceremonial specialists, craft specializations and settlement data, cultural transmission processes, bead manufacturing practices, watercraft, and the acquisition of prized marine species.


"Jeanne Arnold has assembled a provocative collection of papers that explore the foundations of California Chumash sociopolitical complexity. ... It certainly belongs on the shelf of any serious southern California archaeologist or anyone interested in the origin of complex forager societies and hunter-gatherer studies in general."

– Michael G. Delacorte, Journal of Anthropological Research 62(2006):435-437.

“The volume looks very good and represents a significant contribution toward California prehistory. The Cotsen Institute is to be commended for the quality of publications and for providing the means whereby these scholarly articles are available to other researchers and the public.”

– Patricia Martz, Department of Anthropology Professor and Chair, California State University, Los Angeles.

CONTRIBUTORS: Jeanne E. Arnold (University of California, Los Angeles), Julienne Bernard (University of California, Los Angeles), Ray Corbett (University of California, Los Angeles), Gary Coupland (University of Toronto), Michael A. Glassow (University of California, Santa Barbara), Anthony P. Graesch (University of California, Los Angeles), Sandra E. Hollimon (Sonoma State University), Jennifer E. Perry (Pomona College), Scott Pletka (LSA Associates, Inc.), and Torben C. Rick (Southern Methodist University).

Subjects: Chumash, Northwest Coast of North America, Coastal California,

Note: The hardcover edition is available only through the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. Please contact ioapubs@ucla.edu for ordering information.

ISBN: 1-931745-18-8

Publication Date: 2004

Series: Perspectives in California Archaeology 7

Publisher: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology

Price: US $9.98 cloth, $7.98 paper (paper available only at CIoA)

Buy this book! Order from the University of New Mexico Press. 
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