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The Chumash World at European Contact

Power, Trade, and Feasting Among Complex Hunter-Gatherers

Lynn H. Gamble (Author)

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When Spanish explorers and missionaries came onto Southern California's shores in 1769, they encountered the large towns and villages of the Chumash, a people who at that time were among the most advanced hunter-gatherer societies in the world. The Spanish were entertained and fed at lavish feasts hosted by chiefs who ruled over the settlements and who participated in extensive social and economic networks. In this first modern synthesis of data from the Chumash heartland, Lynn H. Gamble weaves together multiple sources of evidence to re-create the rich tapestry of Chumash society. Drawing from archaeology, historical documents, ethnography, and ecology, she describes daily life in the large mainland towns, focusing on Chumash culture, household organization, politics, economy, warfare, and more.
Preface

1. The Chumash at Historic Contact 1
Significance of Research 3
Overview of the Chumash 6
Development of Chumash Sociopolitical Complexity 9
Theoretical Considerations 11

2. The Environment and Its Management 17
Resources in the Santa Barbara Channel Region 19
The Chumash as Environmental Managers 32
Environmental Changes During the Historic Period 33

3. Cultural Setting 37
Early Documents 38
Archaeological Research on the Mainland 42
Social Sphere of the Chumash 54
Economic Networks 60
Chiefs and Power 62

4. Historic Chumash Settlements on the Mainland Coast 65
Population Figures for the Chumash 65
Noqto 70
Shilimaqshtush 74
Shisholop Town 75
Texax 76
Kashtayit 76
’Onomyo 77
Tajiguas 78
Qasil 78
Dos Pueblos: Mikiw and Kuya’mu 80
Goleta Slough Settlements 84
Syuxtun 93
Shalawa 96
Q’oloq’ 97
Mishopshno 97
Shuku 100
Shisholop Settlement 102
Muwu 104
Lisiqishi 107
Sumo 107
Lojostogni 108
Humaliwo 108
Summary 109

5. Village and Household Organization 113
Ethnohistoric and Ethnographic Descriptions of Village Organization and Structures 114
Archaeological Evidence for Village Organization and Structures 126
Evidence for Production and Consumption at the Household and Village Level 149

6. Subsistence and Feasting 151
Dietary Overview 152
Gender Roles 178
Feasting 179
Colonial Influence and the Persistence of Native Traditions 187
Summary 189

7. Rank, Ritual, and Power 191
Ethnohistoric and Ethnographic Perspectives on Chiefs, Elites, and Commoners 192
Mortuary Symbolism, Rank and Religious Power 201
Religious Power 213
Gender 216
Manifestations of Power 219

8. Economics and Exchange: Manifestations of Wealth Finance 223
Contexts of Exchange 224
Shell Beads as Indicators of Wealth and Rank 229
Theoretical Considerations Concerning Chumash Exchange 234
Significance of Canoes 235
Centers of Exchange 239
Prestige Goods and Wealth Finance 243
Network Power and Social Storage 247

9. Conflict and Social Integration 249
Evidence for Warfare in Ethnohistoric and Ethnographic Accounts 250
Bioarchaeological Evidence of Violence at Historic Contact 261
Mechanisms of Social Integration 264
Methods of Social Control 266
Theoretical Perspectives on Chumash Warfare at Historic Contact 269

10. The Chumash, Pomo, and Patwin: Comparative Analysis and Final Thoughts 275
Complex Hunter-Gatherers: The Chumash Example 276
Resource Abundance and Sociopolitical Complexity 277
Power Strategies of the Chumash 279
Network Power 280
Emergent Complexity and the Relationship of the Island and
Mainland Chumash 283
Sociopolitical Complexity among Hunter-Gatherers in California 287
Future Studies of Complex Hunter-Gatherers 301

Notes 303
References 309
Index 351
Lynn H. Gamble is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara
“In this masterful combination of empirical research, controlled comparison, and attention to contemporary theories regarding the social formations of hunger-gatherers, Gamble has contributed an authoritative, richly documented and illustrated synthesis of this fascinating time and place in protohistoric California.”—W. S. Simmons Choice
“An important book . . . . Gamble’s book not only adds considerably to our understanding of the mainland Chumash, but it provides one of the most vivid and sophisticated studies of any Indian group in North America at the point of their first sustained contact with Europeans.”—Steven W. Hackel Journal Of American History
“Gamble’s careful scholarship makes this text a fine template to be followed.”—Journal Of World History
“Gamble presents a significant contribution, both descriptively and methodologically, that will be of interest to a wide variety of anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and other researchers in California and around the world.”—Todd J. Braje American Anthropologist
“Gamble’s book is a seminal study of a great culture.”—Mark Michel American Archaeology
"The Chumash World at European Contact is a major achievement that will be required reading and a fundamental reference in a variety of disciplines for years to come."—Thomas C. Blackburn, editor of December's Child: A Book of Chumash Oral Narratives

"An extremely valuable synthesis of the historical, ethnographic, and archaeological record of one of the most remarkable populations of Native Californians."—Glenn J. Farris, Senior Archaeologist, California State Parks Department

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