Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Spatial, Technological, and Functional Variability Among the Prehistoric Ceramics of the Southern California Coast
by McElhoes, Jennifer L., M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2017, 173; 10605659
Abstract (Summary)

Prehistoric pottery found across southern California has a remarkably discrete spatial distribution. While locally manufactured vessel ceramics are common to the south and southeast of the Los Angeles River, sherds are virtually absent in deposits located to the northwest and along the California Coast. Two primary possibilities exist to account for this pattern. First, it is possible that populations to the north may have had access to resources necessary for vessel alternatives and may have differed in their settlement patterns or subsistence practices. Alternatively, it is possible that ceramics are concomitant with distinct population histories and that the southern area of the coast was occupied with populations that are derived from the California desert where vessel ceramics are common, while the rest of the area was occupied by populations with no tradition of making pottery. In this thesis, I generate descriptions of ceramics including measurements of technological and functional variability of ceramic deposits across southern California. These measurements are designed to determine the degree of variation that exists in the use and production methods of vessel ceramics. I explore whether ceramic distributions are correlated with space and the structure of the environment. Based on my results, I conclude that ceramic variability is driven by utilitarian functions and, thus, their distribution is related to proximity to subsistence resources. The evidence supports the hypothesis that the presence of ceramics is explained by the functional roles pottery plays within the population and appears as a consequence of necessity for cooking and processing vital subsistence resources which are correlated to wetland regions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Quintiliani, Karen
Commitee: Lipo, Carl P., Wechsler, Suzanne P.
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 57/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology, Geography, Native American studies
Keywords: Ceramics, GIS, Predictive model, Prehistoric, Southern California
Publication Number: 10605659
ISBN: 978-0-355-25246-0
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