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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Applied Archaeology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Matthew Des Lauriers


The Channel Islands were continuously occupied by Native Americans for at least 13,000 years. During the Middle Holocene, a period of climatic transition, the ancestors of the Chumash thrived on these islands. Various sites on the Channel Islands provide an opportunity to learn about how the ancestral Chumash lived and adapted to island environments by studying the tools and food remains found at these sites. This thesis focuses on tools and faunal remains found at a 5,850-year-old red abalone shell midden (CA-SMI-526N) located on San Miguel Island. There has been considerable debate about whether such red abalone middens represent short-term specialized shellfish processing sites or more substantial residential sites where multiple activities took place. I analyzed the tools and their usage in food procurement, as well as aspects of the faunal remains found at CA-SMI-526N, to determine if the site was a short-term processing site utilized by the Island Chumash during the Middle Holocene. Based on the data I gathered from this study, this site is most likely a seasonal residential site where the residents focused primarily on red abalone, but also took advantage of the vast array of faunal resources available to them.