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Abalone Shell Unearthed at California Mission Site

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Abalone 1 for Joomla copyLOMPOC, CALIFORNIA—According to an Edhat report, archaeology students from the University of California, Santa Barbara have discovered a large abalone shell during excavations at La Purisma Mission State Historic Park. The shell appears to have been deliberately interred at the site some 200 years ago by a member of the Chumash people, who are indigenous to the area. A population of over 1,000 Chumash lived at the mission during various times from its founding in 1787 through the 1830s. The team—in collaboration with tribal descendants from the contemporary Chumash community—is specifically investigating family apartments occupied between 1813 and 1833, a period when California passed from Spanish to Mexican colonial administration. Project director Kaitlin Brown hopes to learn more about how native people negotiated the two distinct colonial policies while continuing to maintain cultural traditions, such as the production of shell beads. To read more about the historical archaeology of California, go to "Letter from California: Inside a Native Stronghold." 

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