From the Island of the Blue Dolphins: A unique 19th century cache feature from San Nicolas Island, California

Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology
By: , and 



A cache feature salvaged from an eroding sea cliff on San Nicolas Island produced two redwood boxes containing more than 200 artifacts of Nicoleño, Native Alaskan, and Euro-American origin. Outside the boxes were four asphaltum-coated baskets, abalone shells, a sandstone dish, and a hafted stone knife. The boxes, made from split redwood planks, contained a variety of artifacts and numerous unmodified bones and teeth from marine mammals, fish, birds, and large land mammals. Nicoleño-style artifacts include 11 knives with redwood handles and stone blades, stone projectile points, steatite ornaments and effigies, a carved stone pipe, abraders and burnishing stones, bird bone whistles, bone and shell pendants, abalone shell dishes, and two unusual barbed shell fishhooks. Artifacts of Native Alaskan style include four bone toggling harpoons, two unilaterally barbed bone harpoon heads, bone harpoon fore-shafts, a ground slate blade, and an adze blade. Objects of Euro-American origin or materials include a brass button, metal harpoon blades, and ten flaked glass bifaces. The contents of the cache feature, dating to the early-to-mid nineteenth century, provide an extraordinary window on a time of European expansion and global economic development that created unique cultural interactions and social transformations.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title From the Island of the Blue Dolphins: A unique 19th century cache feature from San Nicolas Island, California
Series title Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology
DOI 10.1080/15564894.2013.766913
Volume 8
Issue 1
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Publisher location Philadelphia, PA
Contributing office(s) Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 66
Last page 78
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial San Nicolas Island
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