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An Archaeology of Abundance:
Reevaluating the Marginality of California’s Islands

Edited by Kristina M. Gill, Mikael Fauvelle, and Jon M. Erlandson

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Available for pre-order. This book will be available in 2019

“Overturns old assumptions about the ‘marginality’ of islands, forcing a reassessment of the significance of islands in global human history. A tour de force of multidisciplinary research integrating archaeology with ethnohistory and historical ecology.”—Patrick Vinton Kirch, author of Unearthing the Polynesian Past: Explorations and Adventures of an Island Archaeologist  
“A masterful synthesis of a geographic setting never previously synthesized. Marshals an impressive body of ethnographic, archaeological, and environmental information from a group of exceptionally knowledgeable regional scholars.”—Terry L. Jones, coeditor of Contemporary Issues in California Archaeology   
The Alta and Baja California islands changed dramatically in the centuries after Spanish colonists arrived. Native populations were decimated, and their lives were altered through forced assimilation and the cessation of burning and traditional foraging practices. Overgrazing, overfishing, and the introduction of nonnative species depleted natural resources severely. Modern scientists have assumed the islands were similarly sparse before European contact, but An Archaeology of Abundance reassesses this long-held belief, analyzing new lines of evidence showing that the California Islands were rich in resources important to human populations. 
Contributors examine data from Paleocoastal to historic times that suggest the islands were optimal habitats that provided food, fresh water, minerals, and fuel for the people living there. Botanical remains from these sites, together with the modern resurgence of plant communities after the removal of livestock, challenge theories formed during the historical ranching era. Geoarchaeological surveys contradict claims that the islands had few high-quality materials for making stone tools. Trade exchange routes, underwater forests of edible seaweeds, and reconstructions of population densities also support the case for abundance on the islands. 
Reinforcing the argument that these islands were not marginal environments in the early human history of the region, the discoveries presented in this volume hold significant implications for reassessing the ancient history of islands around the world that have undergone similar ecological transformations.    
Kristina M. Gill is an archaeologist and archaeobotanist with the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon and research associate at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Mikael Fauvelle is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. Jon M. Erlandson is professor emeritus of anthropology and director of the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon.
A volume in the series Society and Ecology in Island and Coastal Archaeology, edited by Victor D. Thompson  
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