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The Archaeology of Overseas Chinese Abalone Fishermen on Santa Rosa Island, Alta California海外华人鲍鱼渔民在加州中北部圣罗莎岛之考古研究

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In the mid-nineteenth century, Chinese immigrants to Gold Rush California built the first commercial abalone fishery along North America’s west coast. Their efforts to establish an abalone meat and shell industry have been relegated to a footnote in Californian history, with only occasional newspaper accounts and other historical documents as the primary means to understand the ways of life and the activities of these maritime pioneers. Over the last decade, archaeologists have become increasingly interested in documenting the material record of Chinese abalone fishing on California’s Northern Channel Islands. Here, we describe recent efforts to locate, map, and describe the archaeological record of historical abalone fishing on Santa Rosa Island. Our survey identified a specific island abalone harvesting pattern characterized by small, logistical processing camps and larger more diverse basecamps. Our findings can be applied when interpreting historical abalone fishing sites elsewhere, and to inform future surveys for these island site types.

Affiliations: 1: San Diego State; 2: San Diego State


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