Site structure, settlement systems, and social organization at Lake Elsinore, California
AuthorGrenda, Donn Robert, 1966-
AdvisorSchiffer, Michael B.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis report documents excavations at the Elsinore site (CA-RIV-2798/H) which is located at the mouth of the outlet channel on the northeast side of Lake Elsinore, Riverside County, California. Lake Elsinore is one of the only natural lakes in southern California, and is located at the eastern base of the Peninsular Range at the terminus of the San Jacinto River. Following the methodological approach of behavioral archaeology, this report explains how changes in lake level affected the lives of the people that lived on its shores. Identifying changes in site structure in relationship to the natural environment provides one of the keys to the interpretation of the lacustrine adaptations that took place over the past 8,000 years. One of the most important aspects of the site is that it holds cultural remains representing the entire prehistory of the region in a stratified context. A total of 138.45 m3 of fill was excavated from 27 units in deposits nearly three meters deep. Excavations revealed a large flaked stone assemblage including bifaces, unifaces, projectile points, flake tools, and 19 crescents; a variety of ground stone artifacts are present as well. Distributional covariation of artifact and ecofact classes serves as the basis for intrasite comparisons and the overall interpretation of the site. The interpretation addresses issues such as site function, activity areas, and the effect of differing lake levels on the inhabitants. The presence of a stable lake during a time of climatic instability was probably the main factor that drew people to its shores. Initially these people were organized as small bands that moved throughout the area as resources became available in different environmental zones. However, during the early to middle Holocene transition we see a change in settlement structure associated with a social organizational shift to a family based society. Although investigations revealed a late Holocene occupation at the site, the structure of the site at this time is fundamentally different from the earlier periods and failed to produce data necessary to allow for comparable discussion of social change during the late Holocene.
Degree ProgramGraduate College