Tuesday, December 13. 2016
​The Earliest Unequivocal Evidence for the Use and Manufacture of Shell Fishhooks in the Western Hemisphere

Dr. Matthew Des Lauriers, Assistant Professor, California State University, Northridge

While the North American archaeological record signals the presence of early humans along the northeastern Pacific coast by the late Pleistocene, we know little about the technological systems employed by these coastally-oriented colonizing groups. We here report the discovery of the earliest unequivocal evidence for the use and manufacture of shell fishhooks in the Western Hemisphere. Four single piece shell fishhooks dating to the terminal Pleistocene/early Holocene transition (between ~10,700-11,300 cal B.P.) have been excavated on Isla Cedros, Baja California, México. One hook is directly dated at 9495 ± 25 B.P. (UCIAMS-101198) with a marine reservoir-corrected calibrated 14C age of 11,165-9185 cal B.P.. Radiocarbon ages associated with three other shell fishhooks range between 8900 ± 25 B.P. to 10,415 ± 25 B.P, while median ages for the earliest contexts confirm occupation of the island by at least 12,600-12,000 cal B.P.. The stratigraphic levels from which the fishhooks were recovered contained a diverse assemblage of fish remains, including deep-water species. Thus, some of the earliest known inhabitants of the Pacific coast of the Americas employed shell hook and line technology for offshore marine fishing at least by the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, if not earlier.
Meeting Place
Second Tuesday of every month (no meetings in July and August) at 7:00 pm
Chumash Indian Museum 
3290 Lang Ranch Pkwy Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

Ventura County Archeological Society (VCAS) 
P.O. Box 4172 
Thousand Oaks, CA 91359 

   The VCAS/Ventura County Archaeological Society was established in 1972 when concerned Ventura County citizens as well as local professional and avocational archaeologists saw a need to organize, study and preserve our County's rich prehistoric heritage.

  The Society has been instrumental in the implementation of research and preservation goals aimed at our local archaeological resources.  With an eye towards the future the Society has a collections and archival curation program, site recordation and monitoring program, and a continuing education program. 

101 freeway take Westlake Blvd exit, go to North Westlake Blvd 4 miles to Lang Ranch Pkwy, turn right. Museum is on right hand side
VCAS December Program