Cover University of California Press

  Colonized as early as 13,500 years ago, the Northern Channel Islands of California offer some of the earliest evidence of human habitation along the west coast of North America. The Chumash people who lived on these islands are considered to be among the most socially and politically complex hunter-gatherers in the world. This book provides a powerful and innovative synthesis of the cultural and environmental history of the chain of islands. Douglas J. Kennett shows that the trends in cultural elaboration were, in part, set into motion by a series of dramatic environmental events that were the catalyst for the unprecedented social and political complexity observed historically.


"Archaeologists will find this data-packed volume the newest, best, and most even-handed synthesis of Channel Islands Chumash research."

—ROBERTA S. GREENWOOD, California History

"The Island Chumash is a convincing analysis of cultural and economic change....an important book that has a far broader application than the narrow confines of California archaeology."

—BRIAN FAGAN, Jrnl of Field Archaeology

"The most important study to come out of the Chumash area, and one of the best examples of research on culture change in contemporary archaeology."

—L. Mark Raab, coeditor of Prehistoric California

"A contribution that is remarkable in its scope, quality, and importance."

—Terry L. Jones, coeditor of Catalysts to Complexity

"The most comprehensive effort yet made to apply the theoretical framework of behavioral ecology to a problem in human prehistory. The result is not only an excellent demonstration of the power of the approach but a major contribution to the pre-European history of California."

—James O'Connell, University of Utah