College - Author 1

College of Liberal Arts

Department - Author 1

Social Sciences Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Anthropology and Geography



Primary Advisor

Terry L. Jones, College of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences Department


Shellfish exploitation by ancient Indigenous people can be observed in archaeological assemblages from shellfish middens throughout California (Erlandson 1988; Glassow 1992; Kennett 2005; Kennedy 2005; Whitaker 2008). Indigenous Californians relied upon the resources from open rocky coast ecosystems as early as 9,000 years BP, yet archaeological researchers continue to debate the actual dietary value of and energy required for procurement of such shellfish (Erlandson 1988; Jones 2003; Jones and Richman 1995). In order to discern the costs and benefits associated with shellfish exploitation, researchers have conducted archaeological experiments to try to replicate prehistoric shellfish foraging. The empirical data produced from experimental archaeology yields predictive models for the optimal diet of foragers, which can then be compared to data acquired from archaeological excavations to predict past ecological and social circumstances (Jones 2003; Kennett 2005; Whitaker 2008). For this project, I conducted a shellfish collection experiment at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant harbor in San Luis Obispo to determine the energetics involved in the exploitation of California mussels, Mytilus californianus, and turban snails, Tegula funebralis.