Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Gary S. Breschini, Ph.D.

Coyote Press

An Offramp on the Kelp Highway

Kelp Highway

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Pacific Forum – 3:00 p.m.


This seminar will describe archaeological investigations at CA-MNT-831, located in Pacific Grove, which is currently the oldest documented archaeological site on the Monterey Peninsula. CA-MNT-831 is historically important as a settlement site for local native peoples over the past several thousand years. Recent investigations at this site have uncovered intriguing clues to the settlement patterns of these peoples. At CA-MNT-831, we discovered four burial sites and numerous artifacts, including unique faceted handstones. Protein residue, stable isotope, and faunal analyses of these handstones as well as pitted stones and soil samples found at the site suggest that the diet of these early peoples was heavy in marine organisms. This differs from the diets of other early peoples, which consisted mostly of deer, acorns, and fish. Extensive radiocarbon dating and mtDNA analysis was also done at CA-MNT-831 using the artifacts found at the burial sites. The results suggest a lineage that extends back nearly 5300 years- from the earliest dated burial to the Most Likely Descendents. This information supports an early migration of these peoples from Asia along the Pacific Coast via watercraft, feeding off the abundant and easily caught marine organisms. This data also supports the more recent Utian expansion.


Next: February 13 - Phillip England, Ph.D.