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Jonathan Mabry Lecture
February 18 @ 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
JONATHAN MABRY – “THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF COASTAL SHELL MIDDENS ALONG THE NORTHERN GULF OF CALIFORNIA”
FEBRUARY 18 @ 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
A group of U.S. and Mexican scientists specializing in archaeology, geology, botany, and paleoecology has been exploring prehistoric shell middens along the northern Gulf of California coast near the modern community of Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico. We have documented over 60 midden sites through reconnaissance survey near Puerto Peñasco since 1997. More recently, we have conducted controlled excavations and identified a variety of mollusc species, small fish bones, fish otoliths, crab claws, terrestrial animal bones, sea turtle bones, and artifacts. This project represents the first extensive and sustained archaeological investigations of prehistoric coastal adaptations in the Sonoran Desert, and the first research collaboration of U.S. and Mexican archaeologists and other researchers in this coastal region. Through this work, we are documenting material and chronological evidence of seasonal movements of diverse human groups across the present-day U.S.-Mexico border over the last 6,000 years, coeval with changing coastal landforms and ecosystems. In addition, our project is trying to address several research issues through continued fieldwork and analyses in this area of the northern Gulf of California, including paleoenvironmental history of the coast, the cultural identities of prehistoric groups using this coastal area, patterns of interaction and exchange, and the impacts of economic development on the archaeological record of the region.