Tuesday, February 13th, 2017
“Whale’s Tales: Comparative Ethnocetology among Maritime Hunter-Gatherers along North America’s Pacifc Coast”

John R. Johnson, Ph.D., Curator of Anthropology, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Maritime Hunter-Gathers, the Indigenous peoples all along the Pacific Coast of North America left a record of petroglyphs, pictographs, and carved effigies that represent various species of cetaceans, especially whales. The Santa Barbara Channel region of Southern California was occupied by maritime hunter-gathering groups. The archaeological record of these peoples extends back many millennia, and the remains of whales and dolphins in coastal sites show that these marine mammals were part of the subsistence regime throughout the Holocene. At the time that California’s native peoples were first encountered by Spanish explorers, the Northern Channel Islands and adjacent mainland were occupied by people speaking Chumash languages, while those of the Southern Channel Islands and Los Angeles Basin spoke the Gabrielino language (also called Kizh or Tongva) in the Uto-Aztecan linguistic family. The art of both groups (Chumash and Gabrielino) includes representations of whales and dolphins; however, the surviving oral literature provides limited clues regarding what beliefs or cultural practices resulted in production of this art. So a wider survey of similar maritime cultures along the Pacific Coast is warranted to develop hypotheses regarding what purposes were behind the creation of cetacean images in these societies. This presentation investigates what purpose these artistic creations played in ancient cultures.
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 February Program