Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/368

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354
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

fishing, hunting: on the water, and barter with the dwellers on the mainland. To gather shell-fish the aborigines often went long distances, which called into existence temporary camps wherein we hardly find anything but layers of shells and some burned beach-rocks, indicating former fireplaces, scattered in small clusters over their surface. The mollusks, after their shells had been removed, were dried in such temporary camps for easier transportation to distant villages.

But let us examine one of the sites of such aboriginal villages, commonly termed "shell-heaps" or "shell-mounds," bleached shells being by far the larger and more conspicuous part of their remains. I will select one of the many stations which I have investigated for the Smithsonian Institution during recent years. Its location is near a narrow inlet, called Tinker's Cove, on the island of Santa Cruz, one of the group in the Santa Barbara Channel (see Fig. 1). It possesses all the requirements of an aboriginal settlement, only the game-ground

PSM V10 D368 Aboriginal settlements of santa cruz.jpg
Fig. 2.

is wanting, as no animals save a small gray fox, and several species of land-birds, exist on the islands. The ground upon which the station is located is of a rocky, irregular structure, mostly bare and destitute of vegetation; a cove, affording an excellent boat-landing, adjoins to the westward of it; outlying rocks, of which but few appear in the sketch, are covered with edible shell-fish; a mass of kelp and sea-weed grows in the adjoining waters, and is thickly stocked with fish; a spring of potable water is found in the deepest part of the cove. Sand is found only at a distance of between four and five hundred yards to the eastward, in a small hidden beach of the narrow fiord of Tinker's Cove, which is of very difficult access by land, as the sides of the inlet form walls of over one hundred feet in height, and in larger quantities farther away to the westward of the station. It is,