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Current Research Indicates Channel Islands as a Population Hub for California Native Americans

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Date: January 27, 2010
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

During the February “From Shore to Sea” lectures, Anthropologist Dr. John Johnson will discuss new insights from recent research projects that indicate early native inhabitants of the Channel Islands likely thrived in greater densities than anywhere else in California.

Johnson will outline these unexpected findings regarding overall population densities of the Channel Islands at the time of European arrival. He will also discuss the excavations on Santa Rosa Island at Arlington Springs, which is currently the site of the oldest human remains ever found in North America. These excavations, along with offshore underwater sonar scans have yielded clues about how this environment looked over 10,000 years ago.

Johnson, Curator of Anthropology with the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History since 1986, is also an adjunct professor in anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has devoted his career to understanding the culture and history of the Chumash and neighboring groups in south central California through the study of archeology, archival records, and interviews with contemporary Native Americans.

The “From Shore to Sea” lecture series is jointly sponsored by Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary with support from Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. The purpose of the series is to further the understanding of current research on the Channel Islands and surrounding waters. The lectures occur at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way in the Santa Barbara Harbor and Wednesday, February 10, 2010, at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center,
1901 Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor. The programs are free and open to the public.

Did You Know?

Bechers Bay coastline on Santa Rosal Island

Although the park is within 60 miles of 18 million people, it is home to 175 miles of pristine undeveloped coastline.