Cave and Artifacts Found on San Nicolas Island

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Date: November 8, 2012
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

In an upcoming lecture US Navy senior archeologist and historian Steve Schwartz will tell the story of the remarkable and recent discovery of a long-sought-after cave on San Nicolas Island that was likely the home of the "lone woman."

The "lone woman" is depicted in the nation's sixth best-selling, award-winning children's book Island of the Blue Dolphins, a novel based on the true story of a Native American woman left alone for 18 years on San Nicolas Island in the mid-1800s.

Schwartz will share a second significant discovery of two Nicoleño redwood boxes filled with over 200 artifacts fortuitously found during an island survey. Artifacts included asphaltum- coated water bottles, fish hooks, an abalone jewelry box with bird bone hairpins and pendants, a bone toggling harpoon, and various knives and carving tools. These materials, representative of Nicoleño and Alaskan Native Americans and European origins, reveal key information about human occupation and interactions on the island.

San Nicolas Island, one of eight Channel Islands, is located 55 nautical miles southwest of Ventura County and is an active military facility used for weapons testing and training.

Schwartz began his career in the Southwest as an archeologist working for the US Army Corps of Engineers. For the past 25 years he has worked with the US Navy at Naval Base Ventura County where he has authored numerous publications about the archeology and history of San Nicolas Island.

This free lecture will be held at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center, 1901 Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor. The From Shore to Sea lecture series is sponsored by Channel Islands National Park to further the understanding of current research on the Channel Islands and surrounding waters. Lectures occur the second Wednesday of March, April, May, September, October, and November.

For more background information on this topic, please visit Island of the Blue Dolphins at the LA Times.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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