Excerpt from Cassandra E. Krum, “Early Archaeology on the Western Edge of Alta California: Malcolm Rogers’ San Nicolas Island Collections.” Master’s thesis, San Diego State University, 2013.
Artifacts that indicate interisland trade and wealth increase in number and complexity in the Late Holocene (King 1990; Rick et al. 2005). Many of these artifacts are Olivella shell beads (Rick et al. 2005). Although many of the production sites for these beads are found on the Northern Channel Islands (Arnold 2001; Kennett 2005), bead production locations have also been found on San Nicolas Island (Vellanoweth et al. 2002). There is some indication that ground stone was also produced on San Nicolas for interisland trade (Vellanoweth et al. 2002). Some of the most interesting artifacts that are indicative of interisland trade are the steatite effigies found on San Nicolas. Steatite is a trade item, most likely from Santa Catalina, and the intricate carving of the rare material indicates that these artifacts were used in ritual activities (Hoover 1974).