The study of indigenous management practices in California: an introduction
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Kent G. Lightfoot; Valentin Lopez
Publication Year: 2013

Cataloging Information

  • Holocene
  • Indigenous burning
  • traditional burning practices
  • vegetation conversion
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: November 12, 2015
FRAMES Record Number: 16603


The purpose of this special issue is to present the findings of a collaborative, interdisciplinary eco-archaeological project that is examining evidence for indigenous landscape management practices in central coastal California in Late Holocene and historic times. In this introductory paper, we provide some background about traditional resource and environment management (TREM) practices in California, discuss the goals of the eco-archaeological project, outline testable expectations for anthropogenic burning, and introduce the papers in the volume. The papers represent a coordinated suite of investigations that empirically evaluate the degree to which native people may have ignited fires in and around the Quiroste Valley Cultural Preserve near Point Año Nuevo. Employing diverse lines of evidence derived from archaeology, silica phytolith research, palynology, plant population genetics, and dendroecology, the authors reconstruct past fire histories, faunal and floral resources, vegetation conversions, and indigenous cultural practices in the study area. The findings of these investigations indicate that people implemented sustained landscape burning practices that maintained productive grassland habitats from about AD 1000 to the time of Spanish colonization.

Online Link(s):
Lightfoot, Kent G.; Lopez, Valentin. 2013. The study of indigenous management practices in California: an introduction. California Archaeology 5(2):209-219.