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AN UNUSUAL "S" SHAPED INCISED ABALONE PENDANT
FROM CA-MNT-834,
PEBBLE BEACH, MONTEREY COUNTY, CALIFORNIA

by

Gary S. Breschini and Trudy Haversat

July 29, 2001

This pendant was found at CA-MNT-834B, in the Pebble Beach area of Monterey County, California (our Cat. No. 834-1010).

It was examined by Robert O. Gibson, who described it as a unique form of Haliotis nacreous pendant. It is narrow, curved, and has a perforation at one end. The pendant fragment is missing its tip but is 26.4 mm long, 10.7 mm wide and 3.3 mm thick. The biconical hole is 3.3 mm in diameter. If the distal end was present, the ornament could resemble a fishhook. No similar forms can be found in Gifford (1947), or Bennyhoff (1978). The closest forms are perhaps the "split" banjo ornaments wherein a right and left half comprise a whole ornament. They would presumably be worn as earrings.

Figure 1. Dorsal and Ventral Sides of a Haliotis
Pendant from CA-MNT-834B.

Incising is present on the ventral side of the shell and consists of short, straight notches, perpendicular to the edge with 4 to 5 notches per 5 mm. This is similar to Type 2 incising described at CA-SCL-128:
This type of incising consists of a short deep notch on the edge of the ornament and is about a long as it is deep The angel of the cut is about 45 from the central surface plane. In some cases the cut was not perpendicular to the edge but was slightly oblique to it. There are 3 notches per 5 mm. Deeper notching of this type would have produced a serrated edge. Gifford (1947) does not describe this type of incising. Bennyhoff (1977) places this type of incising usually in Phase 1 in the Late Horizon in the Diablo and Consumes districts and also in the middle Phase 1 in the Alameda district. This was the most common type of edge incising at SCL-128 on Haliotis effigy ornaments in a late Phase 1 context (1300-1500 A.D.) [Gibson and Fengena 1978:115].
However, the uniqueness of this Haliotis pendant makes temporal placement only tentative at this time.

Radiocarbon Dating

Ten radiocarbon dates have been obtained from CA-MNT-834B, two by Pacific Legacy and eight by Archaeological Consulting. All samples consisted of single pieces of Haliotis rufescens shell. All were within the Late Period.


Table 1. Radiocarbon Dates from CA-MNT-834B
(Delta-R = 225 ± 35).

Meas. age Lab. No. Material Provenience
C13
Int.
2 sigma cal.
890 ± 60 Beta-91292 Shell-Haliotis Unit 7, 20-30 cm 2.0
 
 
940 ± 60 Beta-91293 Shell-Haliotis Unit 7, 50-60 cm 1.6
 
 
540 ± 70 Beta-116463 Shell-Haliotis Unit A1, 30 cm
--
AD 1600
AD 1450-1710
910 ± 60 Beta-116464 Shell-Haliotis Unit A1, 42 cm
--
AD 1295
AD 1180-1410
990 ± 60 Beta-116465 Shell-Haliotis Unit D1 ext
--
AD 1250
AD 1070-1335
1010 ± 60 Beta-119118 Shell-Haliotis Area A, Fea. 2
--
AD 1220
AD 1035-1325
980 ± 60 Beta-119119 Shell-Haliotis Area A, Fea. 2
--
AD 1260
AD 1085-1345
970 ± 60 Beta-116120 Shell-Haliotis Unit B3, Fea. 3
--
AD 1265
AD 1105-1360
470 ± 60 Beta-119121 Shell-Haliotis Unit B3, Fea. 3
--
AD 1660
AD 1500-1815
960 ± 60 Beta-119122 Shell-Haliotis Unit B3, Fea. 3
--
AD 1275
AD 1125-1375




References

Bennyhoff, James A. 1978. Phase Charts 2-6. In "Development of Regional Prehistoric Cultures," by Albert B. Elasser. In R.F. Heizer, vol. ed., Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 8: California, pp. 58-68. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Gibson, Robert O. and Gerritt Fengena. 1978. A Preliminary Analysis of the Shell Beads and Ornaments from CA-SCL-128. In Archaeological Investigations at CA-SCL-128, the Holiday Inn Site, J.C. Winter, ed. Ms. on file, Northwest Regional Information Center of the California Archaeological Inventory, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park.

Gifford, E.W. 1947. Californian Shell Artifacts. University of California Anthropological Records 9(1):1-114.



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