Bone Bead Production and Technology from the Early-Middle Holocene Occupation at the Irvine Site (CA-ORA-64), Upper Newport Bay, Orange County, California

LANGENWALTER, Paul E. – Biola University
Daniel A. GUTHRIE – Claremont McKenna College
Brenda BOWSER – CSU Fullerton

The production of beads cut from the limb bones of small animals has a long history in the California Culture Area, culminating in the Historic Period. The production of cut bone beads was occurring as early as ca 9000 B.P. at the Irvine Site, CA-ORA-64. These beads and associated production wastes comprise more than 80 percent of the 9,520 modified bone specimens recovered from the site. The beads were made from the bones of birds, rabbits and medium sized carnivores by cutting groves around the circumference of each bone using bifacial stone tools. Decoration in the form of one or more shallow grooves was added to some beads. Multiple forms can be defined using length and diameter, decoration, and external shape as criteria. Most of these beads were recovered from the earliest of the three periods of occupation at ORA-64, which occurred ca 9000 B.P. to 7300 B.P.