World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

La Jolla Complex

The archaeological La Jolla Complex (Shell Midden People, Encinitas Tradition, Millingstone Horizon) represents a prehistoric culture oriented toward coastal resources that prevailed during the middle Holocene period between c. 6000 BC and AD 500 in southwestern California and northwestern Baja California.

Characteristics of the La Jolla Complex include handstones and basin or slab millingstones (manos and metates), rough percussion-flaked stone edge tools, flexed burials, and extensive exploitation of shellfish, particularly venus clam (Chione spp.), scallop (Argopecten aequisulcatus), mussel (Mytilus californianus), and oyster (Ostrea lurida). Cogged stones and discoidals are distinctive but unusual artifacts. Other uncommon artifacts include shell ornaments (primarily spire-removed Olivella spp. beads) and projectile points (Pinto, Gypsum, and Elko forms). Bones from sea mammals and fish occur in La Jollan middens, but they are not abundant. Fish remains usually represent near-shore species, pointing to a littoral rather than maritime economy.

The La Jolla Complex was initially characterized as the Shell Midden People by Malcolm J. Rogers, the region's pioneering archaeologist. Rogers distinguished successive phases for the complex. Subsequent investigators have sometimes proposed modified versions of Rogers' phase sequence, but the most striking characteristics of the complex may be its comparatively simple material remains and its long cultural continuity, at least in the San Diego region. Claude N. Warren relabelled the complex as the Encinitas Tradition, which extended as far north as the Santa Barbara Channel region but was replaced by the Campbell Tradition in its northern reaches after about 2000 BC. An inland counterpart of the La Jolla Complex was the Pauma Complex.

See also


  • Gallegos, Dennis R. (editor). 1987. San Dieguito-La Jolla: Chronology and Controversy. San Diego County Archaeological Society Research Paper No. 1.
  • Moratto, Michael J. 1984. California Archaeology. Academic Press, Orlando, Florida.
  • Rogers, Malcolm J. 1929. "The Stone Art of the San Dieguito Plateau". American Anthropologist 31:454-467.
  • Rogers, Malcolm J. 1945. "An Outline of Yuman Prehistory". Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 1:167-198.
  • Warren, Claude N. 1968. "Cultural Tradition and Ecological Adaptation on the Southern California Coast". In Archaic Prehistory in the Western United States, edited by Cynthia Irwin-Williams, pp. 1–14. Eastern New Mexico University Contributions in Anthropology No. 1(3). Portales.

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.