A faunal analysis and seasonality study using cementum increment analysis at Payne's Cave (CA-TEH-193) in northern California

In 1956, members of the University of California Survey, Baumhoff, Bennyhoff, Elasser, and Kranz, excavated Payne’s Cave (CA-TEH-193), a site associated with Southern Yana territory. The artifact assemblage indicated a clear pre- and protohistoric occupation. At the time, Baumhoff determined the seasonality of occupation as the winter season, given the elevation of the site at 1,600 feet. Baumhoff also developed a culture chronology, and stated the cave was likely occupied during what he called the “Period of Hiding,” lasting from about 1850-1875 AD. This study uses models from Human Behavioral Ecology to examine the faunal data from the Payne’s Cave assemblage to refine our understanding of the impact of Euro-American contact for the Yana. Aspects of resource depression and mobility are analyzed to uncover the unique method of resistance-survival used by the Yana during contact era. Also, cementum increment analysis is conducted on mule deer teeth from the assemblage to confirm Baumhoff’s original seasonality determination. Results include provisional support data indicating resource depression at the time of culture contact, while faunal data in tangent with historic data show strong support for high Yana mobility at this time. Cementum increment results support Baumhoff’s determination, and provide a higher resolution of site use.