Translator Disclaimer
18 September 2018 Traditions of Early Human Groups in Baja California and Possible Routes for the Peopling of the Peninsula
Author Affiliations +

Ideas concerning the initial peopling of the Baja California Peninsula have dramatically changed in recent decades. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the native inhabitants of the southern part of the Baja California Peninsula were believed by some to have come from Melanesia, based on the perceived similarity in skull morphology. Since the middle of the 20th century, most researchers propose that initial populations entered from the north by land, bringing with them 2 distinct cultural traditions. The first wave was thought to have been an incursion of Paleoindians with Clovis-type fluted points. The second wave refers to groups who occupied ancient lake shores, such as Laguna Seca Chapala, and who were considered as belonging to the Western Pluvial Lakes (WPL) tradition. Eventually people moved down to the southern tip of the peninsula, pushed by subsequent groups. The entry of human groups from the Mexican mainland across the islands in the central Gulf of California has also been suggested; early entries by other groups have been proposed as well. A migration from Australia to the Cape Region across the southern Pacific has also been argued. This paper summarizes recent archaeological evidence from radiocarbon dates, geomorphological settings, subsistence strategies, and material types and technologies indicating that Paleocoastal migrants may have reached the Cape Region during the Terminal Pleistocene. However, some of the early lithic artifacts and technologies in the Cape Region show similarities to the WPL tradition, such as leaf-shaped points, an eccentric crescent, and end and side scrapers. This evidence suggests that perhaps a Paleocoastal group and a WPL group reached the southern part of the peninsula at around the same time and that they had some kind of interrelation that is reflected in their lifestyles and materials, which were principally adapted to coastal life.

© 2018
Harumi Fujita and Amira F. Ainis "Traditions of Early Human Groups in Baja California and Possible Routes for the Peopling of the Peninsula," Western North American Naturalist 78(3), (18 September 2018).
Received: 27 February 2017; Accepted: 26 January 2018; Published: 18 September 2018

Get copyright permission
Back to Top