Bioarchaeology and Paleodemography
People in a Changing Land: The Archaeology and History of the Ballona in Los Angeles, California, Volume 4

Edited by Patrick B. Stanton, John G. Douglass, and Seetha N. Reddy

Donn R. Grenda, Richard Ciolek-Torello, and Jeffrey H. Altschul, series editors

Technical Series 94, Volume 4

384 pp. / 2016

This fourth volume in the Playa Vista Archaeological and Historical Project (PVAHP) series documents the result of bioarchaeological research performed at a number of National Register of Historic Places– (NRHP-) eligible archaeological sites in a prehistoric wetland complex in west Los Angeles referred to as the Ballona. The bioarchaeological research reveals significant insight into the health, diet, and cultural affinity of nearly 400 burials recovered from sites dating from the Millingstone period through to the Mission period, the most complex of these sites being CA-LAN-62. Background information in early chapters of this volume offers detailed synthesis of all of the major burial area excavations in southern California and their implications for understanding the various Native Californian populations through bioarchaeological data. These synthetic analyses not only offer new insight into these older studies, but also offer comparable data to the bioarchaeological work undertaken in the Ballona. As part of the PVAHP, the Statistical Research, Inc. (SRI), team developed a sophisticated system for delineating specific spatial and sequential relationships based the Harris Matrix system but which was significantly more robust for the excavation of more than 350 burials at CA-LAN-62. The spatial and temporal analysis performed by team members identified unique spatio-temporal patterns that are detailed in the report. Overall, these analyses provide the basis for an understanding of the progression and evolution of the specific portion of CA-LAN-62 from a residential area to ultimately a ceremonial and sacred space to bury community members and perform remembrance rituals.