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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/367

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SETTLEMENTS OF THE PACIFIC COAST.

ABORIGINAL SETTLEMENTS OF THE PACIFIC COAST.
By PAUL SCHUMACHER.

IF we investigate the condition of the ground upon which we now find the ruined settlements of a former people on this coast, it cannot fail to convince us either that all such stations had been established on sandy ground, or that the ground had been artificially changed by sand carried thither when it was rocky or hard. Sandy soil was a necessity, that they might employ their rude and imperfect tools in the erection of houses partially dug in the ground and surrounded by embankments. It was also a requirement for cleanliness and health, owing to its absorption of moisture in the rainy season. Overgrown or firm sandy ground was preferable to bare, loose sand; but even the drifting dunes offered them a better choice than the dark humus intermixed with rock. Other requirements of a well-located rancherìa were: proximity of potable water, a commanding view, the outlying

 
PSM V10 D367 Santa barbara channel islands.jpg
Fig. 1.
 

rocks bearing eatable mollusks, fish in the adjoining kelpy waters, and game in the neighboring country. Water in small rivulets and springs was preferable to larger streams and rivers, unless these were stocked with fish. A commanding view was subordinate to the condition of the soil and the proximity of water, especially on the islands in Santa Barbara Channel, where no surprising enemy was to be guarded against; there a small boat-landing was one of the main considerations, because the islander's sustenance was mainly derived from