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Part I. Replica Set Purpose and History

For at least 10,000 years the indigenous people of California manufactured beads from the shells of the marine snail genus Olivella, a native to the gravelly intertidal areas along the Pacific coast. Olivella beads were modified into many shapes-some from near-entire shells, others cut from the shell body walls. Archaeologists recognized in the 1930s that Olivella shell bead forms changed over time and were therefore useful markers of temporal succession. A bead typology soon developed and bead types came to be used, much like southwestern pottery sherds, as a means of relative dating of a given archaeological site or series of super-imposed site components (Gifford 1947; Lillard, Heizer and Fenenga 1939).