Tataviam twined water bottle. 9 inches wide, 5 inches tall. Diagonally twined (up to the right), juncus wefts and warps, alsphaltum coating, damaged, partially patched.
Archaeological artifact collected by Richard F. Van Valkenburgh in the Piru Creek area (exact year and discovery site unknown, probably 1932-1936), in the collection of the
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Catalog No. A.3306.36-64.
The NHMLA catalog listing identifies it as Chumash, which it isn't, and says it's from "San Luis Obispo-Piru Canyon," which makes no sense.
Shanks and Shanks (2010) illustrate this basket in their book on Southern California basketry and state the following in
the photo caption (pg. 52):
A handsome, broad-shouldered Tataviam twined water bottle. No other culture made water bottles quite like this one. This very distinctively shaped
archaeological basket is largely woven in diagonal twining with an asphaltum coating.
At page 56 (ibid.):
In the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County there are archaeological basketry specimens collected by Richard Van Valkenburgh from Piru Creek in
Tataviam territory. The most complete twined basket is a distinctive low, broad bottleneck-shaped water bottle approximately nine inches in diameter and
five inches high at the neck (A.3306.36-64). This finely made, although damaged, water bottle is diagonally twined with some asphaltum coating. An
impressive decorative feature consists of several rows of diagonal stitching over multiple warps on the basket's shoulder and bottom. Wefts have an
up-to-the-right slant of weft twist, as do most other twined fragments in the Tataviam region. This Piru Creek Tataviam twined water bottle, in particular,
is unlike neighboring Chumash or Gabrielino/Tongva water bottles and almost certainly is Tataviam.
Shanks and Shanks say that while up-to-the-right slants are most common among Tataviam twined basketry, both up-to-the-right and down-to-the-left slants are known (which is rather unusual); and plain twining
(no slant) is also known. The authors
reference a probable Tataviam twined basket fragment in the NHMLA collection that has a horizontal section with two crossed
open spaced warps amid close plain twining.
As a general rule, not limited to the Tataviam, twined baskets are utilitarian and are seldom decorated; coiled basketry is fancier.
Coiled basketry is known among the Tataviam, but decorated coiled Tataviam basketry is rare.
1. Van Valkenburgh explored and recovered artifacts from several caves in the Piru Creek drainage area from 1932-1936 on behalf of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; see Lopez (1974).
2. The Tataviam chapter was read prior to publication by Dr. John Johnson of the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum.