Sponsored by: California Rock Art Foundation
Patrick O’Neill is a California anthropologist, a teacher, the Co-Director of the Anthropology Program
at California State University, Bakersfield, and a Board Member of California Rock Art Foundation (CRAF). Patrick presented
and described the most prolific charmstone cache in the world.
The cache is important for many reasons including its relation to ritual intensification, ethnoastronomy, syncretism,
and it is the only assemblage of its type. Two members of the assemblage are decorated with five drilled cupules,
and both are patterned representations of star clusters or constellations.
Charmstones are associated with sacred practices and stand as symbolic referents of fish, human spirits, and the cosmology
of the afterlife. While Shamans apparently employed the charmstones in ceremonies involving sympathetic magic, fish and ducks are manifestations of the human spirit in native cultures of California. These Charmstones’ life-histories exhibit
a multiplicity of contexts that result in a variety of archaeological interpretations according to cultural affiliation.