European manufacture from Chumash Indian habitation site
The Chumash Indians inhabited the Santa Monica Mountains and adjacent coastal and inland areas of southern California for several thousand years. Their large population was heavily reduced by European diseases, conditions in Spanish missions, and subsequent colonization. Before European contact, the Chumash were famous for manufacturing millions of shell beads which they used for jewelry and other artwork, as well as status symbols, wealth, and currency. The first European explorers introduced hand-made glass beads made in Europe and China which were given to Native peoples to facilitate peaceful relations and to provide payment for labor and other favors. Glass trade beads found during archeological excavations at Rancho Sierra Vista in the Santa Monica Mountains made it possible to date the site to this early chapter in human interaction. These glass trade beads reflect the multi-cultural dynamics characteristic of the Santa Monica Mountains and people who still trace their history and ancestry to the area.