Publication Date

Fall 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Marco Meniketti


cosmology, mortuary practices, Ohlone, religion, ritual, rock art

Subject Areas

Archaeology; History; Native American studies


This thesis is an analysis of aspects of ritual and religion based upon reports from archaeological sites throughout the historical territory of the Native American peoples grouped by ethnographers under the term Ohlone, as well as other relevant sources of ethnographic, historical, and biographical information. Through research and review of recorded site documentation, as well as consultation with local archaeologists, three sites which clearly and extensively represent aspects of Ohlone religious life were identified and described in detail. This included type sites for mortuary practices, rock art, and cosmology/archaeoastronomy. The compilation and analysis of this material generated important information regarding an as-yet poorly understood aspect of prehistoric life in the Central California area, as well as potentially providing insight into the role of ritual and religion in California more generally.