John Edgar Fitch (1918-1982): Zooarchaeologist

Robert Jan "Roy" van de Hoek
Ballona Institute
322 Culver Blvd., Suite 317
Playa del Rey, California 90293
(310) 821-9045
ŠNovember 19, 2010

John Edgar Fitch, (1918-1982) studied zooarchaeology because of his knoweldge of fish, their bones and otoliths which are preserved in Native American Indians sites of the past thousands of years. He studied both Chumash sites and Tongva (Gabrieleno) sites of the coast, from San Luiso Obispo County (Diablo Canyon) Ventura County near the courthouse, and in Orange County near Corona del Mar in lower Newport Bay.

It is certain that archaeological studies completed at Ballona will be related to John Fitch investigations of paleontology, of the Greater Historic Ballona Lagoon Ecosystem, most notably on the Ballona Beach of Playa del Rey and also Venice Grand Canals region.

There is much more to share with you in a future revision of this brief biography of a very fine naturalist and scientist of the Los Angeles County coast.

I recently discovered an interview that John Fitch had with a journalist of the San Luis Obispo Tribune newspaper, nearly a half century ago. He was interviewed about the Pismo Clam, and its plight, and precipitous slide toward extinction in California, due the popularity of this clam for food and for sheer recreation of capturing them. He wanted to conserve this species. Keep in mind that the word "Pismo" is a Chumash word, and this species occurs in Chumash Native American Indian sites and also occurs on the beaches of Santa Monica Bay, including Ballona Beach of Playa del Rey and Venice. His values of nature and wildlife to American society seem to fit the model of Ernest Callenbach on ecology. And I see clearly that John Fitch supported the wonderful science of ecology and natural history, including sustainability and ecosystems of planet Earth.