The first human inhabitants of the Santa Barbara area were the Chumash, estimated to have settled in this region over 10,000 years ago. A hunting-gathering people, Chumash society was organized into villages, with a chief at the head of each community. The Chumash utilized the natural bounty of the local environment, consuming a wide variety wild game, plant foods, and marine life. Chumash economy featured an active exchange of trade goods and a monetary system based on shell beads. One of the outstanding technologies of the Chumash was the tomol or plank canoe, used to ply the waters of the Santa Barbara Channel.