The Native American tribes of this region are known collectively as the Ohlone. There were approximately 10,000 Ohlone living in the area between Big Sur and the Northern Bay before European expansion. Over 50 distinct Ohlone sub-tribes have been recorded, each with their own unique dialects and rituals.
Look at the size and number of cupules in the rock. These indicate that the rock was not used to grind acorns. Grinding rocks (used to grind seeds, minerals, and pound acorns) contained wider cupules with deeper depressions.
This rock feature likely had ceremonial significance to the Ohlone Native American community who called this area their home.
This rock feature is a unique feature in the vicinity, and only a few other similar sites are known.
The landscape where you are standing was vastly different to what we know today. During Ohlone occupation, this region was water-rich, with many freshwater ponds, lakes and waterways.
As a result, the reed-like plant tule grew in abundance, and was frequently used by Native Americans to create baskets, bowls, mats, boats, and houses: as this replica in front of you illustrates.
This replica tule home is smaller than a typical Native American house would have been. The house is constructed of willow (providing strength to the framework) and thatched tule (which keeps the home insulated and warm).
Interested in learning more about this exhibit? Join us for our Native Ways Celebration on Saturday, February 8, 2020 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This is a free family event and activities include cultural demonstrations, storytelling, games and more!
The proximity of the seasonal creek suggests that the rock feature has ceremonial significance. In addition, to the commanding views of Mount Diablo and Brushy Peak supports this view. Both these peaks hold religious importance to Native Americans.
Mount Diablo features prominently in Native American creationism in the area and is considered sacred. Ohlone creation narratives and myths involve animals such as Eagle, Coyote, and Hummingbird. It is believed that Coyote created the Native American peoples from atop Mount Diablo’s peak. Mount Diablo is visible from most parts of the Bay Area.
Brushy Peak is also considered sacred by Native American tribes. It served as an important location for spiritual ceremonies, trade and social events.