Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
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Bedrock Mortars & Cupules
Fish Canyon | Castaic, California

Sandstone boulder with at least 13 bedrock mortars (the deeper holes) and as many as 60 cupules (the shallower "dimples"), located at the head of the Castaic Valley at the confluence of Castaic Creek and Fish Creek, on what was the Naylor Ranch from the 1910s to the early 1930s.

This boulder is believed to represent the sole remaining rock art in upper Castaic Canyon, following the creation of State Water Project reservoirs at Castaic and Elderberry canyons in the early 1970s.

The boulder measures approximately 3.25 x 2.5 meters and about 1.5 meters high. Probably Tataviam in origin, the deepest mortar is 17cm deep; the shallowest, 2cm. The mortars would have served a kitchen purpose.

The shallower cupules had ceremonial significance, possibly relating to female puberty rites. Red pigment — the "girls' color" (Whitley 1996; see discussion here) — seen on this boulder suggests that these mortars might also have been used to create paint for the rock art that resulted from such rituals. Whitley (1996:34) writes:

"Native groups in southwestern California made red pigment by collecting and drying a particular type of pond algae. They ground the pigments with bedrock mortars commonly found near pictograph sites and applied the paint to rocks with brushes made from vegetable fibers or animal hairs, or they daubed it on with their fingers or hands."


LW0070: 9600 dpi jpeg from digital image, year 2000, by Leon Worden.
TATAVIAM ARTIFACTS

Bowers Cave

Peabody Museum Index


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Bowers Cave Specimens (Mult.)

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Bowers on Bowers Cave 1885

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Stephen Bowers Bio

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Bowers Cave: Perforated Stones (Henshaw 1887)

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Bowers Cave: Van Valkenburgh 1952

• Bowers Cave Inventory (Elsasser & Heizer 1963)


• Chiquita Landfill Expansion DEIR 2014: Bowers Cave Discussion

Agua Dulce

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Vasquez Rock Art x8

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Ethnobotany of Vasquez, Placerita (Brewer 2014)

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Bowl x5

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Basketry Fragment

Acton

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Blum Ranch (Mult.)

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Little Rock Creek

Castaic Area

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Fish Canyon Bedrock Mortars & Cupules x3

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2 Steatite Bowls, Hydraulic Research 1968

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Steatite Cup, 1970 Elderberry Canyon Dig x5

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Ceremonial Bar, 1970 Elderberry Canyon Dig x4

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Projectile Points (4), 1970 Elderberry Canyon Dig

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Paradise Ranch Earth Oven

Piru Creek

Lopez Report 1974


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Twined Water Bottle x14

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Grinding Stones, Camulos

Newhall Area

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Arrow Straightener

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Pestle

Tejon Area

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Basketry x2

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Coiled Basket 1875

Other

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Riverpark, aka River Village (Mult.)

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Riverpark Artifact Conveyance

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Mojave Desert: Burham Canyon Pictographs

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Leona Valley Site (Disturbed 2001)

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2 Baskets

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So. Cal. Basket

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Biface, Haskell Canyon

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2 Mortars, 2 Pestles, Bouquet Canyon

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