Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

About Those Rock Walls

High above certain parts of the San Francisco Bay area – notably in the grass-covered hills of the East Bay – there are extensive and apparently very old rock walls extending great distances.

Tom Mangan’s Two-Heel Drive has a post summarizing some very interesting information about the aboriginal sources of some of these features:

Evidence of indigenous Bay Area people.

A Web wayfarer named Bob Bardell dropped by yesterday and sent me a note pointing to EastBayHillPeople.com, a companion site to a guidebook describing evidence of Native American culture in the East Bay hills. Hikers in particular can soak this stuff up, because so much of it is in open country like parks and open space preserves.

(Take the link to see Tom’s full post and a lot more very interesting information.)

Tom also includes:

As long as I’m on the subject of pre-Californian peoples — remember the stone walls at Ed Levin County Park? I pretty much assumed they were put up by 19th century Amish settlers, but somebody left a comment a few months back offering evidence of a much more intriguing possibility:

About the walls. When the Spanish first came to the Bay Area with the Portola’Äô expedition, Fray Juan Crespi mentions the stone walls in his journal, citing that the Ohlones viewed the walls with a certain mystacisim [sic]. The year was 1768. Kinda hard to imagine an Amish group predating the Spaniards.

This is more than an interesting abstraction for those who have come across these walls and wondered. I also had been led to think that they must have been created by some newer European arrivals, though the stories of “bored shepherd” spending their spare time building huge rock walls never quite made sense to me. The Fray Juan Crespi description only increases the mystery.


May 30, 2008 - Posted by | Commentary

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