Lower Volvon Village
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Lower Volvon Village


Lower Volvon Village
200 bedrock mortars and a 32 cupule rock. A second cupule rock also at the site. Numerous housepits.
Elevation 1445 ft.

This is one of the largest collections of bedrock mortars in California, and it is only about a mile and a half away from the main Volvon Village.

The Lower Village sits on the side of a small hill near Marsh Creek. Most of its bedrock mortars flank the seasonal creek that is just a dry channel in this photograph. Water flows year round in Marsh Creek, but in late summer and fall it surfaces only in pools. Residents of the Lower Village might have excavated their own pools in the creekbed to create “Indian wells.”


The sedimentation rate is heavy here near the base of the surrounding hills. More mortars undoubtedly lie beneath the surface. Note cupules on the foreground rock. See Cupule Petroglyphs in the Diablo Range by E. Breck Parkman in the Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 254-55 (1986) for a discussion of the cupule rock art form.


These grinding rocks may have been part of a communal food processing center. Most of the housepits associated with this village lie beyond the large tree and across the Stone Corral Trail.


We call this type of bedrock mortar “funnel-shaped.” A funnel-shaped mortar combines an upper conic section with a lower cup- or bullet-shaped mortar. In this case, the lower or “inner” mortar is 5″ in diameter and 6″ deep. A conical basketry extension to this mortar could fit snugly into the upper section.


We call this type of mortar a “nipple.” A handful of nipple mortars may be found at this site.


The Lower Village panorama and the funnel-shaped and nipple mortar photos are by Bob Bardell.