Round Valley Village
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Round Valley Village


Round Valley Village
317+ bedrock mortars, two cupule rocks, and a stacked rock enclosure.
CA-CCO-320

This settlement is the largest of three that sit along the eastern base of the Black Hills.

Joseph Chartkoff in “A Rock Feature Complex from Northwestern California,” American Antiquity, Vol. 48, No. 4, (Oct., 1983), pp. 745-760, notes the similarity between this stacked-rock enclosure and a particular type of prayer seat or tsektsel found in northwestern California.


Bob and Jim approach the village. They’ve left the grasslands of Round Valley behind.


There are 18 cupules on this rock, although some are hard to make out in the photograph.


A closeup of the mortar on the cupule rock. The walls of the bullet-shaped cavity are so smooth we describe them as “machined.” One can find numerous examples of this type of mortar at the Round Valley Village.


Funnel-shaped and compound mortars are virtually non-existent at Round Valley. There are, however, a number of mortars with large, flaring mouths. The close family relationship between this type of mortar and those we designate as funnel-shaped should be obvious from this photograph.


The creek that passes Bob’s Mortar eventually burbles up as a sulphur spring at Round Valley. About 15% of the mortars at Round Valley lie along this subsidiary creek. This view looks over a well head toward Round Valley Creek. Take the time to explore this area. Most of the mortars lie behind the camera.


We encountered this well-fed rattler on the Miwok Trail.


The previous five photographs by Bob Bardell.