Volvon Village on Mallory Creek
Mortar Count: 715
Open
Above Condor/Coyote Trails
Mortar Count: 5
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Below Cave Point
Mortar Count: 11
Open
Below Knobcone Point Road
Mortar Count: 21
Open
Below Rock City
Mortar Count: 12
Open
Black Hills Trail
Mortar Count: 3
Open
Blaisdell Trail Alignment
Blue Oak Trail
Mortar Count: 16
Open
Bob Walker’s Cave
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Bob’s Mortar
Mortar Count: 75
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Briones Valley
Mortar Count: 2
Open
Canyon Milling site
Mortar Count: 29
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Cistern Bath
Mortar Count: 1
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Clayton Ranch
Clayton Ranch Alignment
Condor/Coyote Trails
Mortar Count: 2
Open
Coyote Trail below reservoir
Mortar Count: 7
Open
Curry Creek Milling Station
Mortar Count: 18
Open
Curry Point Prayer Circle
Downstream from the Whelk Pond
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Elephant Rock
Mortar Count: 1
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Fallen Oak Village
Mortar Count: 46
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Fig Pig Gulch Meadow
Mortar Count: 19
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Founders Ridge
Mortar Count: 3
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Green’s Village in Fig Pig Gulch
Mortar Count: 75
Open
Greenhill Ranch, aka The Green Ranch
Highland Ridge Lookout
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Hog Canyon
Mortar Count: 7
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Hummingbird
Mortar Count: 10
Open
Intersection of Devils Slide Trail and Trail Through Time
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Intersection of Molluck and Coyote Trails
Mortar Count: 11
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Jan Enderle Village
Mortar Count: 35
Open
Joel’s Straggler
Mortar Count: 1
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Lion’s Mane Village
Mortar Count: 72
Open
Live Oak Campground
Mortar Count: 28
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Long Canyon and Marsh Creek
Mortar Count: 36
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Los Meganos State Historic Park
Mortar Count: 2
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Los Vaqueros Log Cabin Village
Mortar Count: 60
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Los Vaqueros Overlook
Mortar Count: 2
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Los Vaqueros Pond Village
Mortar Count: 130
Open
Louise’s Walkway
Mortar Count: 2
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Lower Deer Valley
Mortar Count: 14
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Lower Highland Ridge Pond
Mortar Count: 5
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Lower Mallory Creek
Mortar Count: 2
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Lower North Blue Oak
Mortar Count: 3
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Lower Village Overlook
Mortar Count: 2
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Lower Village Upper Overlook
Mortar Count: 2
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Lower Volvon Village
Mortar Count: 200
Open
Mallory Creek #1
Mortar Count: 2
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Mallory Creek #2
Mortar Count: 7
Open
Mallory Creek #3
Mortar Count: 10
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Mallory Creek Village
Mortar Count: 45
Open
Mallory Ridge Pond
Mortar Count: 6
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Manhattan Trail–Black Diamond Mines
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Manzanita berry grinding slick with one cupule
Manzanita Ridge
Mortar Count: 2
Open
Manzanita slick
Manzanita Trail
Mortar Count: 11
Open
Mid Silva Creek Terrace
Mortar Count: 11
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Morgan Territory Ridge East Shelf #1
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Morgan Territory Ridge East Shelf #2
Mortar Count: 1
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Morgan Territory Ridge East Shelf #3
Mortar Count: 3
Open
Morgan Territory Ridge Ridge East Overlook
Mortar Count: 3
Open
Murphy Meadow
Mortar Count: 8
Open
Near Intersection of Blue Oak and Miwok Trails
Mortar Count: 5
Open
Near the top of Hog Canyon
Mortar Count: 3
Open
North Morgan Territory Ridge
Mortar Count: 2
Open
North Morgan Territory Ridge Lookout Knob
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Nothing There
Mortar Count: 38
Open
Off Marsh Creek Road
Mortar Count: 5
Open
Prayer Ridge
Riggs Canyon Rock Camp
Mortar Count: 113
Open
Rock City
Mortar Count: 13
Open
Round Valley
Mortar Count: 1
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Round Valley Village
Mortar Count: 317
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SE Mallory Ridge
Mortar Count: 4
Open
Silva Creek
Mortar Count: 2
Open
Silva Creek Cave
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Silva/Kellogg Lower
Mortar Count: 2
Open
Silva/Kellogg Upper
Mortar Count: 5
Open
Slick Ridge
Mortar Count: 33
Open
South Blue Oak Trail Ridge
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Stone Corral
Mortar Count: 33
Open
SW Riggs Canyon
Mortar Count: 5
Open
SW Windy Point
Mortar Count: 9
Open
The Toad
Top of Hog Canyon
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Trail Through Time
Mortar Count: 27
Open
Upper East Morgan Territory Ridge
Mortar Count: 6
Open
Upper Homestead Trail Knob site
Mortar Count: 8
Open
Upper Marsh Creek Tributary
Mortar Count: 3
Open
Upper Pond Village Creek
Mortar Count: 10
Open
Upper Whipsnake Trail
Mortar Count: 2
Open
Volvon Overlook
Mortar Count: 3
Open
Whelk Lookout
Mortar Count: 2
Open
Whelk Pond
Mortar Count: 5
Open
Windy Point
Mortar Count: 9
Open

Territory: Volvon

The Volvon were one of the Bay Miwok tribelets living in Contra Costa County at the time of European contact. They were a hill people based in the rugged Black Hills southeast of Mt. Diablo. The mountain itself was in Volvon hands. It had been the home of the supernatural First People, who created Indians and their world, and was a spiritual focus for nearly every tribe that could see it. Shamen and religious leaders went to the mountain to pray. Everyday people would visit its slopes for intertribal festivals. This meant the Volvon must have been a prosperous people. One did not just sashay into Volvon territory without bearing tribute for the privilege. Imagine the trade goods the Volvons acquired this way. They were regular participants in regional trade festivals hosted by their Ohlone neighbors, the Ssaoams, at the Brushy Peak trading grounds not far from the Altamont Pass. The Volvons’ preeminent position at the crossroads of Central California no doubt made them a sophisticated and cosmopolitan people.

That Volvons were active traders does not mean their territory was short on natural resources. The name ‘Volvon’ itself roughly translates as “natural springs,” which befits a triblet based in the Black Hills where the headwaters of a number of perennial creeks rise. The highland heart of Volvon territory today is rich in oak, pine, and manzanita. Mount Diablo is home to a number of endemic plant species–rare resources controlled by Volvons. Open rangelands, now mostly overrun with nonnative grasses, must once have been covered with food-bearing plants. Deer, elk, and antelope were no doubt abundant in the lighly settled ridges and valleys on the eastern side of the territory.

Volvon territory gives every appearance of once having supported a substantial population. We have discovered 81 bedrock mortar sites, and over 2,100 bedrock mortars. Each site carries its own sense of place and is an individual window into the past. As you walk the paths that connect these sites and build up a richer mental map and sense of the landscape, you may acquire a feeling for the possibilities of life in Volvon territory in the not so distant past.

There are magical and metaphysical powers associated with Mt. Diablo and the Black Hills. Go there now and experience its effect on your perspective. Steep yourself in prehistory. The Spanish extirpated the Volvons from their homeland 200 years ago, but physically, their territory remains virtually intact today. The land still has a life of its own.

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Volvon Village on Mallory Creek

Volvon Village on Mallory Creek 715 bedrock mortars and countless housepits spread over a half mile. Cupule rock. This village, located in the highlands of the Black Hills, must have been one of the largest settlements in the prehistoric Bay Area, yet it was, apparently, unknown to early archaeologists and historians. It does not appear […]

At-the-end-of-Devils-Slide-trail

Intersection of Devils Slide Trail and Trail Through Time

Intersection of Devils Slide Trail and Trail Through TimeOne bedrock mortar. Possible housepit nearby.Deep in the canyon below a sulphur spring sits a single cone-shaped mortar. Did a family live here? A single person? Or was this a “traveler’s rest” site?Closeup of the mortar.

BelowSwede

Morgan Territory Ridge East Shelf #3

Morgan Territory Ridge East Shelf #3Three bedrock mortars.Elevation 1560 ft.We discovered this beautiful funnel-shaped mortar in late Fall 2013.We also found this nice two mortar rock across the swale from the single mortar shown above.

Volvon-overlook-toward-Brushy-Peak

Volvon Overlook

Volvon Overlook3 bedrock mortars, 2 of them bowls.Looking down Mallory Creek toward Brushy Peak.It is only 6 miles as the crow flies to the regional trading grounds on the NE side of Brushy Peak.This is a natural lookout point. A group concerned about security would undoubtedly post someone up here.

BWC

Bob Walker’s Cave

Bob Walker’s Cave1 bedrock mortar, rock shelter, stacked rocksElevation 2147 ft.The late Bob Walker was an environmentalist, photographer, and president of the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club. During his tenure there he pushed for the expansion of Morgan Territory Regional Preserve and saw its acreage increase from 970 to more than 5,000 […]

LouisesWalkway

Louise’s Walkway

Louise’s WalkwayRock feature. Two bedrock mortars nearby.Here is another spot Louise Lacey turned us on to. It’s a great place to hang out and be alone with the world.Parallel rock alignments like Louise’s Walkway turn up elsewhere in Morgan Territory Regional Preserve.Rocks at the open ends of this alignment give it the aura of a […]

RockCity

Rock City

Rock City13 bedrock mortars, grinding slick, cupules, and incisions.There are deep, well-worn mortars here.Another view.

Downstream-from-Whelk-Pond

Downstream from the Whelk Pond

Downstream from the Whelk Pond.Single oblong mortar 300 yards downstream from the Whelk Pond on “The Lip.”Note the pestle near Bob’s left hand.

MalloryCreekShelfLower

Mallory Creek Village

Mallory Creek Village.45 bedrock mortars in a small village on a shelf above Mallory Creek.18 cupules at one bedrock mortar station.Elevation 655 ft.This is a beautiful site in a secluded glade.Look for the old Indian trail leading to sites further up Mallory Creek.Bob stands in a possible housepit.How much dirt has washed down on this […]

SWRiggsCanyon

SW Riggs Canyon

SW Riggs Canyon5 bedrock mortars on a small shelf, 4 on one rock.Elevation 1523 ft.Bob clears leaf litter from a mortar.