Brushy Peak Loop Trail
Mortar Count: 6
Open
Cave Camp
Mortar Count: 5
Open
Club Moto
Mortar Count: 30
Open
First Terrace
Mortar Count: 31
Open
Frick Lake
Mortar Count: 16
Open
Kitchen Site
Mortar Count: 22
Open
Post Office Rock
Mortar Count: 12
Open
Reservoir
Mortar Count: 7
Open
Second Terrace
Mortar Count: 20
Open
Sulphur Spring
Mortar Count: 5
Open
Third Terrace
Mortar Count: 6
Open
Top ‘o Brushy Peak
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Upper Fetus
Mortar Count: 5
Open
Vernal Pool
Mortar Count: 23
Open
Windmill Overlook, Central
Mortar Count: 22
Open
Windmill Overlook, Lower
Mortar Count: 20
Open
Windmill Overlook, Upper
Mortar Count: 2
Open

Territory: Ssaoam

The Ssaoam were an Ohlone tribelet inhabiting the hills around Brushy Peak and the Altamont Pass. Their territory lay astride the main trade routes linking the Bay Area with the San Joaquin Valley. The Ssaoam acted as brokers in a regional trade network with the Volvon (Bay Miwoks) and the Tamcan (Northern Valley Yokuts).They hosted trade feasts on the northeast side of Brushy Peak. Acess to this area is controlled by the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District (LARPD). Call (925) 373-5707 for details about visiting this area on a ranger led tour.

Wind and water have worked their magic on the rock formations scattered below Brushy Peak’s northeast flank. This is a surreal, if not supernatural, place.

The main Ssaoam settlement was on the southwest side of Brushy Peak. It spread over the slopes of Brushy Peak on terraces and ridges. We’ve found 141 bedrock mortars here at 10 distinct sites. All of these sites are on non-restricted parkland in the Brushy Peak Regional Preserve.

There are two cupule rocks in this settlement: one has 23 cupules, the other 18.

View of Brushy Peak from near the Laughlin Ranch Staging Area. Nearly all the bedrock mortar sites we’ve found on this side of Brushy Peak are visible from here.

FrickLake4

Frick Lake

Frick Lake16 bedrock mortars and anvils.This site hugs the southwestern boundary of Brushy Peak Regional Preserve. Thanks to Joel for discovering it.Looking down at the site and at Frick Lake.Photograph by Bob Bardell.The mortar rocks.A closeup of one of the mortar rocks.Another mortar rock. Note the range of mortar sizes–from the cupule/anvil through the shallow […]

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Windmill Overlook, Lower

Windmill Overlook, Lower20 bedrock mortars and several housepits spread along the base of a rock ledge.Elevation 1355 ft.Looking out on the Livermore Valley.Afternoon shadows creep across the land as Bob walks below the rock ledge.A two-mortar rock. Note the elliptical upper section of the funnel mortar.Photograph by Bob Bardell.

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Kitchen Site

Kitchen Site22 bedrock mortars.Elevation 820 ft.We call this the “kitchen site” in honor of the twelve mortar rock found here.Heading down to the site.Photograph by Bob Bardell.This twelve mortar rock has some of the deepest bedrock mortars you’ll ever see. Three of these bullet-shaped mortars are over 15″ deep.A closeup of some of the deep […]

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Windmill Overlook, Upper

Windmill Overlook, Upper2 bedrock mortarsElevation 1475 ft.There are fantastic views from this site.One of the mortar rocks caps the rock ledge above the Lower Windmill Overlook site.The other mortar rock at this site.Photographs by Bob Bardell.

Post-Office-Rock

Post Office Rock

Post Office Rock12 bedrock mortars.Elevation 980 ft.Access to this site is strictly controlled. Call LARPD at (925) 373-5707 for details.Jim leads a group to Post Office Rock.A closer view.

Bottommost

Reservoir

Reservoir7 bedrock mortarsElevation 743 ft.These mortars sit where relatively level ground gives way to rocks and rising contours. They are subject to burial by soils washed down from above.One of a pair of bullet-shaped mortars on a slab near the five-mortar rock pictured above. Note the machined interior and flat rim.Photograph by Bob Bardell.

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Second Terrace

Second Terrace20 bedrock mortars; housepits.Elevation 880 ft.That’s another multiple mortar rock at the center of the photo.A closer view. Note the bell-shaped vegetation plug.A view over some of the mortar rocks here.Previous two photographs by Bob Bardell.

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Sulphur Spring

Sulphur Spring18 cupule rock; 5 bedrock mortars; slick 70′ away.Elevation 722 ft.The cupule rock. The use of cupule rocks here and elsewhere is, for the most part, shrouded in mystery. 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. […]

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Third Terrace

Third TerraceSix bedrock mortars spread over a fairly wide area.Elevation 1035 ft.A view of the third terrace.One of the two two-mortar rocks here. Note the battered interior of the funnel mortar.Looking at a mortar rock holding a big bowl mortar.The bowl mortar.Above photographs by Bob Bardell.The other two-mortar rock here.Bob stands near the other mortar […]

BrushyPeakLoopTrail

Brushy Peak Loop Trail

Brushy Peak Loop Trail6 bedrock mortars and two probable mortarsElevation 1338 ft.We missed this rock in our earlier survey. The new Brushy Peak Loop Trail passes right by it.