Upper Ukraina
Mortar Count: 29
Open
Walpert Ridge Lookout
Mortar Count: 19
Open
ALA-60 at Crow Canyon Road and Castro Valley Boulevard
Mortar Count: 44
Open
Canyon Middle School
Mortar Count: 8
Open
Chinese Tree of Heaven
Mortar Count: 18
Open
Garin Park, east spur
Mortar Count: 2
Open
Garin, single morta
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Gossip Rock
Mortar Count: 5
Open
Hill 1424
Mortar Count: 4
Open
Jalquin Vista Park
Mortar Count: 16
Open
Mid-Walpert Village
Mortar Count: 32
Open
North Knoll, Chinese Tree of Heaven
Mortar Count: 12
Open
North Walpert Camp
Mortar Count: 2
Open
North Walpert Lookout
Mortar Count: 2
Open
Rockwall to Campsite
Mortar Count: 8
Open
Ryan’s Hideaway
Mortar Count: 24
Open
South of Prayer Circle
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Stonebrae, 16th hole
Mortar Count: 5
Open
SW Walpert Ceremonial Site
Mortar Count: 22
Open
Upper Palomares Canyon
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Upper Shady Canyon
Mortar Count: 1
Open

Territory: Yrgin

The Yrgin, an Ohlone tribelet, controlled the San Lorenzo Creek watershed on the east side of San Francisco Bay. Yrgin territory included the present day cities of Hayward and Castro Valley and extended from the bayshore to the heights of Walpert Ridge. Walpert Ridge gives every indication of being a religious/ceremonial center. Rock walls, rectangles, prayer circles, and other features are scattered across Walpert’s “high country.” We have no clue as to what, if anything, went on there, but we do know that Walpert Ridge possesses extensive views that encompass much of the central and south Bay Area. This is a place, like Mt. Diablo, where one can have the sense of being on top of the world, looking out over creation.

Some of the sites on Walpert Ridge are owned by the East Bay Regional Park District but held in “land bank” status. Others are on land held by private owners. One should secure permission before visiting any of them.

Randall Milliken suggests in A Time of Little Choice that the Yrgin and the Jalquin may have been the same people. He does not represent this possibility on his tribelet maps in Native American History Studies for the Los Vaqueros Project: A Synthesis, which we follow here.

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North Walpert Lookout

North Walpert LookoutTwo bedrock mortars.Elevation 1480 ft.Jeff certainly has a flair for discovering obscure, out-of-the-way sites.The views form this site are phenomenal.Looking west over Stonebrae.Mt. Diablo and the Black Hills rise in the distance.Oh yeah…one of the mortars.Photographs by Bob Bardell.

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Rockwall to Campsite

Rockwall to Campsite8 bedrock mortars and grinding slick.What’s the function of this wall? A section line? Not likely. Why is it aligned with a Yrgin camp and a spring?Another view of the wall.Photograph by Bob BardellTake time to find all the mortars here and enjoy the ambience of this site. It’s cool in the summer, […]

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Ryan’s Hideaway

Ryan’s Hideaway24 bedrock mortars.This site is named in honor of Ryan the Cowboy, who has kicked us off the ridge several times when we accidentally strayed onto private property.Being tucked away in a little hollow amid sheltering trees gives this site a “hideaway” feel. Look for more mortars on and around the little hill that […]

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South of Prayer Circle

South of Prayer CircleBowl mortar, pestle, and slick.This little camp is about 1300′ above sea level.Assuming the pestle went with the bowl mortar, how was it used? Please do not remove the pestle. Leave it for others to enjoy.One should secure permission before visiting this site.

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Stonebrae, 16th hole

Stonebrae, 16th hole5 bedrock mortars on the 16th hole at Stonebrae golf course.Fore! At least they saved this site, a fate not shared by three others that had the misfortune to lie in the path of the Stonebrae development. That’s three we know about. There may have been more.Two of the mortars here are bowls […]

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ALA-60 at Crow Canyon Road and Castro Valley Boulevard

ALA-6044 bedrock mortars and 182 cupules near the intersection of Crow Canyon Road and Castro Valley Boulevard.The official trinomial for this site is CA-ALA-60. E. Breck Parkman, Senior State Archaeologist for California State Parks, suggests this may be one of the oldest acorn processing sites in the Bay Area. Cultural material excavated here has been […]

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SW Walpert Ceremonial Site

SW Walpert Ceremonial Site.22 bedrock mortars and stone circle placementsElevation 1365 ft.There are extensive views from here.Bob heads for the knob.A closer view of the site. The South Bay lies at its feet.Note the erosion and wear on these two old bowls. Their recessed, “Olla” rims are typically associated with boiling water or food preparation, […]

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Canyon Middle School

Canyon Middle School8 bedrock mortars on two rocksElevation 302 ft.Thanks to Joel for discovering this charming site.One of the mortar rocks here sits near the edge of a steep cliff above Crow Canyon Road and the buried Crow Creek.There are beautifully proportioned mortars on this rock.Another beautiful mortar rock sits in a little meadow not […]

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Upper Palomares Canyon

Upper Palomares CanyonOne bedrock mortarElevation 1450 feetThis rock sits below a spring box, which itself lies directly below the Rockwall to Campsite site. The mortar is a no-doubt-about-it cone six inches wide and six inches deep.One should secure permission before visiting this site.

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Chinese Tree of Heaven

Chinese Tree of Heaven18 bedrock mortars (including 5 bowl mortars), 3 metates, 2 cupules, incised rocks, rock rectangles, rock walls, and rock-lined pathwaysThe Chinese Tree of Heaven tree (Ailanthus altissima) was introduced to California by the Chinese during the Gold Rush. The presence of this tree along with the dry-laid masonry skill apparent in a […]