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Yrgin – Bay Area Native Sites
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.

Hill1424

Hill 1424

Hill 14244 bedrock mortars, partial stacked rock rectangle, and other rock alignments.This site is named for its elevation, which is marked on the topographic map that covers Walpert Ridge.There’s a rockwall enclosure here, although it’s hard to make out in places. Perhaps some of it has been removed or buried.This prayer circle is nearby. Bob […]

JV4

Jalquin Vista Park

Jalquin Vista Park16 bedrock Mortars, many with recessed “Olla” rims3 housepitsElevation 1194 ft.What’s in a name? The City of Hayward may think this site was in Jalquin territory, but we believe the Yrgin controlled all of the Walpert Ridge “high country.”This is a great site with extensive views. You can drive right up to it.Note […]

MidRidgeVillage

Mid-Walpert Village

Mid-Walpert Village32 bedrock mortars, rock wall alignments, numerous cupules and grinding slicks.A low, stacked-rock rectangle on a slope just below the crest of Walpert Ridge dominates this site. Could it have been a sheepherder’s corral? What, for paralyzed sheep? So who would have stacked these rocks if not the Yrgin residents of the small village […]

NorthKnollCTH

North Knoll, Chinese Tree of Heaven

North Knoll, Chinese Tree of Heaven12 bedrock mortars, probable housepitsA crudely stacked rock wall protects a small campsite.One should secure permission before visiting this site.

NWR2

North Walpert Camp

North Walpert CampTwo probable bedrock mortarsElevation 785 ft.Another one of Jeff’s finds.A nearby spring furnished water for the inhabitants of this camp. There are impoundment ponds in the area today.A shallow bowl-shaped mortar.

NWL3

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.

PestleRockwallCamp

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, […]

PestleAtRyansHideaway

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 […]

SouthofPrayerSeat1

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.

16thHole

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 […]