The First “Californians”

We do not know where the first Californians came from, but we do know they arrived about 13,000 or 14,000 years ago. Archaeologists throughout the state have found large, fluted spear points identical to those from late Pleistocene sites in other parts of North America. Unfortunately no other artifacts are found with these points, so they provide very little information about the habits and lifeways of these early people.

By 10,000-7,000 years ago, people were living in central California and most other parts of the state, from the high Sierra to the Pacific coast – including the Los Vaqueros area, just three miles to the south of the Marsh House. They lived in traveling bands as hunters, gatherers, and fisherfolk, and some of their camps survive today in the archaeological record. Many of these ancient sites lie buried beneath several feet of sediment deposited by flooding, landslides, and other events – even historic-era gold mining. When these buried sites are exposed – as in the cutbank of Marsh Creek – they give us a tiny glimpse back into the distant past.

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