Discover the ancient history of California before it was California at Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park. This ancient site in Northern California will expand your historical knowledge of the region, once inhabited by the Miwok people.
The main attraction at Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park is the collection of mortar holes that provide a glimpse of life in North America for the Miwok people.
There are 1,185 mortar holes in the marbled limestone. This is the largest collection of bedroom mortars in North America. This place is said to be hundreds, perhaps thousands of years old.
The Miwok word for this site is “Chaw’se,” which translates to “grinding rock.” These rocks were used as mortar cups where acorns could be pounded with a stone and made into a fine meal that could be used in cooking.
The Miwok people grew and harvested California Black Oaks acorns. Acorns must be processed to be edible, as they have a bitter taste. With acorn flour they could make porridge, biscuits, bread or soup.
In addition to the rocks, visitors can view petroglyphs estimated to be 2,000 to 3,000 years old.
These drawings are next to the grinding rocks, leading experts to conclude that the Indian Grinding Rock was an important gathering place for the Miwok. There are 363 petroglyphs, suggesting that these rocks were a gathering place for many generations of people.
After visiting the crushed rock and seeing the petroglyphs, check out the Miwok village and roundabout.
The entire park is set up to help you imagine what life was like for the Miwok people and learn more about their culture. The rotunda was an important community center and gathering place. This rotunda is 60 feet with an entrance gate facing east, the direction of the rising sun. This is a sacred place, so they ask that people refrain from touching or leaning on the posts and obey the instructions to enter the roundabout, which are marked at the entrance.
Lastly, you won’t want to miss the Chaw’se Regional Indian Museum. Located inside the park, this museum has lots of interesting exhibits and artifacts, plus a gift shop.
The museum has a variety of exhibits displaying artwork and historical artifacts from the Miwok and other Sierra Nevada Native American groups. There’s also a hands-on display, as well as interactive demos – perfect for the kids!
The park is located in Pine Grove, 8 miles east of Jackson in the foothills of the Sierra. The 135-acre park is located in a valley at an elevation of 2,400 feet. This is the only state park in Amador County.
You can imagine that the first people in this region must have been overwhelmed by its natural beauty, with meadows, beautiful oak trees, streams and lots of wildlife. There are hiking trails as well as camping in this beautiful and historic park.
Most people don’t know about all the historical sites within this beautiful park. It’s a great place to explore and spend some time while thinking about what life was like for people in the area thousands of years ago.
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ADDRESS: Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park, 14881 Pine Grove Volcano Rd, Pine Grove, CA 95665, USA