Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Emeryville Shellmound

"The Emeryville Shellmound was a highly remarkable historic,
cultural, and sacred site established by Ohlone Indians over
centuries of use from 500 B.C. to approximately 1700 A.D.
These people were among the earliest inhabitants of the region
now known as the San Francisco Bay Area. They built their
villages on the mound and buried their dead, creating, over
the centures, a sixty foot high mound with a diameter of about
350 feet. This signficant site functioned holistically in both
the secular and sacred realms, and as such, should not have
been disturbed, but honored as a place set apart from the
mundane world. ...

Imagine what we now call the San Francisco Bay Area in an
earlier time, some 2500 years ago, when it was a more natural
landscape, a large estuary where creeks, streams, and rivers
drained into a bay filled with abundant marshlands.
Punctuating this watery landscape were a series of nearly
400 mounds ringing the bay which had been built by the Ohlone."

The University of California Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of
Anthropology gives the dimensions of the Emeryville Shellmound
as 975 feet by 325 feet by 32 feet; and dates the founding of these
mounds to Amerindians in ca. 2300 B.C.E.:


Image of the Southern wall of the Emeryville Shellmound
being leveled in 1924 to make space for a paint factory:


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