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Native People

people grinding acorns

Recent archaeological studies have identified the presence of people in Calaveras County as long as 12,000 years ago. More abundant evidence exists, however, for the relatively recent residents of the last 2-3,000 years. These people, descendents of ancient Great Basin tribes, are identified by distinctive projectile points, rock art, burial practices, and food technologies. Somewhere between 1,000 and 500 years ago the Northern Miwuk arrived in the area, often settling on sites occupied by their predecessors. It was the Miwuk who intensified use of the acorn as a staple food and utilized milling stations with multiple grinding holes. They lived in tribal groups identified by family lineages, and moved seasonally through elevations in their territories. Oriented to water courses, the Miwuk of the Mokelumne River encompassed villages in both modern Amador and Calaveras Counties.

Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc. Davis, 2009