One of the displays in the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands, California, is entitled Sacred Earth and subtitled Understanding our past and honoring cultures that thrive today. One section of this display looks at some of the technological changes which began about 1,500 years ago. According to the Museum display:
“Tribes became increasingly tied to their specific regions around 1500 years ago. Being dependent on the land meant understanding the workings of every living thing and its place in the circle of life. They produced tools, medicine, and supplies based on what was available to them, and traded with neighboring and distant tribes to obtain goods that were otherwise unavailable. Some tribes, like the Serrano, moved seasonally, since their territory covered many ecological zones. Other tribes, with abundant local resources, like the Mohave, had more permanent homes.”
About 1,500 years ago, there was a series of long-term droughts in Southern California and adaptation to this environment brought about changes in technology and social organization. On the coast there was a great dependence on deep-sea fishing which was facilitated by the manufacture of plank canoes.
According to the Museum display:
“In the winter, some tribes had more ‘permanent’ villages and dwellings located in the valleys to escape the cold of higher elevations. Archaeologists find these village sites strewn with mortars and pestles, manos and metates, ceramics, and other items that were too heavy to carry to summer encampments.”
Shown above is a Paiute parching tray. Shown above is a Karok pine needle brush and a Serrano mano and metate. Shown above is a tree trunk mortar and a stone pestle. Shown above is a pine needle basket by Juanito Nejo, an Ipai basketmaker. Shown above is a Serrano basket. Shown above is an Ipai basket. Shown above is a Paiute burden basket. Shown above is a large Serrano storage pot.