Tehachapi Pass Questions

CAVEMAN -- San Bernardino, Calif. USA (cjcoker@CSUPOMONA.EDU)
Tue, 1 Nov 1994 17:18:49 -0800

This is being forwarded -- the Anthro/Geo Club at Cal Poly just got e-mail and
they aren't subscribed to any lists. I will forward all replies to them. They
tried sending the question to a couple of lists, but all were returned unmailed.
Thank you for your time. The students decided to subscribe individually --
each has their own area of interest.

Chuck Coker

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From: CLSTAC::ANTHROGEO "Cal Poly Anthro/Geo Club" 31-OCT-1994 23:52:54.75
Subj: Tehachapi Pass


Please excuse multiple copies of this letter as it has been cross posted.

This past weekend, 29 & 30 October, a few members of the Anthro/Geo Club at
Cal Poly Pomona (Pomona, California), went camping in the Tehachapi area.
Tehachapi, and Tehachapi Pass, are on Highway 58 between Bakersfield and
Barstow. While on a hike, on Saturday, we went north of Monolith, up into
the hills. This area appears to have fairly recently become Tehachapi State
Park -- at least none of the group had heard of the park before this weekend.

While climbing about in the hills, we ran across some petroglyphs on a rock
overhang. The ground underneath this overhang varied from about one foot
to several feet. The paintings on the rock were done with a red pigment,
overlaid by white pigment lines, which were in turn overlaid by black
pigment lines. Some of the figures looked human-like, while others were
a series of rings, each inside the other. There also appeared to be what
some called a star map. A portion of the overhang was blackened with a thick
layer of soot, indicating many campfires.

These paintings appear to have Native American origins, rather than be the
graffiti so common in many places (the site is fairly inaccessible).

What we were wondering was 1) does anybody know of any archeological work
having been done north of Monolith? 2) Are there any plans to do excavation
at the overhang site? It seems like a good place to perform a dig. 3) Are
there other sites similar to this one in the Tehachapi Pass area? If so,
where? 4) Does anybody have any ideas on the signifigance of a site like
the one described? 5) What people inhabited the Tehachapi Pass area? People
in our group suggested Paiute (seems to far west, maybe travellers?),
Serrano (were they only in the San Bernardino mountains?), Kawaiisu,
Kitanemuk, Alliklik, Shoshone, Vanyume, Yokut (too far south? Tehachapi
is rumored to be a Yokut word, or possibly Shoshone)?

At the Red Rock Canyon State Park, maybe twenty miles (?) away, they suggested
the Kawaiisu. A. L. Kroeber, in _Handbook of Indians of California_ (Bulletin
78 of the Bureau of American Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution, 1925),
suggests Kawaiisu also; he also says the Chemehuevi claim the area, as well as
the Mojave.

Does anybody know anything about this area? Or is it all speculation?

By the way, the petroglyphs at Red Rock Canyon State Park have been destroyed
for about ten years now. If you are going there to see them, don't bother,
they're gone. One of the rangers was not even aware that there had ever been

Thanks in Advance,
Anthropology/Geography Club
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California

The opinions expressed here are solely those of the members of the Anthro/Geo
Club and are not necessarily those of the California State University System.

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