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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | East Bay | Health, Housing, and Public Services
Archaeological Survey of the Bay Miwoks in the Mount Diablo Mountain Range
The Volvon were one of the Bay Miwok tribelets living in Contra Costa County at the time of European contact. They were a hill people based in the rugged Black Hills southeast of Mt. Diablo.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF THE BAY MIWOKS IN THE MOUNT DIABLO MOUNTAIN RANGE
Having been on an archaeological survey up thousands of feet in the Mount Diablo Mountain Range today in Central Contra Costa County, California. We were in the homeland of the Volvon Band of Bay Miwok. I made awesome discoveries of prehistoric & paleolithic Native sites dating back 10,000 years ago in the history of California Native America. Here I discovered supernatural dream caves that medicine men or holy people would crawl into to perform ceremony. Also numerous leeching or bathing stations. The leeching stations were used to remove the toxic poisons from the acorn or buckeye tree harvests, one removed the acorn or buckeyes would be used to make bread type staples and cereals.
The Volvon were one of the Bay Miwok tribelets living in Contra Costa County at the time of European contact. They were a hill people based in the rugged Black Hills southeast of Mt. Diablo. The mountain itself was in Volvon hands. It had been the home of the supernatural First People, who created Indians and their world, and was a spiritual focus for nearly every tribe that could see it. Medicine men and religious leaders went to the mountain to pray. Everyday people would visit its slopes for intertribal festivals.
This meant the Volvon must have been a prosperous people. One did not just sashay into Volvon territory without bearing tribute for the privilege. This was how the trade goods the Volvons acquired this way. It was probably a boundary between several different tribal groups, an area where members of East Bay and San Joaquin Valley groups met periodically to trade and socialize. They were regular participants in regional trade festivals hosted by their Ohlone neighbors, the Ssaoams, at the Brushy Peak trading grounds not far from the Altamont Pass. The Volvons’ preeminent position at the crossroads of Central California no doubt made them a sophisticated and cosmopolitan people.
That Volvons were active traders does not mean their territory was short on natural resources. The name ‘Volvon’ itself roughly translates as “natural springs,” which befits a triblet based in the Black Hills where the headwaters of a number of perennial creeks rise. The highland heart of Volvon territory today is rich in oak, pine, and manzanita. Mount Diablo is home to a number of endemic plant species–rare resources controlled by Volvons. Open rangelands, now mostly overrun with nonnative grasses, must once have been covered with food-bearing plants. Deer, elk, and antelope were no doubt abundant in the lighly settled ridges and valleys on the eastern side of the territory.
Volvon territory gives every appearance of once having supported a substantial population. There been discoveries of 81 bedrock mortar sites, and over 2,100 bedrock mortars. Each site carries its own sense of place and is an individual window into the past.
There are magical and metaphysical powers associated with Mt. Diablo and the the surrounding territories. Go there now and experience its effect on your perspective.The Spanish extirpated the Volvons from their homeland 250 years ago, but physically, their territory remains virtually intact today. The land still has a life of its own.
Round Valley Regional Preserve EBRPD
Volvon – Bay Area Native Sites
Private collection of notes by Mike Raccoon Eyes Kinney
foto credit- Mike Raccoon Eyes Kinney