Skip to main content

The Concow Basin is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, approximately fifteen miles east of Chico, California, and it’s the ancestral lands of the Konkow Maidu tribe. The archaeological site Butte-961, an ancient village that dates to about A.D. 1500 sits in the basin. This date is based on the analysis of projectile points that were found there, and more research is needed to determine its precise age. The village is approximately twelve acres in size, and associated cultural resources have been found over a much larger area.

Pithouse depressions found at the Butte 961 site.

Butte-961 was originally recorded in 1987 by Anthony Salzarulo and Robert Johnson, residents of the town of Concow. Salzarulo is of Maidu ancestry, and he has visited the site many times. The Salzarulo and Johnson site record identifies seven bedrock mortar outcrops with several hundred mortar holes. The site record also identifies “several dozen” circular housepit depressions in three clusters. A much larger depression is located outside of the village that is thought to have been a ceremonial structure known as a dancehouse. Whereas most of the circular depressions are roughly six feet in diameter, the dancehouse depression is forty-one feet in diameter and approximately five feet deep. There’s also mention of projectile points, pestles, side-notched pebbles, and soapstone vessel fragments in the site record.