Update W: Visiting the Prehistoric Village at Lorenzen Preserve

Overview of the Lorenzen Site
Overview of the Lorenzen Site

While doing some recent work in northeastern California, TAC’s western office stopped at the Lorenzen Preserve near the small settlement known as Day, California.  This conservation easement was acquired in 2011 and contains the remains of a large prehistoric village.

obsidian flakes within midden soil
Obsidian flakes within midden soil turned up by burrowing animals

The site was excavated in 1960, under the direction of Dr. Martin Baumhoff, of the University of California, Davis.  The excavation of the midden rich soil yielded faunal and freshwater mussel shell fragments, shell beads, projectile points, metates, mortars, pestles, charmstones, baked clay fragments, and lithic debitage.  The stratigraphic continuity of the Lorenzen site indicates 3000 years of uninterrupted occupation by the ancestors of the current day Achomawi, or Pit River Indians.

Projectile Point Fragment
Projectile Point Fragment

While monitoring the Preserve, TAC personnel observed numerous obsidian flakes and artifacts in every place the ground surface was exposed or within the excavated mounds of dirt left by resident gophers or moles.  The Lorenzen Preserve is positioned adjacent to a hot spring, a resource used by the prehistoric inhabitants.  Today, the water source has a thriving bird, bee, and flowering plant population.

pond, created by hot springs, with high reeds and rushes
View overlooking the pond, created by hot springs, with high reeds and rushes
View looking back to the Preserve
View looking out from the Preserve


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