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In San Bernardino County, California, the developer of the ‘Workplace’ project, Southdown Inc., donated four significant sites to the Archaeological Conservancy. Little is known today about the Vanyume people who lived along the banks of the Mojave River at the time of European contact. At two Workplace sites, archaeologists found an unusual number of seed-processing tools, including stone manos, metates and pestles, as well as bedrock milling stations.

Archaeologist Adella Schroth, who conducted text excavations at the Workplace identified another of the sites at a hunting camp. The site overlooks the floodplain and contains many flaked tools. The Archaeological Research Unit at the University of California at Riverside discovered a rock hearth with ash and charcoal, radiocarbon-dated to approximately A.D. 540.

The Mojave River region provided ancient peoples with a clear route from the great Basin through the deserts to the Pacific Ocean. Prehistoric sites along the river contain shell beads from both the Pacific and the the Gulf of Mexico, turquoise from the eastern Mojave, obsidian from the north, and steatite (soapstones) from the Channel Islands. Later Missionaries, military, expeditions, trappers, traders and others all followed the same winding path along the river’s edge through the desert.

Summary from American Archaeology magazine, Spring 1997, Vol.1 No.1