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14 January 2005
River exposes ancient grinding holes

Pits used by ancient Indian tribes to grind acorns and crack shellfish have been revealed after a river washed away the sand covering them in Monterey County, California, USA.
    The Carmel River has uncovered the grinding holes, or mortar pits, previously in 1983, 1995, 1998 and 2003. Rae Schwaderer, the archaeologist for the Monterey district of the state Department of Parks, said that the bedrock mortar pits are found along most of Carmel River State Beach.
    Chuck Bancroft, the state park ranger, said the ancient village of Ixchenta along San Jose Creek opposite Monastery Beach had been inhabited for thousands of years. Some believe the area was first settled by Indians 2,300 to 2,400 years ago, although others believe it was as long ago as 8,000 to 10,000 years.
    "All around Monterey Bay you'll find bedrock mortars and good midden sites," he said. Built on top of these were the Chinese fishing villages of the 19th century and later still the Lodges at Pebble Beach and Spanish Bay. "People have always known where the best spots are," he added.

Source: Monterey County Herald (7 January 2005)

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