BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 520

Volunteers clean litter from archaeological site 

On Saturday, Feb. 18, members of the Coachella Valley Archaeological Society and the Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians teamed up with the BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office, to clean-up accumulated trash from an archaeological site near the famous Lake Cahuilla fish-traps site. The volunteers joined BLM archaeologist George Kline and OHV grant wildlife specialists Beth Wood and Monica Ketcham, to collect three pick-up loads of trash and construction debris left from public use (illegal OHV, and illegal dumping). The details of the outing were arranged by a California Archaeological Site Stewardship Program volunteer, Britt Wilson. (text continues below)

a group of people poses for a photo
Volunteers pose for a group photo

After the clean-up the group visited the near-by fish trap site where local Cahuilla people constructed boulder enclosures along the ancient shoreline. Several rows of these fish traps follow the shorelines, marking the various water levels as the lake levels receded. Many of the large boulders exhibit petroglyphs on their surfaces facing the lake. It is unknown exactly how fish were trapped in these enclosures, and as the water receded, some boulders were re-used on the lower (newer) enclosures. Many of these boulders are over a hundred pounds and undoubtedly utilized the labor of numerous workers over time. The estimated last lake level of this height was between 1400 and 1500 AD.

a man stands at a low circle of rocks
A fish trap enclosure

petroglyph symbols on boulders

- George E. Kline, archaeologist, BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office (Feb. 23, 2012)

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 520 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.