This Old Rock is named for our ancient Grinding Rock of white crystalline quartz, with many deep mortar holes on it.
This quartz deposit was documented in 1976 as one of only three quarries of quartz crystals in California used by Native Americans for tools,
weapons, and ceremonial artifacts. The Hill Nisenan name for this village was "Syhylim Toma," the Martis name is unknown.
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If you are visiting the California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa,
look for two specimens from This Old Rock on display.
This beautiful quartz crystal Plate is the largest ever extracted from the State of California..
Click on Photo to link to page with Close-ups of "Old Growth" and "New growth" crystals.
This magnificent crystal, Cluster One, was the first giant quartz crystal we discovered in this ancient Indian quarry.
Click on Photo to link to page about how this stone was extracted, and see "The Sword in the Stone."
Giant Spike is the largest point we have found so far.
Click on Photo to link to page showing how we extract specimens without damage.
Cluster Two was beside Giant Spike along the crystal cavern wall.
The museum grade specimens above are four of the largest
Quartz Crystal conglomerates ever documented from the West Coast of North America.
The best known and last of the Native American residents was Hill Nisenan Chief Coppa Hembo,
whose name translates to "Grizzly Bear Slayer".
A Prized Tool for Native Americans
The California Indians made use of many different rocks and minerals, 26 have been identified with specific uses for each, there are possibly many
others. Quartz was prized for its hardness, and cleavage properties (crystallinity). Quartz was pressure flaked into weapons for hunting large and small
game, and for war when necessary. Arrow points, spear heads, knives, axes, hammers, and pestle stones of quartz have been found.
Quartz crystals were treasured among the Native Americans. Almost all tribes attributed magical qualities to quartz crystals. They were considered
good luck, used as curing stones in healing rituals, as tips on sacred wands, and as charm stones to bless their hunts. The Hill Nisenan
along the American River used them in ceremonial rituals. Ancient burial mounds along the Sacramento Delta contained hundreds of quartz crystals
which were perfectly clear and flawless. It shows the ancients sought out the crystals and made great efforts to obtain them.