A Cultural Resource Management Plan for the Fossil Falls / Little Lake Locality

Author(s): Alan P. Garfinkel

Year: 1976


The report represents the culmination of a three month effort to characterize the cultural resources of the Fossil Falls/Little Lake archaeological locality. The areal focus for this study was concentrated on the National Resource Lands adjacent to the geological site known as Fossil Falls. However, it was found by this researcher, the prehistory of the area would best be served by a more general examination. Since the action of the pluvial Owens River and the relative fluctuations of the spring fed basin known as Little Lake are so intimately tied together, the actual study area incorporated these features as a unit.

The area of concern is located in the southernmost section of Owens Valley, the area known as Rose Valley. It is flanked on the western edge by the Sierra Nevada Mountains and on the east by the volcanics of the Coso Range. The northern edge of the study area is arbitrarily set as the prominent cinder cone known as Red Hill, and the southern boundaries the point of greatest constriction between the Coso Range and the Sierra Nevadas.

The intent of this study is to provide information pertinent to the management of cultural resources. The author provides background information on the environmental setting in order to acquaint the reader with the general physiography of the area. Readily available historical, ethnological and archaeological data are described. Lastly, management recommendations (based on a general survey of visitor preference and local informant interviews) will be set forth. A further objective is to synthesize previously unrelated information on the area and to point out opportunities for further research.

The research described in the report was conducted at the Fossil Falls/Little Lake locality by Alan P. Garfinkel in 1976. The research represents an intensive three month investigation of a unique geological area containing some of the few subsurface occupational remains of the "Pinto" or "Little Lake" period, dating from at least 3000 B.C.

Additional cultural material found in stratigraphic context in this area may date to as early as 8000 B.C., suggesting affiliation with the "Lake Mojave" complex. Projectile point forms recovered from both surface and subsurface contexts represent the entire Great Basin temporal series, dating from 8000 B.C. to at least A.D. 1200. The location of these archaeological sites near one of the few freshwater lakes in the Mojave Desert, their proximity to a known source of high quality obsidian, and their association with Pleistocene river channels contribute to their unique characteristics which distinguish them from other archaeological sites in the Mojave Desert.

The unique qualities of the Fossil Falls/Little Lake locality resulted in its listing on the National Register of Historic Places in July of 1980 as the "Fossil Falls Archaeological District." In addition, most of the management recommendations in this report were successfully implemented in 1978 and 1979, providing protection to critical resources while also enabling the public to enjoy them.

Originally the information in this record was migrated into tDAR from the National Archaeological Database Reports Module (NADB-R) and updated. In 2014, as part of its effort to improve tDAR content, the Center for Digital Antiquity uploaded a copy of the document and further improved the record metadata.

Cite this Record

A Cultural Resource Management Plan for the Fossil Falls / Little Lake Locality. Alan P. Garfinkel. Bakersfield, California: Cultural Resources Publications, Bureau of Land Management. 1976 ( tDAR id: 132538) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8611194

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Geographic Keywords
California (State / Territory) Fossil Falls Inyo (County) Little Lake / Coso Region Little Lake 15' quad North America (Continent) Owens Valley Rose Valley Sierra Nevada Mountains Region

Temporal Keywords
Kuhwiji Pinto Period

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: -3000 to 1200

Spatial Coverage

min long: -118.189; min lat: 36.107 ; max long: -117.816; max lat: 36.465 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Sponsor(s): Bureau of Land Management, Bakersfield District

Submitted To(s): Bureau of Land Management, Bakersfield District

Record Identifiers

NADB document id number(s): 1043453; 1040058; 1080241

NADB citation id number(s): 000000020045; 000000014864; 000000012518


General Note: Originally this record was automatically added to tDAR from NADB. In 2014, a copy of the document was added and the record metadata was updated. There were two additional records (tDAR id: 196870, 190860 ) for this document, which have been marked as "duplicate".

Redaction Note: Information related to site locations has been redacted from the report. Refer to Appendix 4 in the full report to find out where and how to obtain this information.

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
little-lake.pdf 4.12mb Oct 24, 2014 11:07:22 AM Public