An Overview of the Cultural Resources of the Western Mojave Desert

Author(s): E. Gary Stickel; Lois J. Weinman-Roberts

Year: 1980


The results of a literature search are presented in this study. The literature search pertained to all unpublished and published written works relative to cultural resources located within the study area. These cultural resources consist of prehistoric and ethnohistoric archaeological sites as well as historic sites. Altogether the project area encompasses a vast amount of land in the western Mojave Desert of approximately 2.35 million acres. The majority of the project area is located within present San Bernardino County with the remaining areas located in Los Angeles and Kern counties.

A total of some 775 archaeological sites were inventoried as part of the study. They consist of a wide array of types ranging from habitation-village sites to cemeteries, petroglyph and pictograph sites, etc. The literature search also discloses that few of these sites have been scientifically investigated, researched, or even dated by radiometric methods. By means of generating the cultural resources overview for the project, it became apparent that the sites represent the entire span of time of human inhabitation of the Mojave Desert. Six chronological periods were utilized for the archaeological sections of the report ranging from the Early Systems Period (50,000 B.P.?) to the Proto historic/Historic Period.

The literature survey for the Historic Period was directed toward constructing a background overview of Spanish-Anglo exploration and settlement in the western Mojave. Furthermore, it inventoried the historic sites elicited through the literature and through interviews with local informants and historical societies. Trail-blazing, mining, and homesteader activities produced the 78 historic sites recorded in this survey. Many of these are on privately held land. Some are geographical sites and display no ruins or evidence of human use. The mine shafts and mills are outstanding and can yield valuable data for industrial history. Field assessment is needed to determine whether sites meet criteria for the National Register of Historic Places.

Findings from this study indicate that there is a great number of archaeological and historical sites in this part of the Mojave Desert (many of which, especially prehistoric sites, have not been found as yet). Many of these sites are to be considered as valuable cultural resources to both the State of California and the Nation. Indeed some sites are already on the National Register of Historic Places.This study is designed to facilitate the Bureau of Land Management's future management of these cultural resources.

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

An Overview of the Cultural Resources of the Western Mojave Desert. E. Gary Stickel, Lois J. Weinman-Roberts. Cultural Resources Publications. Riverside, CA: Bureau of Land Management. 1980 ( tDAR id: 182760) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8F47Q38

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Kawaiisu Kitanemuk Mojave Serrano Tatavium Vanyume


Site Name
CA-KEr-219 CA-KEr-302 CA-KEr-303 CA-KEr-308 CA-KEr-322 CA-KEr-323 CA-KEr-470 CA-KEr-487 CA-KEr-505 CA-KEr-508 CA-KEr-515 CA-KEr-525 CA-KEr-527 CA-KEr-544 CA-KEr-554 CA-KEr-555 CA-KEr-556 CA-KEr-562 CA-KEr-696 CA-KEr-709 CA-KEr-733 CA-KEr-93 CA-LAn-192 CA-LAn-239 CA-LAn-296 Show More

Site Type
Cemetery Rock Art Village

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: -8000 to 1600

Spatial Coverage

min long: -117.642; min lat: 33.723 ; max long: -115.329; max lat: 35.206 ;

Record Identifiers

NADB document id number(s): 1060891; 1044179; 1044178; 1040090

NADB citation id number(s): 000000015578; 000000015577; 000000012549; 000000018504


General Note: Contract number: YA-512-CT8-106

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 three additional records (tDAR id: 191050, 127408, 127412) for this document, which have been marked as "duplicate".

General Note: Sections by: Rainer Berger and Pare Hopa

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
california_cult-resources-mojave-western.pdf 19.76mb Nov 17, 2014 9:15:44 AM Public