The information presented on these pages was derived from sample
archaeological excavations and construction monitoring during an
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cleanup project that took place
during August and September 2006.

The actual reports are posted at
https://ucla.academia.edu/JohnParkerPhD

Select buttons at left to learn about specific artifacts recovered and their
meaning.
Location

The Elem Indian Colony is situated along the southeastern shore of the eastern arm
of Clear Lake, Lake County, California.  The reservation is located near the town of
Clearlake Oaks and takes in a small 50+ acre point of land that is surrounded on
three sides by the lake.

The reservation has been home to Native American people for ~14,000 years and has
been home to the united Southeastern Pomo communities of Elem, Kamdot, and Koi
since 1872.
Site maintained as a public service by Archaeological Research, PO Box 1353, Lucerne, CA 95458.
Contact: dr.john@wolfcreekarcheology.com
Elem Archaeology
History and Prehistory of Lake County
and Beyond
The Elem Community

The Elem Native American community has been recognized by early
explorers, linguists, and ethnographers for 150 years.  There is evidence that
Russians from Fort Ross and Salvadore Vallejo visited Clear Lake in the
1820’s and 30’s.  There is also an account of Hudson’s Bay Company
trappers passing through the area in 1832-33 (Work 1945).

The first published mention of the Southeastern Pomo village of Elem (?lem)
seems to have been by Gibbs (1853:109).  Gibbs accompanied Colonel Redick
McKee (United States Indian Agent) through northwestern California during
the summer and fall of 1851.  During this expedition, the chief of the How-
ku-ma tribe (Southeastern Pomo village of Elem) participated in treaty
negotiations with McKee.  In 1871 and 1872, Stephen Powers traveled
through California and studied the Native cultures.  He visited Clear Lake
and wrote about the Makh’el-chel (Southeastern Pomo) (Powers 1877:214).

The information presented on these pages was derived from sample
archaeological excavations and construction monitoring during an during
All work took place within the known boundaries of archaeological sites CA-
LAK-76 and 2044.  Re-deposited soils from site CA-LAK-82 were also sampled.

The data recovered indicate that large portions of LAK-76 were intact and
contained significant amounts of cultural material.  The data suggest that
LAK-72 was a permanent year-round village location that has housed native
people from ~14,000 years ago to the present.

Prehistoric cultural materials indicate the following activities were taking
place at the site:

  1. The manufacture of chipped stone tools,
  2. Gathering and preparation of hard seeds (grains, pine nut, and sage
    seeds) and soft nuts (acorns),
  3. Fishing, fowling, hunting, and the gathering of freshwater shellfish
  4. The manufacture of shell beads and personal adornment items.
  5. Human burial and other ceremonial activities.
  6. Trade and exchange with outside groups.

Historic cultural materials indicate the following activities were taking
place at the site:

  1. Gardening/farming, animal husbandry, and other agricultural
    activities.
  2. Fishing, boating and other lake related activities.
  3. Stick frame house construction and maintenance.
  4. Transportation activities (both automobile and pre-automobile).
  5. Cultural interaction with overseas Chinese.
  6. Household activities (cooking, cleaning, etc.).
  7. Recreational activities, both adult and children (games, toys, etc.
  8. Ceremonial activities (traditional).