Elem Personal Adornment

The three shell beads shown (0-206) were found during monitoring at one location. A few glass beads were also discovered.

The red abalone (haliotis rufescense) great horned owl pendant was discovered immediately beneath mine waste.  It displays both modern and traditional manufacture with biconically drilled “eye” holes and straight drill-bit holes along the sides (three made with a 1/16 bit and five made with a 3/32 bit).  Keeping to the traditional Pomo system, four holes were drilled along each side.  In Pomo culture, the number four is very significant.  The Pomo had a base 4 counting system and considered sacred the four directions, the four seasons, and the four earthly states (fire, water, earth and sky).

All ceremonial dances are conducted in sets of four and the dance house has either four roof support poles or two sets of four.

Glass trade beads were recovered by monitors in the cemetery area following a burial that occurred during the project.  These beads were brought to California by the Spanish.  Many of the unearthed glass beads were pressed into a wet concrete slab covering the new grave.

The Elem cemetery has been in use for more than 100 years as is evidenced by this 1906 photo.  Most of the individual fenced plots in the photo show a flagpole that once displayed the family’s traditional flag.  In areas where fencing is no longer standing, it is often possible to locate past graves by looking for piles of rock.  While digging a grave in the rocky soil, heavy rocks are piled next to the hole.  Once the burial is complete, this pile of heavy rocks often remains (even if the fencing is lost).