|Long before the Spanish arrived, the San Fernando Valley had a rich
human history. Many different groups of California Indians, including the
Fernandeño and Chumash, lived in the Chatsworth area. In an
attempt to preserve the local culture of the area, a significant part of
the CHS collection is artifacts left behind by the indigenous population.
Soon after of the formation of the CHS in 1963, the society went on an archeological dig in Chatsworth. Members found many native American artifacts, such as ornaments, beads, and tools, all of which are on display at the Chatsworth Museum. The CHS was also fortunate to be invited to look at some preserved pictographs, or rock paintings, which were found on the property at the Rocketdyne Santa Susana Testing Site in Chatsworth. Below is a photograph taken by CHS member Orville Mitchell of pictographs made by local Indians.
Homestead Acre is also home to a Native American leaching basin. The California Indians in the Chatsworth area use to eat a mush made of acorns. Acorns, however, are extremely bitter unless the tannic acid is leached out of them. The Native Americans would hull, pulverize, and ultimately flush the acorns with water to remove the acid. The crevice in the rock, where they would grind and wash the acorns, can be seen at the CHS leaching basin at the Homestead Acre.
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