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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Berkeley in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Mortar Rock

 
 
Mortar Rock Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 21, 2012
1. Mortar Rock Marker
[Illustrations:] [top:] Elderberry, Sambucus mexicana [bottom:] California Bay Tree, Umbellularia californica
Inscription. Mortar Rock takes its name from the many holes worn in these hard lavas by Native American women pounding and grinding acorns and other seeds into meal. This staple food could be stored and later cooked into cakes or porridge.

Native Americans also used many of the other plants in this park. California bay trees (Umbellularia californica), relatives of avocados, provided oily, nutritious nuts. Their pungent leaves, like those of mugwort (Artemisia californica) helped keep insects out of food stores.

Big, glossy seeds of California buckeye (Aesculus californica) were mashed and used to stun fish. In lean times, they could be leached of their poisons and eaten. Blue elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) branches were easily hollowed out to make flutes and clappers. The soft pith helped kindle fires. The berries were eaten along with many others, including rose hips and berries of toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia). Other plants were used in baskets, clothing, dyes and medicines.
 
Erected by Friends of Five Creeks.
 
Location. 37° 53.601′ N, 122° 16.356′ W. Marker is in Berkeley, California, in Alameda County. Marker can be reached from Indian Rock Avenue. Click for map
Mortar Rock Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 21, 2012
2. Mortar Rock Marker
. The marker is located at Indian Rock Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 915 Indian Rock Avenue, Berkeley CA 94707, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Indian Rock (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); John Hinkel Park (about 700 feet away); Northbrae Public Improvements (approx. mile away); Thousand Oaks Neighborhood and Urns (approx. 0.4 miles away); Site of Thousand Oaks School (approx. 0.4 miles away); North Branch Berkeley Public Library (approx. 0.6 miles away); Live Oak Park (approx. 0.7 miles away); Site of Napoleon Bonaparte Byrne House (approx. 0.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Berkeley.
 
Categories. Horticulture & ForestryNative Americans
 
Indian Mortar Holes for Grinding Acorns. image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 21, 2012
3. Indian Mortar Holes for Grinding Acorns.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 507 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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