The journey started quietly enough, I was writing a series of columns for my local paper “The Martinez Gazette” about mysterious features of Contra Costa County and the eastern part of the San Francisco Bay Area. I had already written a number of articles about haunted houses, mysterious spots, even the odd UFO abduction but when I came across the mysterious walls of the east bay I found a true oddity.
The walls of the East Bay traverse some 50 miles in a straight line from the Carquinez Strait to San Jose, and in some places another 20 miles inland to Mt. Diablo. They are generally six feet high, and so far have defied explanation, hence the title “mysterious.” For nigh on 100 years they have been explored, thought about but today have been largely abandoned. Theories on their origins range from Zheng Hue’s exploration fleet, giants, Native Americans, even farmers but so far little or no archeological research has been done on them outside of the trying to document their history which apparently pre-dates western/Spanish activity in the area.
Rough estimates by a geologist put their age older then 400 years or circa late 1500’s which puts this anomaly in new territory and forces the dismissal of many common theories about European / Spanish farms. Especially since the greater San Francisco the Spaniards did not settle region until 1769 when an expedition lead by Don Gaspar de Portola and Fr. Juan Crespi began to settle what is now San Francisco. There was the odd seafarer such as Sir Francis Drake, who was believed to have sailed through the area in 1579, but seeing as he was a privateer the notion that he and his men attempted to settle the region is high suspect.
Conventional research of the mystery walls has pointed towards Native American construction. This is the passively accepted view of this mysterious artifact, but this too seems suspect. To build a wall over 50 miles long running North to South and up to 20 miles East would have been a massive undertaking and is almost unheard of for hunter gatherer cultures. That added to the general lack previously discovered megalithic structures casts serious doubt over the notion that the wall is of Native American origin. In fact to posit that notion we would need to understand what purpose would a massive wall, broken today but one would imagine it was unbroken in the past, serve to a nomadic group? Conventionally walls are used defensively or to define land ownership and keep animals in as pens. In the case of the Coastal Miwok (the indigenous group of the greater San Francisco area) they were nomadic and not pastoralists having no real domesticated animals. So that leaves a defensive wall but what war would be large enough for that size of wall?
That leaves us in a very interesting position and forces the exploration of other options. One possible scenario is the Zheng Hue fleet which set out to circumnavigate the world, and that end there is evidence that the Chinese did reach California. Anchors found in Baja California, mysterious writings from a Buddhist monk in Meso America, even a sunken 17th century Junk found near Chico. Then there is the porcelain found in Drakes Bay.
All these elements make for a true mystery. A 50 mile long wall is odd enough, but what if the wall was not alone? What if there were other walls? A chain of walls all along Northern California because as it turns out, there are other mysterious walls in North California but not just in the San Francisco Bay Area. Instead these series of walls may stretch as far as the Oregon border.
My first discovery was made while doing research about the East Bay Wall. I found information about a series of walls located in Marin County, just across the bay from the termination point of the East Bay walls. These walls, also apparently dating to the same time period and also rock pile walls have long believed to have been built to pen cattle by an Amish farmer who lived in the area in the 19th century. Wait, I’ve heard that story before? Yes, you have. A similar explanation has been used to classify the East Bay Walls, an explanation we now have decent evidence is not possible.
The Marin segment of the wall heads out towards the coast, and displays the same characteristics. The rocks are stacked and the wall is about six feet high. There are places where the wall is lower, but as I personally discovered in a exploration the Milpitas section of wall, over 3 feet of it had been buried due to weather antiquity. Never the less, a very similar wall exists in Marin County which starts and roughly the same position, just West, of the East Bay Wall. But why doesn’t the wall connect? The section of land between the Carquinez Straight and Marin, home to the former Mare Island Shipyard, is largely a marsh and wetland. Build a wall in those conditions would have been near impossible. It is also important to note that at many of these locations the rocks seem to show human manipulation, in many cases you can see bore holes where a hole was drilled into the rock for an unknown reason.
So as we move back towards Marin, we continue towards the Coast. At which point we pick up a new segment of wall located in Point Reyes. The mysterious Standing Stones of Point Reyes, bisect the Tomales Point peninsula and are laid out in a straight line with some 400 stones placed to make a wall roughly two feet high. It bears mentioning that although this wall is only two feet high it may in fact be partially buried as I discovered with the Mission Peak segment of wall, but the fact that it is two feet high and laid in a straight line. This has lead some to point out that it is directly aligned towards Mt. St. Helens in Washington state but this has not been explored.
So the mystery deepens as we now have a 50 mile long wall with a separate series of walls in Marin leading to another set of walls in Pt. Reyes. To say that is a massive engineering project is somewhat of a misnomer. The construct a series of walls, complete or broken, of that magnitude would have taken a large manual work force probably decades to construct. To allocate resources for such a massive undertaking would also require an equally massive need, something beyond simple celestial alignment or ritual structures.
The interesting thing is that the story does not end there. I also recently came across a rather interesting series of articles about a mysterious wall located in the Shasta Valley. This wall would be located North and East of the Tomales Point structure, but is again of similar design. Roughly six foot walls which seem to stretch on for miles across the valley. What makes this even more interesting is the fact that these walls exist in a fairly remote mountainous, and non Coastal Miwok, zone. In fact in a research study written about the area, the archeologist could find no apparent reason for these walls to have been constructed.
“While it is conceivable that the reason for these stone fences being constructed in the valley proper lies with the obvious need to clear some of the rocks off the land in order to plant crops, the need for fences within the foothills and more mountainous regions is not so readily apparent.” (“Archaeological Explorations in Shasta Valley, California”, by Hamusek, Blossom, Eric W. Ritter and Julie Burcell, for the California Bureau of Land Management in 1997).
The interesting thing is that the rock walls are not confined to just the San Francisco area, or to just the Shasta are but are actually located throughout the northern part of the state. They stretch, in groupings, South to Fresno and North to the Oregon border. The walls also seem to exist in concentrations, many times around hills or some central landmass. This is also consistent with the East Bay Walls which originally started this line of research. In the case of the East Bay Walls, the wall takes a move inland towards Mt. Diablo, which is the dominant landmass of the area as well as ringing several small hills along the way.
If the East Bay Walls or any of the wall complexes are taken independently they represent quite a mystery, but when taken in the larger context what appears to emerge is order and distribution. It is particularly telling in the region around the Sutter Buttes, which display a massive number of walls, which appear to ring the buttes themselves, but it’s the geographical distribution of the wall complexes, which is most telling.
In the Bay Area the walls seem to ring the bay, one would imagine that the original unworn walls would have encircled the bay. In the Sutter Buttes the walls appear to extend out from the central feature and do indeed look like property divisions with fairly small areas enclosed by larger areas. In many ways it looks much like county lines but on a micro scale. This seems to indicate they would have been defensive or property boundaries, but the issue here is boundaries for who? That is the true question here. This is especially interesting because the structures themselves seem to cross the boundaries of known indigenous groups and in some cases cross the boundaries between groups which had historically held a high level of animosity towards each other. This would also seem to discount the notion that native groups built these walls.
What has emerged from this exploration is the possibility of a heretofore unknown, large scale, and distributed culture. There appears to be several fairly large population centers where the walls seem to concentrate and divide less land. While in other lower population density areas there seems to be larger chunks of land divided up. This can be seen in the Sutter Butte complex vs. Burney Rock Lines. In the Northern area there seems to be another large complex in the area surrounding Mt. Shasta.
The interesting thing about the distribution of these large complexes seems to exist around large landmasses and to ring them. Another interesting element of this culture appears to be the propensity to ring bodies of water. This is seen at the Hog Hill location as well as in the Shasta complex.
So the fifty million dollar question is who built this? It would appear to be a distributed group since the construction technique is similar as well as the position of the geographic zones (around hills), with large concentrations around larger landmasses such as mountains then smaller groups around lower hills.
Who built these is something, which could be open for debate, but it would seem with such a geographic distribution the ancient Chinese would need to be ruled out since their fleet would not provide the population size for such a level of construction. The apparent age, based on samples examined at the East Bay Wall, would rule out European incursion since the samples inspected would indicate a settlement pattern hundreds of year pre-dating the Spaniards. It is also important that the relative age estimate is older then 400 years, but based on conversations the actual age is probably more in the 500 to 600 year range maybe even older. Further analysis is needed before a better dating of the rocks can be done.
This ancient, potentially pre-contact, civilization could also account for the persistent stories of Lemurian and survivors of Mu landing in California post cataclysm. There are stories dating back some time which seem to recall survivors of a great cataclysm settling in California, especially around Mt. Shasta which also appears to have the highest density of these mysterious walls.
Whether the walls were built by Lemurians or some other ancient pre-contact culture this would appear to be the source of the story and begs for better and more defined research to be done. It represents a massive failure on the part of conventional archeology to not investigate an anomaly of this magnitude.
What we can see is a large population, geographically dispersed which had a fairly sophisticated concept of resource division as well as defense, but what is really interesting is the apparent lack of ruins in these areas. We can see the walls, we can see the concentrations, but there don’t seem to be any other ruins. This would suggest either extreme antiquity meaning the ruins of the settlements are buried or that while this apparent civilization did build walls on a massive scale their structures were temporary or at least made out of non stone/non age resistant material such as stone. The third possibility is that the walls themselves are not the population centers but maybe agricultural centers with the bulk of the population living in settlements close by.
No matter which way you take the discussion there is an anomaly here which needs further intensive interest and investigation. Not enough has been done to understand the true nature of what has emerged as a lost civilization. Not only a lost civilization but a fairly large lost civilization which could pre-date European contact and could also account the long standing myths of Lemurians and survivors of a lost island in the Pacific and that is a story that has been in doubt for sometime by conventional historians.
Maybe they were Lemurians or maybe some unknown group built these structures, either way the mystery of the California Walls needs further exploration and still persists as a true enigma.
Special Thanks to http://www.relicsoftheancients.com/ for some of the images and information.