In 2005, avocational archaeologist,
Gary Johnson, discovered an unrecorded Native American site in Rolling Hills Estates on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Once he realized that this large site was a significant
discovery, he contacted professional archaeologist, Carl Lipo from California State University at Long Beach, to verify his
findings and assist him in recording the site into the archaeological record. The site, recorded in 2009, is now designated as CA-LAN-3863, also known as Thunderhawk Hill.
Cultural resources discovered at the site include stone
choppers, scrappers and projectile points. It has been estimated that 99 % of the raw materials used to make these tools came from local sources. Objects recovered include several varieties
of local chert, sandstone, quartz, flint, soapstone, river rock and imported obsidian from the Coso Volcanic Field. Obsidian
was hydration tested and was dated to approximately 3000 BCE.
Local tribal leaders have also been contacted and they have verified that
the location is an historic Tongva habitation area, and they support future scientific research at this site. CA-LAN-3863 is located on Palos Verdes Land Conservancy
property and they are aware of the recent findings and they too support further research.
Mr. Johnson has now focused his attention on another parcel in Rolling
Hills Estates where development, which includes 114 new single family homes, a reconfigured
18-hole golf course, and a new approximately 61,000 square foot clubhouse and related facilities are planned. The 225.5-acre project site is located on the existing
sites of the Chandler Quarry and Rolling Hills Country Club (26311 and 27000 Palos Verdes Drive East) in the northeasterly
portion of the City of Rolling Hills Estates. The proposed development is located adjacent to CA-LAN-3863.
As the plans for the Rolling Hills Country Club/Chandler
Quarry site moved forward, McKenna et al of Whittier were hired and they conducted an EIR in 2006. The public
comment period for the draft EIR commenced on May 1, 2009 and ended on June 30, 2009. Their report acknowledges that human remains were discovered
in the proposed project area and were reported by D.L. True in 1960. Upon conducting a phase II investigation of the area where human remains were reported, the following
statement was written in the EIR.
According to the Phase II testing program conducted by
McKenna et al., the site appears to have been inaccurately mapped. However, although the site does not exist at its reported
location, it may exist within the confines of the immediate area. Mitigation Measure CULT-1 should be implemented to ensure
that no impacts to human remains interred in informal burial grounds occur.
suggests that an archaeological monitor and a Native American monitor work on site when the development gets under way to
ensure that human remains are properly documented if found. Ultimately, McKenna’s recommendation in the report regarding the disturbance of human remains in the project
area was, “ Less than significant with the incorporation of mitigation measures.”
Mr. Johnson is concerned, that at the time
that the EIR was written the existence of CA-LAN-3863 was unknown to McKenna et al, and that this company did not fully investigate
the existence of human remains on the Rolling Hills Country Club/Chandler Quarry project site. Mr. Johnson and members of the Tongva tribe, would like to see the area
reinvestigated as they are concerned that appropriate testing procedures were not conducted by McKenna et al in areas where
human remains are likely to be found.