By Bernice Romo
contributing writer 

Presentation by David Whitley, June 24


June 10, 2023

The volunteers of Tomo Kahni State Historic Park are pleased to announce a presentation by David Whitley will be held Saturday, June 24 starting at 10 a.m. at the Community Congregation Church Friendship Hall, located at 100 E. First St., Tehachapi. The title of Whitley’s presentation will be “Understanding the Archaeology of Tomo Kahni State Historic Park.”

Whitley is an archaeologist who has lived in Bear Valley Springs since 2008. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1982 and served there as Chief Archaeologist from 1983-1987. He has conducted research in Guatemala, South Africa, France and Spain but his primary focus has been on the rock art of California, where he has emphasized using Native American records to understand the art. His publications include 17 books and approximately 100 articles. Included among his books are “The Rock Art of California” (2000), “The Handbook of Rock Art Research” (2001) and “Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit: The Origin of Creativity and Belief” (2009). His Introduction to Rock Art Research (2nd edition 2011) received the Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award for 2006 and his publications have been translated into six languages beyond English. In 2022 Whitley received the Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis from the Society for American Archaeology.

Tomo Kahni or “Winter Home” is the historic site of a Kawaiisu (Nuwa) village. The area was likely chosen for it’s moderate temperatures and plentiful resources. Although no structures remain, the area’s rich history comes alive through the clues that the inhabitants left behind. Rock rings mark the locations of many of the kahnis, or homes, that were built of juniper and willow. Hundreds of mortar holes in the park tell of a very active past.

Due to the extremely sensitive nature of the site, the park may only be explored on a three-hour guided tour. The moderate hikes are offered on weekends during the spring and fall. The spring tours have concluded but fall tours will resume in September. Reservations can only be made through the California State Parks or by calling the Fort Tejon Office at (661) 248-6692.


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