Millingstone Horizon – The Archaic People of California – 6500 BC – 1500 BC

Millingstone horizon represents the time frame when Native Americans were on their peak in the state of California. These people were mostly known for their food grinding technology especially the use of Manos and Millingstone. It is believed to be the longest running culture of Archaic people in California which started in 6500 BC and ended in 1500 BC. It is also regarded as one of the last archaic cultures that survived in the southwest. These people may have some links with the present day Chumash people living in California especially in the regions like Santa Barbara, San Luis, Morro Bay county etc. This tradition is also called Encinitas tradition or the Oak Grove.


This culture was mostly known for its millingstone which were made up of stones like Metates and Manos. The Millingstone was primarily used for processing small seeds. Wallace wrote about various tools and weapon used by this culture.

Millingstone Horizon - Millingstones Created Around 6000 Years Ago

According to him projectile points used by these people were very heavy and were attached with a throwing stick which was quiet thick. He mentioned that the tools used by these people were pre dominantly made from stones and the use of bones and shells was not observed so frequently. He also believed that there were some decorative or charmstones made by these people used in various rituals conducted by the priest.

Archaeological sites

Most of the archeological sites of these people are discovered along the Santa Barbara’s coast. These sites have revealed a lot of knowledge regarding the lifestyle of these people. Further many polished stones, projectile points and certain special stones have revealed that these people were quiet different from nearby cultures like La Jolla.


It is believed that before 3000 BC the people living near the coasts were primarily dependent on fishing. Till that time they used to spend nomadic life, their population was quite small and they used to move towards south and low latitude regions during winter. They were hardly able to exploit various metallic resources. After 3000 BC they started growing crops their population was quite large they lived a more settled life. So this time frame also changed their lifestyle and culture to a large extent

Shift to Central California and southwest

It is believed that due to melting of Wisconsin glacier which continued till 3000 BC. There was rise in the sea level forcing these people to leave their coastal sites like Santa Monica mountain ranges and to establish them deep inside the continent.

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