From San Diego Archaeological Center:
Potrero: A Mountain Meadow
Less than one hundred years ago Potrero Valley was believed to be heavily forested with oaks, elders and sycamores. The surrounding area once consisted of chaparral and meadows. In July of 1979 an archaeological investigation was conducted on the Chacksfield property, which is located 1.2 miles north of Tecate Peak, 3 miles south of Potrero Peak and 1.4 miles north of the U.S./Mexico boarder.
Prior to the archaeological investigation, the area had housed families who used the land for farming and raising cattle.
The Potrero Valley was first settled by non-natives in 1868 by sea captain Charles McAlmond. Since that time the thick forests which once covered the area have been exploited by the early settlers in many different ways including cash crops of cordwood, bark for tanning leather and smoking meat, medicinal teas, and the making of ink.
The Chacksfield Project focused on finding information on who lived in the area prior to 1868 and how they lived. Artifacts such as metavolcanic material and pottery sherds indicate that people have been living in this area for over one thousand years. Evidence of milling activity, such as bedrock metates and manos along with marine shells, bones and pottery sherds date this site as a Late Prehistoric satellite camp.
This area was most likely occupied during the late summer and early fall as part of a larger village-camp system. Marine shells found at the site indicate trade with groups living up to 40 miles away in the coastal area. Different pottery sherds found at the site indicate that trade with groups living in the Carrizo Valley and perhaps even with the Desert Cahuilla.
The archaeological artifacts found at Potrero represent the Late Prehistoric Period (900 AD to 1769 AD). The artifacts used in this exhibit are curated at the San Diego Archaeological Center.
This exhibit is currently on display at the Potrero Branch Library, 24883 Potrero Valley Road, Potrero, CA 91963; (619) 478-5978. It runs from August 4 through September 28.