Scientific Resource Surveys, Inc.

Field Specialists out in the field



HORSEBACK SURVEYING

KERN COUNTY 6000 ACRES HORSEBACK AND MULEBACK SURVEYING

SRSinc conducted seven surveys of adjacent parcels in Kern County, Tehachapi Mountains, totaling 6000+ acres of land. The Cummings Ranch was the largest parcel including 5120 acres on Cummings Mountain. SRSinc employed an unusual method of surveying large-acre areas, namely 'horseback' surveying. In reality, mules or donkeys are better animals for surveying very rough terrain but horse, mules, or donkeys are all superior to surveying on-foot. The animals can climb areas that are considered dangerous for humans and the rider can view the ground from a height close enough to see small objects, but far enough away to avoid snakes and the fatigue of climbing in and over boulder fields. This survey technique has been utilized by BLM, the Army Corps of Engineers, along with private landowners in San Diego, Riverside, Los Angeles, and Kern counties.

In addition to the horseback surveying, the ranch buildings themselves were evaluated for historic eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The inventory and historic assessment included an 1854 miner's log cabin with adobe fireplace. In 1910, a half-finished barn was begun and discontinued, which reflected a change in the ranch's character; a gradual decrease in the number of horses made the need for the barn obsolete. A granary built in this same year reflects an increase in agricultural endeavors and was built for storing wheat and barley for cattle enterprises. In addition, the family owned and operated a small sawmill. The remains of the buildings forming the complex were found and documented extensively. The Cummings Sawmill Complex included a white pine structure [ca. 1920] that was indicative of a house occupied by a sawmill family. A house previously destroyed by fire still retained corrugated roofing and pipes and pipe frames representing the remains of the sawmill's foreman's house. An adjacent bunkhouse [ca. 1910] originally contained six or seven rooms that provided housing for the single mill hands, and the last structure in the complex was a dilapidated cookhouse from the same era. Several trash pits were found associated with these structures and included materials ranging from 1914 through the 1920s. Approximately a half-mile from this complex was an area with historic wagons and farm implements that were also documented. In the 1980s the Cummings Ranch was still a working cattle ranch, but it also provided living museum of the changes in commercial enterprises in Kern County.




A 4000+ acre parcel encompassed the entire northwestern lake edge of Lake Perris at the time of this large-acre survey. A total of 30 prehistoric sites and one-historic site were located by using a combination of horseback and on on-foot surveys. Three different rock art site-types were found, including pictographs, petroglyphs [including cupules] and yonis. A total of 7 sites contained rock art at 10 loci and included: 22 pictograph panels, 15 petroglyphs [2 yonis], 600+ cupules, and 7+ incised grooves. The vast majority of the pictographs were red, but black pigment occurred at two sites [at least one of these areas may contain burials/ cremations], and one site had one white pictographic panel. The rock art was photographed using colored lenses and infra-red lighting, measured sketches were made and full-sized 'rubbings' were taken. The majority of the prehistoric sites were small processing areas consisting of milling slicks and bedrock mortars. In addition, 15+ springs were located, some in clusters which supported more intense occupations; six of these areas had dense, dark subsurface organic deposits. The only historical structural remains included a springhouse associated with some pepper trees. Due to the extremely significant and dense clusters of prehistoric sites situated around the entire northwestern edge of the lake, SRSinc was instrumental in convincing the private landowner to donate the entire strip of land adjacent to the lake to the Lake Perris State Park.

Return to Top