April 5, 2010

Chumash Painted Cave and a Quick Visit to Santa Barbara

With clouds in the air and massive Easter crowds at the campground, we decided to take a quick day trip into Santa Barbara to see what it is all about. 

On the way, we stopped by Chumash Painted Cave. This sandstone cave in the Santa Ynez Mountains contains astronomical figures it is believed were painted by Chumash shamans in the 13-16th centuries. The paints are made from red ochre, ground seashells, charcoal, and other pigments.

The Chumash peoples lived along the Central California coast and the Channel Islands living off the chapparal woodlands and the abundant sea life. They were exterminated from the Channel Islands, but a small population survived in the Santa Barbara where there is a small reservation in the Santa Ynez Valley today.

There is an image (The blackened circle with rays coming out) that is interpreted as a full solar eclipse that happened in 1647, prior to European contact. The other stars becoming visible in the brief darkness.

We went down to the Santa Barbara pier to check out the marine center, where Hilina could touch baby sharks, sea stars, a sea cucumber, hermit crabs, and all kinds of other local sea life. She was really impressed with the small octopus and its suction cups.

We ate some lunch at the pier, walked around a bit, and enjoyed the day...

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