PAINTED CAVE, CALIFORNIA
Colorful Native American paintings are hidden within this small cavern.
Hidden along a narrow, steep, and windy road is a tiny piece of the Chumash Native American history preserved for visitors to view. The state park is small, and doesn’t look like much at first glance. But peek through the bars blocking the entrance to this cave, and you’ll discover striking traces of the past.
This little cave is filled with preserved art that was created long before Europeans settlers moved into California.
The colorful symbols are a bright contrast with the pale sandstone surface. Though the meaning of the images is unclear, it’s believed the artwork is related to Chumash cosmology. Though the exact age of the rock art is unknown, anthropologists estimate that the paintings were created in the 1600s, if not earlier.
The Chumash and Gabrielino-Tongva peoples were the first human inhabitants of the Channel Islands and Santa Monica Mountains areas in California. Some archaeological sites connected with the tribes and their ancestors date back as far as 15,000 years.
There is evidence that the settlers have known about this spot for years, as early migrants left their mark in the form of graffiti near the Indigenous artwork. Bars were installed over the entrance and the area was declared a state park to prevent further damage.