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Stone Tools 

The Tongva used various types of stones to make tools, including obsidian and chert (1), which produced very sharp edges. To make a tool, the Tongva would first select a big chunk of obsidian (2). Using a hammerstone (3), small pieces (called flakes) were removed to produce the shape of the intended tool, in this case a biface (4). The edge of the tool was sharpened with the use of a deer antler tip (5). The Tongva used soapstone to make bowls and other essentials, using a scraper (6) and an abrader (7).   

Loan courtesy of Desiree Martinez 



 Soapstone Beads  

Soapstone beads (8) were used by the Tongva for personal adornment, gifts, and trade. 

Loan courtesy of Desiree Martinez 


Elderberries (huukat(9) and elderberry syrup (10) 

Loan courtesy of Craig Torres 


California Bay Laurel (‘avaangar) 

Leaves (11) are used as an insecticide and as medicine to cure headaches. 

Loan courtesy of Craig Torres 



Chia flowers (pashiiy ‘ashuun) 

These flowers (12) are the source of chia seeds, a vital food source for the Tongva.  

Loan courtesy of Craig Torres 


Tule Mat (hiihinat) 

Tule mats were used in Tongva homes (kiiy(13) for seating and sleeping, as room dividers, and to protect doorways. They were also used as baby carriers. 

Loan courtesy of Craig Torres 


Mano, Metate, and Soaproot Brush 

The mano (amaan(14) and metate (ngooxavet(15) are used to grind acorns, seeds, and other items in food preparation. The soaproot brush (sapeechoha) (16) is used to clean the metate and other cookware. 

Rancho Los Cerritos permanent collection