The Roundhouse in a Miwok village was the center of ceremonial and social life in a similar way as Western culture uses churches and places of worship. The Roundhouse at this site was constructed in 1974 as a way to continue on with the longstanding tradition of Native American celebration.
The door faces east to catch the spirit of the rising sun. Four large oaks are the focal point of this large and imposing structure measuring 60’ in diameter. The Roundhouse is constructed of cedar poles secured with grapevines and topped with cedar bark. The roof is supported by oak pillars. A fire pit sits in the center.
The Chaw Se’ site is thought to be one of two known sites in California that features both petroglyphs and grinding holes. Carvings of animal and human tracks, in addition to circles and wavy lines, are estimated to be two to three thousand years old.
Today the Roundhouse is used exclusively for the “Big Time” heritage celebration held every fall. This is a time when Native Americans share their heritage and allow the public access into the Roundhouse. Any other time of year, the Roundhouse is considered sacred space and public access is not permitted.
The Roundhouse historical landmark is located within Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park that preserves 135 acres of meadows and Valley Oak lands. The highlight of the state park is the Indian grinding rock that contains nearly 1,200 mortar holes where acorns were ground in meal. The state park is reported to contain the largest collection of bedrock mortars in the United States.
Amador County was one of the most productive of the “Mother Lode” counties. The mine shafts were reported to be among the deepest in the world. Mining continues in select areas today. The eastern slope of Amador County begins at Kirkwood’s historic stage stop. The relatively narrow county is aligned between the Mokelumne and Cosumnes rivers and roughly follows an important emigrant trail route. Gold rush camps and boom-towns abound in the history of the area. Amador County is also recognized for its dozens of vineyards and wineries.