Tag Archives: “Miracle Mile”

Before Wilshire Boulevard and rush hour, there were mammoths

In this undated photo, a worker holds a pickaxe at the bottom of one of the tar pits located on Rancho La Brea. Land owner Henry Hancock (for whom Hancock Park is named after), excavated the area for its tar content, and carloads of bones (which turned out to be prehistoric birds, mammals & plants) not then known to have a scientific value were burned as rubbish. Photographer: E.S. Cobb. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library historical photo archives.

On the first day of almost all of my anthropology courses, the professor usually began with, “How many of you have heard of Indiana Jones?  Do you think that’s what all anthropologists do?  Well it’s not!”

If I weren’t curiously poking around town and writing about it, I’d settle for…curiously poking around town and digging things up (True story: as kids, my younger brothers and I found coral while shoveling dirt around in the back yard as we tried to build a fort with plywood.  We lived 30 miles north of the closest beach.).  As a result, I’m jealous of the folks who discovered a goldmine of Ice Age fossils beneath an old May Co. parking lot near La Brea Tarpits.

Listen to NPR‘s story about the find here, or read the L.A. Times’ article, “Major cache of fossils unearthed in L.A.

The above photo shows the La Brea Tarpits area in an earlier time in more recent history.