Hidden Oaks' serene setting is as desirable
today as it was hundreds of years ago when Saklan Indians
settled along the same meandering creek under a canopy of
California live oak trees. It has been known since the early
20th Century that Native Americans - members of the larger
Bay Miwok Tribe - settled here.
Though there is a sharp contrast between
the simple subsistence Miwok lifestyle of the past and the
affluent lifestyle of today's residents, similarities do exist.
Historians suggest that the Saklans were a dignified community,
committed to family life, enjoyed spending time playing field
games, socializing and dancing.
With utmost respect for Native American
culture and the site’s historical significance, careful
archaeological testing, preservation and analysis was conducted
during development of Hidden Oaks. (Several other sites of
archaeological significance are located within a half-mile.)
With the aim of protecting artifacts and burial sites, over
$1 million was spent on archaeological research.
When historic artifacts and an ancient
burial site were confirmed on one portion of the property,
the developers proceeded in accordance with state and local
laws. This included contacting the California Native American
Heritage Commission, which identified a “most likely
descendant.” This individual worked closely with the
developers to monitor site grading and provide guidance on
how to relocate recovered burial remains. Steps were also
taken to protect areas where other remains might have been
disturbed by grading or foundation work.
Because of its rich Native American history,
development in Bay Area communities sometimes encroaches on
property with historical or cultural significance. Rather
than doing what was minimally required, Hidden Oaks' developers
have made every effort to preserve the natural beauty of this
area and to invest significantly in collecting some of the
most detailed information ever compiled on an historic site
in Contra Costa County. According to the experts this research
“greatly expands the available information on the prehistoric
Saklan tribelet of the Bay Miwok people,” and will “allow for a greater understanding of the complexities
in prehistoric lifeways in the San Francisco bay Area”.
More detailed information is available