No one really knows how or when people first came to Coso. Archeologists believe people came across the Bering Straight during the last ice age. Coso's Paiute Indians say they emerged from the very mud of the Coso Hot Springs. In a manner of speaking, they may both be right. The earliest Americans were likely related to ancient peoples of western Asia. On the other hand, the basic factors that make the Coso Indians who they are—their language, beliefs, arts, technologies, and practices—formed partly in response to the demands of the unforgiving Coso landscape.
Little is known about Coso's first inhabitants. When they came here is not entirely clear, but tests show that some of Coso's rock art is at least 12,000 years old. While archeologists remain skeptical that these ancient artists were directly related to contemporary Indians, the particular set of symbols and styles at Coso suggests a very long-lived and continuous cultural connection.
Coso's paleoindians were few in number and moved constantly across what was then a lush landscape in search of large game animals. Over time, their population increased slightly, though never much beyond a small number of family bands. With the decline in large game animals, people began to rely less exclusively on hunting and gathered more plant foods. more >>