Cog Stones of the Topanga Culture

Cog Stones or Cogged Stones are gear-like stone discs with 61/8 inches or less in diameter, with a thickness up to two inches. These artifacts are also known variously as cog-wheel stones, or rosette stones. They are obviously a local invention since they are limited in distribution to a portion of southern California and find only approximate counterparts in appearance in other parts of the world. The Cog Stones of the Topanga Culture are the most famous mysterious artifacts which have been found in the Bolsa Chica State Beach, California. They present an element of the unusual and puzzling which intrigues both the popular and the scientific mind. Their exact purpose is unknown, but speculation has centered on religious or astronomical use.

Bolsa Chica Wetlands, California
The cog stones come with different characteristics such as hemispherical grooves, cups, cusps, and dents, sprocketed teeth around the edges, as well as cookie-cutter patterns. Most all of these features occur at precise and repeating intervals, and about 15% had a single hole bored through the center. These holes are narrower on one side, have elliptical sides, are conical, or double conical, where the entry point holes are narrower on either side than at the midpoint. One of the artifacts in particular has a striking anomaly in that it has perfectly square perforation in the middle, something that would be troublesome to duplicate even with our present machine shop technology.

Cog Stones and other artifacts
Many of the cog stones are found at the circa 6,000 B.C.E. strata, containing artifacts that are some of the most primitive found in North America. According to Clement Woodward Meighan, an archaeologist, the Topanga Culture dated back as far as 8000 B.C. It seems pretty obvious that the later peoples may have found the relics of the previous culture and they thus became deposited in their strata. Topanga is the name given to the area by the Native American indigenous Tongva tribe, and may mean "a place above". It was the western border of their territory, abutting the Chumash tribe that occupied the coast from Malibu northwards.

Most archaeologists assumed they were used on some kind of ritual or ceremony. This assumption is based on the fact that an examination of the stones themselves and the conjunctions in which they have been found produces no real clues as to how they may have been employed. Stone club heads and stone heads for staves used in ceremony are reported ethnographically from various parts of the world. However, most of the perforated cogged stones have a biconical hole which tapers to such a small dimension that they would have to be hafted on a stick. All possibility of secular use should not be ruled out, until more evidence of secular function is obtained it is best to regard the cogged stone as "ceremonial." These cog stones can be seen at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.

Mystery of America: "Enigmatic Mysteries and Anomalous Artifacts of North America" - A Connection to the Ancient Past - Book 1 by Tedd St. Rain;
The Cogged Stones of Southern California by Hal Eberhart;
Wikipedia - Topanga, California;
Wikipedia - Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

Pic Source:
Wikipedia - Bolsa Chica Photo by D. Ramey Logan;

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