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Mysterious Ancient Walls of California

Stretching for over 50 miles, the East Bay “Mystery Walls” are found up and down the hills of the East Bay from Berkeley to San Jose. Many of the stones are quite heavy and the entire site appears to be very old. The wall is up to five feet tall in some places and it was constructed from boulders of varying sizes, some are basketball-sized rocks, while others are large sandstone boulders weighing a ton or more. They are not continuous or high enough to act as an enclosure, or measure of defense. They are clearly, visibly, very old. The heavy stones have sunk deep into the ground, and they are overgrown with lichen. After meandering throughout the Oakland hills, they head inland towards Mt. Diablo where they lead to mysterious stone circles, up to 30 feet in diameter. In one place the walls form a spiral 200 feet wide that circles a large boulder.

The strangest thing of all is that it is completely unclear just who built these walls or for what reasons, and it is still unknown how old they even are. There is no written documentation of the walls’ construction, and pretty much the only thing known for sure is that early Spanish explorers in the region reported that they were already standing when they arrived. Of course with such a mystery and lack of any clues as to the origin of these walls there has been much speculation about them over the years, ranging from the plausible to the more outlandish.

The Spanish settlers in the area reported that the walls were already there when they arrived, and when they asked the local Ohlone American Indians, they said the same thing. In 1904, the founder of the Contra Costa Club said the walls were clearly of prehistoric origin and could be evidence that an advanced civilization had once settled in the East Bay. 

Also in 1904, the professor of Oriental languages at UC Berkeley declared that the walls were surely the work of settlers from Mongolia, as the Chinese tended to wall in their cities, and the mystery walls were reminiscent of the Great Wall of China. Others have theorized that they were built by the early Missionaries, and still others wonder if Sir Frances Drake did not leave colonists behind at the site where he completed the circumnavigation of the globe. 

Unfortunately, the walls haven’t been subjected to a serious scientific examination. Archaeologists and scientists have not investigated this curious and interesting ancient site in more detail. For now, the ancient Berkeley Walls remain an ancient unsolved North American mystery.


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