VIGNETTE > Anamás Midden

About 5000 years ago, the Coast Miwoks established permanent residence sites around San Francisco Bay. By the time the Spaniards arrived in the late 18th century, the sites had become large mounds often referred to as middens, an old English word for dump. The midden on Sycamore between Locust and Amicita was the site of a village called Anamás. Professional archeologists from UC Berkeley excavated it between 1907 and 1910.  It was 450 ft. long, 200 ft. wide and 20 ft. high. The soil had been blackened over the centuries, the result of many fires. Waste products, such as shells and the bones of fish and game accumulated within the soil. In 1781, a Coast Miwok named “Huicmuse” was born at Anamås. 20 years later, he left Anamás and went to Mission Dolores in San Francisco.  He was baptized as “Marino” a saint’s name. Over time his name was shortened to “Marin”.  In 1850, General Vallejo named the county after “Marin”. The Anamás midden no longer exists. It took only a few decades for the rich dark soil to be carted away for use in Mill Valley gardens, tennis courts, public paths, driveways, school playgrounds, etc.