Western Center Museum for Archaeology and Paleontology
2345 Searl Parkway
Hemet, CA 92374
Western Center (Archaeological) Museum Opened October 15, 2006 - Hemet, California
The Western Center for Archaeology & Paleontology is a museum on a 17-acre lot
(seven-hectare) campus located near the dig site, Diamond Valley Lake - The $46 million
Western Center for Archaeology is a marvel, in Hemet, California. link
The Diamond Valley Lake Reservoir, completed in 1999 by the Metropolitan Water
District of Southern California, is the largest earthworks project on US soil.
The 33,000 square-foot Western Center for Archaeology & Paleontology facility showcases
more than $4 million worth of Ice Age mammal and archaeological exhibits highlighting
early settlers in the Inland region. Link
Ice Age Finds in the Dig of Diamond Valley Lake
The Western Center museum complex has an incredible (huge) collection of bones,
teeth and body parts of extinct animals unearthed and discovered at the Diamond
Valley Lake site. Over 1,000,000 fossils and artifacts were unearthed during
the construction of Diamond Valley Lake.
The Water museum and Archaeology Life Museum complex provides a link between Southern
Californiaís water infrastructure and the evolution of life in a green facility in the
California desert. The $40 million campus runs 72,000 square feet and was designed
as a collaboration by Michael Lehrer and Mark Gangi from Lehrer Architects and Gangi
Architects respectively - built by Gangi Builders in a joint venture partnership
called Lehrer Gangi Design Build. The Center for Water Education and Western
Center Communication Foundation decided to create a museum fitting in form
and function to display the Native American and Fossil finds of the big dig.
Most of the digs discovery is in the Museum still being analyzed. The Hemet Site is
located in Riverside County east of Highway 15 that extends to San Diego, located
on Highway 79; Housing substantial Ice Age fossils from the Diamond Lake dig site
which was all part of the building of the Diamond Valley Lake and dam, the regionís
largest reservoir. Diamond Valley Lake is a lifeline for Southern California in
times of drought. The lake holds enough water to meet the areaís emergency and
drought needs for six months. If not for the digging of a dam at this site, there
would have been no fossil discovery at all. Southern California was home to mastodons,
mammoths, and saber-toothed cats, horses and camels which have their fossils on display
at the Western museum from the nearby Hemet Lake dig site. These fossils are of animals
that have long ago been extinct.
The reservoir's construction field operations were the largest in the nation,
moving more than 200,000 cubic yards (150,000 m≥) of earth and rock each day to
build the project's three dams. More than 150 million cubic yards (115,000,000 m≥)
of materials were hauled - more than two times the total excavation of the "Channel
Tunnel" project linking England and France at a cost of 1.9 billion dollars. Deemed
one of the largest digs in United States.
Ice Age fossils that were unearthed at the Diamond Valley Lake dig site, included
"Max", the largest mastodon found in California, which measured 10 feet tall at its
shoulder which is the largest mastodon found in the western United States, and "Xena",
a Columbian 10,000 year old mammoth. This Valley of the Mastodons at the Hemet dig
site is considered one of the most important finds in Archaeology. The Incredible
mastodon bones and artifacts are dated back more than 230,000 years.
The last Ice Age started about 70,000 years ago and ended about 10,000 years ago
(during the Pleistocene epoch). The Earth was much colder than it is now; snow
accumulated on much of the land, glaciers and ice sheets extended over large areas
and the sea levels were lower. These phenomena changed the surface of the earth,
forming lakes, changing the paths of rivers, eroding land, and depositing sand,
gravel, and rocks along the glaciers' paths. Link
These "huge" animals roamed around Hemet when the ground was much different.
A giant ground sloth that stands almost 7 feet tall was found, which provides a
glimpse into the ever-changing climate on earth between now, and then.