Lee Anne Schmitt
Bowers Cave
20 minutes
Bowers Cave
a historic-collage film
by Lee Lynch and Lee Anne Schmitt
“In 1885 two boys discover a cave of Chumash Indian artifacts in what is now a landfill in Castaic, a small town outside Los Angeles, Ca. The Collection found in the cave is believed to be the largest collection of native religious objects discovered in the United States.”
In 1885 two boys in Southern California who discover a cave of Chumash Indian artifacts in the San Martin Mountains on land that is now part of the Chiquita Canyon landfill, located in the small town of Castaic. The cave is known as Bowers Cave, named after the amateur archeologist Stephen Bower, a notorious looter of Indian sites, who brought the artifacts from the boys, and then reselling them for a profit, mostly to private collectors. Now, a small portion exists in the Peabody museum at Harvard.
It is believed that the collection is relics that belonged to a messianic cult formed by the Indians after a large mission revolt and the objects were placed in the cave for safekeeping.
The film is a meditation on the eradication of the Chumash culture, but also the conflict between the spirits and the material.

Screening history:
Official selection of Marseille Documentary Film Festival, 2009
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