The Circle of Stones: An Investigation of the Circle of Stones in Stampede Valley, Sierra County, California

In 1969, archaeologists uncovered a large circle of roughly piled stones about twenty miles north of Lake Tahoe. In The Circle of Stones, Richard Schwartz sets out to determine who built this mysterious ring and what its original purpose was. In his search for answers, Schwartz compares the Circle to known similar occurrences and explores local history, including the lives of the many people who passed through this area, from indigenous societies to the white, African American, and Chinese settlers of the nineteenth century.


“Simultaneously a detective story and an example of the scholarly thought process.”—Christopher D. Dore, PhD, RPA


“Schwartz leaves no stone unturned in his detailed investigation.…An important contribution to the history of this intriguing region of California.”—Kent Lightfoot, PhD, University of California–Berkeley

About the Author

Richard SchwartzRichard Schwartz is a historian and the author of Eccentrics, Heroes, and Cutthroats of Old Berkeley; Earthquake Exodus, 1906; Berkeley 1900; and The Circle of Stones. An outdoor enthusiast and animal lover, he worked on a Pennsylvania Dutch farm before heading west to find higher mountains. He now lives in Berkeley, California, where he works as a building contractor and documents early Native American sites in the Bay Area. Visit his website at