Ancient Valley (Sea Floor)

Swanston Light Rail Station, Sacramento, CA, 1986-91

Image: one of two larger "ammonites" on the West platform

Ceramic, 15 ft. diameter

Ancient Valley (Sea Floor) is a site-generated installation that integrates two “myths,” one scientific, the other cultural, about the history and origin of the Sacramento Valley. The scientific component incorporates fossil imagery from geologic history, the cultural component uses images derived from Central California Native American artifacts. All the images are represented in the form of hand-formed and industrial glazed ceramic tiles set flush with the cast concrete platforms of the station. Selected plantings around the station were based on a ethno-botanical study of the Nissenan, the Native American tribe who lived where Sacramento is now.

The project was done in two phases, the first from 1984-86 for the first station platform on the West side of the light rail tracks, the second from 1990-91 for the East side of the tracks that was added at that time. Commissioned by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.

tule boat-West platform; fossil-East platform