The Oldest L.A. Woman


She arrived fashionably late, thousands of years after the Columbian mammoths and saber-toothed cats became extinct. She lived, she died, and about 9,000 years later “La Brea Woman,” as she’s come to be known, was discovered at the tar pits one day in 1914. She was anywhere from 18 to 24. Maybe she met her end after a stroll into the wilds now occupied by LACMA or the Grove. Or, if those pieces missing from her skull are indeed evidence of blunt trauma, perhaps she sank after succumbing to some evil now blithely classified as “L.A. noir.” Soon after her reemergence, she roiled a leading Methodist minister, who asked what business she had strolling Mid Wilshire 3,000 years before Eve was plucked from Adam’s rib. In 2004, the George C. Page Museum removed her display case to make way for an emergency exit. Maybe one day she’ll make her own escape from storage and win a decent burial.

Photograph courtesy Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits/ Eve Chu

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