Jesse A. M. Ballenger, Jonathan Mabry et al – “Cochise Culture Re-revisited: 2014-2105 Excavations at Desperation Ranch”


AAHS volunteers from Coronado National Forest, Statistical Research, Archaeology Southwest, Westland Resources, and the City of Tucson Historic Preservation Office at Desperation Ranch.

Recently completed excavations adjacent to the expected location of the Cave Creek Midden site, last excavated by Gila Pueblo Foundation in 1936, led to the discovery of a thick layer of cobblestones, bones, and flaked and ground stone tools buried in and below a dark, organic cienega soil last described by Ernst Antevs.  This talk reviews why Cave Creek MIdden is important and what we expected to find there, how we went about finding it, what we found, and what it may or may not mean.  Topics will include the importance of the Chiricahua Stage and early maize cultivation in the Southwest, the significance of the property in Arizona and archaeological history, the subsistence of desert hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists, the prehistory of big-game hunting in the Southwest, the basic principles of bison hunting, the stratigraphy and radiocarbon dates at the site, our mission to genetically isolate the animals as a Chihuahuan Desert subspecies, community archaeology, fire safety, serendipity, and the long-term preservation of the site.

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