Thursday, April 05, 2007

Between 1200 B.C. and A.D. 50, a series of agricultural villages were established along the Santa Cruz River. At that time the river ran year-round, before groundwater pumping dropped the water table by about 100 ft. The early farmers grew maize (corn), beans, squash, cotton, and tobacco.

At the Mission site we are starting a dig in the area where the new walls will be built. The first thing we do is scrape the area with a backhoe. We can see where their small round houses are by the different colored sediments that filled each house pit.

We immediately mark their locations with spray paint, this allows us to keep track of them.

We excavate a sample of the houses, typically by digging a unit down to the floor, and then expanding the area if there are floor artifacts.

Thaddeus clearing dirt off the floor.

We find the holes for the posts that supported the domed framework of the house, and then clean them out. Sometimes we find floor pits. So far we have recovered spear points, grinding stones, shell jewelry, and bone tools inside some of the houses.

The east half of a house, the west portion was removed in an earlier trench.

There are two periods of houses. The most recent ones were filled with silt from a big flood. Many of the older ones are heavily burned- those should be very interesting to dig.

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