Archaeology and Prehistory of Northwest Mexico:
A "Rough Essay"

David Phillips

Chronology of Early Archaeological Research

This page lists early archaeological studies that I am aware of. No doubt there were others.

Early Descriptions (1565–1815)

1565. The expedition directed by Francisco Ibarra entered Chihuahua and found sites of the Casas Grandes culture, including Paquimé (Di Peso 1974).

1694. Juan Mateo Manje [1926, 1954] described the site of Cerro de Trincheras in Sonora, and recorded native tales of its use for defense.

The Natural History Period (1815–1920)

In the nineteenth century, the spread of the natural history paradigm altered the nature of reports from Mexico's northwest. Antiquities were no longer mere curiosities, but deserved systematic descrption. In Chihuahua, Paquimé attracted a great deal of educated interest and several Mexican observers recorded their impressions of the site. Others were foreigners whose presence was tied to the economic and political imperialism of the times.

1819.José Agustín de Escudero (1834) visited Paquimé and later described the site in his review of Chihuahua.

1825–1828. Lt. R.W.H. Hardy, an English officer, traveled through Mexico. At Paquimé he obtained a polychrome jar and noted that the Apache were digging in the site looking for shell ornaments and pottery [Hardy 1829:464–466].

1842–1845. General José Mariano Monterde, a Mexican officer and engineer, visited the site and may have prepared a mesured plan of the ruins (Almada 1950).

1852. John Bartlett, U.S. boundary commissioner, traveled to Corralitos, Chihuahua, from which he and an assistant made a side trip to Paquimé. They spent a day collecting surface artifacts, digging in the ruins, and sketching the site. Bartlett learned of Cerro de Moctezuma nearby but did not make the climb to that site. His subsequent personal report on the boundary survey (Bartlett 1854) contains the earliest known drawings of the site. The report reveals that by the early 1850s the antiquities market for Casas Grandes pottery was underway. "Such relics are eagerly sought for by the people of Chihuahua and other large towns, and when perfect command a high price" (Bartlett 1854 2:361). Some of the expedition's drawings are reproduced in Hall (1996).

1865–1866. Edmond Guilllemin-Tarayre (1867, 1869) recorded his observations of northwest Mexico, as part of his general studies of Mexican antiquities. The work was an extension of the the French occupation of Mexico (1862–1866) and its attendant studies by the Comission Scientifique du Mexique (Aveleyra A. de A. 1964:384–385).

1860s. Enrico Muller, director of the Chihuahua mint, had workers tunnel into Paquimé. They discovered a cached meteorite now at the Smithsonian Institution (Di Peso 1966:11, fn. 13, 1974:666, fn. 320-12).

1882–1884. Between his graduation in 1882 and his work in Scandinavia in 1884, Herman F. C. Ten Kate visited North America including, apparently, Sonora [Hëyink and Hodge 1931]. One of ten Kate's papers (1887) describes material remains from the Guaymas area.

February–June 1884. Adolph Bandelier carried our a reconnaissance in northwest Mexico. Starting at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, he traveled south along the Rio Sonora to Baviácora, then turned east to Moctezuma and Huásabas. From there he headed northeast, touching at Tesorabi and Bavispe, and used the historic wagon pass at Fúsiles Carretas to reach the Llano de Carretas in Chihuahua. At Janos he turned south to visit Paquimé. He then followed the Rio Casas Grandes northward and crossed back into the U.S. The trip is described in his journals (Lange and Riley 1978) and was one of the sources for his Final Report (Bandelier 1892). In 1887 Bandelier also prepared a bulky manuscript with full-color illustrations for Archbishop Salpointe of Santa Fe. The manuscript, now in the Vatican Library, contains more than 90 illustrations of pottery, stone tools, site plans, and rock art from Chihuahua and Sonora (Burrus 1969).

1889–1890. Frederick Schwatka (1893, 1899) traveled through northwest Mexico with the support of Chicago newspapers. While in the Casas Grandes area, Schwatka commented on the ruins. His primary focus was, however, the Tarahumara and their "primitive" use of caves.

1880s. The "Mexican archaeologist, Signor S. Marghieri" explored the eastern side of the Sierra Madre, finding a burial cave between Corralitos and Casas Grandes (at an elevation of ca. 1200 m). The cave had been sealed with adobe. The discoverer took them to San Francisco, California, where he sold them to a Mr. J. Z Davis. In turn, Davis donated the remains to the State Mining Bureau. The remains, of two adults and two children, were put on public display (Anderson 1888).

1890–1898. Carl Lumholtz completed the first of his research trips to northwest Mexico. He began with a multidisciplinary team including A. M. Stephen as the archaeologist and R. Abbot as Stephen's assistant. The team reached Bisbee, Arizona late in 1890 and from there traveled south and east to the Rio Bavispe in Sonora. Reaching Huásabas, the group cut across the Sierra Madre to Pacheco, then followed the Rio Piedras Verdes to the Casas Grandes Valley. During these travels, Lumholtz's group excavated in sites of the Cave Valley (upper Rio Piedras Verdes) area, near Colonia Juárez, and near Hacienda San Diego, creating collections now in the American Museum of Natural History (Carey 1931:329; Di Peso 1966:12, fn. 15). In April 1891 Lumholtz returned to the U.S. to raise more funds for his large group. After returning to the group he proceeded south, leading a dwindling party that apparently did not include the archaeologists. By the end of the trip he was working alone. He continued his efforts until August 1893. Between March 1894 and March 1897, Lumholtz returned to the Sierra Madre on solo trips for the American Museum of Natural History, and in 1898 he made a trip to the region with Ales Hrdlicka. The various travels are summarized in Unknown Mexico (Lumholtz 1902).

1894–1895. W J McGee (1895, 1898) and W. Johnson made two short trips to Sonora for the Smithsonian Institution, primarily to study the Seri. They also described Sonoran antiquities (see also Carmony and Brown 1983). In 1992, Randy McGuire informed me that the McGee party made a map of Cerro de Trincheras, but he had been unable to relocate the map.

1901. Jesse Walter Fewkes traveled to "western Texas and northern Chihuahua, Mexico, during the summer of 1901. While in Mexico he visited the ruins known as Casas Grandes and made what at that time was the most critical and extensive study of them ever attempted" (Swanton and Roberts 1931:611).

1904? A Hooton Blackiston (1905–1909), a mining engineer, visited sites in Chihuahua, including cave sites in the mountains. When he visited Cerro de Moctezuma, Blackiston (1906) noted its fortified appearance. Brand (1945:289) later speculated that Blackiston's trips were made in a single year, 1904, but they could have been made over several years. Blackiston's collections may be at the American Museum of Natural History.

1906. Edgar Lee Hewett spent this year exploring between Mesa Verde, Colorado and Mexico City (Hewett 1923, s.f.; see also Chauvenet [1983]). Much of Hewett's travel was on horseback, giving him a good appreciation of the geography and archaeology of the intervening country. Toward the start of the trip Hewett (s.f.) noted that in the Casas Grandes region "there is a large amount of excavation going on in the ruins constantly." Hewett took advantage of the looting to observe the local subsurface archaeology. He also examined the collection of Mrs. E. C. Houghton, an amateur archaeologist living in Ramos, and commented that she had amassed 200 vessels from the area. (Many years later, Carey (1931:367) mentioned Mrs. Houghton's excavations in the Ramos district.) Hewett lamented his inability to purchase collections from the area, as his stipend for the year was six hundred dollars. Hewett traveled on to Tarahumara country, where he "made such excavations in the caves as were necessary to determine mode of burial &c." (Hewett s.f.). Hewett's travels figured prominently in his dissertation (1908), which was notable for its (correct) recognition of spatial variability within Oasis America and its (incorrect) assertion that Oasis America extended no farther south than the Babícora Basin.

1909–1910. Carl Lumholtz returned to Northwest Mexico to carry out a reconnaissance of the Papaguería of Sonora (Lumholtz 1912). He recorded archaeological remains but made no special effort to locate them. As with the earlier trips, Lumholtz's collections went to the American Museum of Natural History (Ives 1941:20).

1909. Charles Peabody (1909:210), while on a brief reconnaissance of trans-Pecos Texas, took a "walk of some hours" to search for sites on the Chihuahua side of the Rio Bravo, east of Ojinaga.

1910. Ellsworth Huntington (1914:2, 65–70) visited sites between Tucson and the Sea of Cortez, from March through May. In Sonora he visited Cerro de Trincheras and other sites in the Altar-Concepción drainage. Huntington used the site data to bolster his theories of radical climate change.

1911. According to Brand (1933:57), a party of Mexican archaeologists visited Paquimé in this year.

1916. Soldiers of the U.S. Army's Punitive expedition apparently looted multiple locations in Chihuahua. Carey (1931:360) reported that soldiers "pillaged nearly all mounds in the Corralitos district in search of pottery." A more systematic removal of objects was done at one site with official Army approval, leading to collections now at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) (Cruz A. and Maxwell 2009; Phillips 1992).

Although the period from 1815 to 1920 was not very productive one for northwest Mexican archaeology, it did see the first systematic efforts to locate, collect, and describe antiquities. Out of Hewett's fieldwork, in particular, came the first formal demonstration of the importance of spatial variability in the material culture of the greater region. Hewett's insight, combined with archaeologists' later appreciation of the importance of temporal variability, would be the foundation of the next great period of research in the region. Hewett divided Oasis America into five regions, one of them the Chihuahua region. In turn, he broke down Chihuahua into "ethnological districts" (Hewett 1908:11), which were local clusters of population (i.e., site clusters) with distinct material assemblages. The Chihuahuan districts included Janos, Casas Grandes, Cave Valley, the upper reaches of the Yaqui drainage, Carretas, and Babícora. As traced out by Hewett, archaeological Chihuahua extended into northeast Sonora, southeast Arizona, and southwest New Mexico.

In addition, two of the early researchers were concerned with assessing their findings in light of Lewis Henry Morgan's cultural evolutionism. Bandelier considered himself a disciple of Morgan; in turn he influenced his fellow New Mexican, Hewett, to consider the remains of Oasis America in terms of greater historical picture. Neither scholar advanced Morgan's theories, however, and soon enough the approach would be dropped in favor of Franz Boas's new, non-evolutionary paradigm of culture.

Lumholtz's adventures are noteworthy for presaging a shift in the approach used by anthropologists in general. Lumholtz began as the head of a large, well-funded expedition in the best traditions of nationalist science. As he went on, and as funds dwindled, Lumholtz discarded that approach to work as a lone scholar among the local peoples. His 1902 account makes it clear that he came to enjoy his immersion in local cultures, and concentrated on the study of living groups rather than on his initial primary goal of archaeological research. In some ways he became more like anthropologists of the twentieth century than those of the nineteenth.

One important result of the early, natural history-driven work was the creation of archaeological collections (especially of Casas Grandes pottery) that formed the basis of many subsequent studies (Kidder 1916:253–268; Chapman 1923; Harcum 1923; Hough 1923; Carey 1931; Sayles 1936; Gladwin 1957:329–337, cited by Di Peso 1966:12, fn. 3). They also stimulated the black market in northwest Mexican antiquities, including through the purchase of collections by museums.

Cultural Historical Reconstruction (1920–1973)

The Mexican Revolution (1911–1920) understandably halted archaeological studies in northwest Mexico. Less obviously, the work before and after the revolution marks a watershed between work dominated by the natural-history paradigm and work geared toward constructing time-space frameworks.

1921. After being put in charge of the antiquities of northern Chihuahua, Eduardo Noguera visited Paquimé and Coyame (lower Rio Conchos) (Noguera 1921a, 1921b, cited in Berlin [1978]). During the visit he also traveled to El Paso to confront Edward Ledwidge, a collector of Casas Grandes pottery and apparently the leading importer and dealer for such pottery. At first Ledwidge took Noguera's warnings seriously enough to sell his collection, which Hewett engineered as a three-way split by the Museum of New Mexico/School of American Research, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Washington Archaeological Society (Anonymous 1921; Harcum 1923; Hewett s.f.). The last group then donated its share to the National Museum of Natural History. The two eastern museums retain their portions of the collection; the New Mexico share is now at the Laboratory of Anthropology. This last collection was supplemented in 1938 by the purchase of additional Casas Grandes pots from E. C. Howard, who like Ledwidge was an El Paso collector. Ledwidge soon reverted to his old habits, and when he died passed on a collection of hundreds of Casas Grandes pots (most now at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology).

1922. Using funds raised as part of the purchase of Ledwidge's pottery, Edgar Lee Hewett retraced part of his earlier, epic voyage down the western spine of Mexico. With Hewett came Kenneth Chapman and one or more other men. The group visited Paquimé and possibly sites in the Tarahumara country (Anonymous 1922). During the trip Chapman took photographs of Paquimé (now at the New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe). Hewett obtained a permit to conduct archaeological investigations, primarily to unearth wall orientations at Casas Grandes sites, but may not have done any digging. Hewett may have made other trips to Chihuahua between 1906 and 1922 (Hewett 1923:50).

1922–1924. In 1922, A. V. Kidder visited Paquimé (Kidder 1924:115), possibly to prepare for more serious work in the area. In September 1924, Kidder returned to Chihuahua, and with G. C. Vaillant and S. J. Guernsey carried out a week-long reconnaissance of the Babícora area. During the week they excavated a disturbed adobe-walled pueblo at Arroyo las Varas and examined cliff dwellings along Arroyo Garabato (Kidder 1939). After his initial contacts with Hewett, the young Kidder had resolved to devote his career to Chihuahua archaeology (Kidder 1939:221) but the 1924 trip was his only actual fieldwork in northwest Mexico. His limited exposure to the region sufficed to allow him to deduce that the Casas Grandes florescence postdated the Mimbres florescence (Kidder 1924:117).

1927. Monroe Amsden carried out a horseback reconnaissance in northeastern Sonora. He traveled from Agua Prieta down the Rio Batepita to Colonia Morelos, along the Rio Bavispe to Nácori, down the Rio Yaqui, then north and west to Baviácora. From there he traveled up the Rio Sonora Valley to Arispe, then east to Nacozari, north to Fronteras, and back to Agua Prieta. During all this horseback travel Amsden was able to locate 49 archaeological sites, which he used to define two cultures, "Rio de Sonora" and "Peripheral Casas Grandes" (Amsden 1928). Pailes (1978) later combined these two groups of sites.

1928. According to local legend, Herbert Eugene Bolton, assisted by Frank Lockwood, probed about the foundations of the modern church of San Ignacio de Cabórica (Magdalena, Sonora) in the hope of finding Padre Kino's grave. In the same year, Serapio Dávila also looked for Kino, opening a number of trenches in front of the present church. These were not the only early efforts to find Kino (Polzer 1968:35).

1928–1929. After analyzing museum collections from northwestern Chihuahua (1927–1928), Henry Carey carried out reconnaissances, surface collections, and excavations near Corralitos and Babícora in 1928 and 1929 (Carey 1931, 1954, 1955; see also Brand 1933:58). Carey continued his studies of the region until his death in 1965 (Di Peso et al. 1974 4:3).

1928–1930s. In 1928, Carl Sauer began a series of archaeological trips into Sonora, Chihuahua, and adjacent portions of Mexico (Sauer and Brand 1931, 1932; see also Brand 1933:58). Sauer's first major effort was to lead a University of California expedition to the region from 1929 until 1931. During this project, Sauer was assisted by Donald Brand; occasional participants include A. L. Kroeber (see Anonymous 1930; Sauer and Brand 1932:2) and Gottfried Pfiefer. One of Sauer's goals was defining the extent of prehistoric cultures based on the distribution of diagnostic pottery types—a theme picked up by Brand, who spent 1930 and 1931 doing his doctoral research in Chihuahua (Brand 1933:58). Both Sauer and Brand led additional field research in northwest Mexico, and their reconnaissance efforts led to the decision to send out Isabel Kelley, assisted by Frederick S. Hulse, to dig in Sinaloa (Brand 1944, fn. 1).

1920s. G. W. Avery located an archaeological sites in southern Sonora. The only known documentation of Avery's work is a passing reference by Rivet (1926). This work has been confused in the literature with Monroe Amsden's 1927 reconnaissance (probably through mutual confusion with Charles Avery Amsden).

1920s. Carmen Alessio Robles (1929) visited Paquimé and nearby sites, making collections.

1920s. Winifred and Harold Gladwin (1929) conducted a survey that focused on the Arizona Papagueria but included adjacent portions of northwest Sonora.

1930–1932. Ralph Beals 91942) examined coastal sites between the Rio Mayo and the Rio Fuerte, as a sideline to his ethnographic research.

1931. In the spring of 1931, as part of a University of Chicago expedition to Tarahumara country, Robert Zingg (1940, s.f.) surveyed and dug in the headwaters of the Rio Urique (Norogachic area) and Rio Batopilas. Zingg dug in three overhangs, finding mummified remains, perishable goods, and other artifacts, and recorded 49 additional cave and shelter sites.

1932. R. F. Torrance of the Cananea Consolidated Copper Co. submitted site descriptions and collections from the Cananea area to the Laboratory of Anthropology, Santa Fe.

1933. W. S. Stallings, of the Laboratory of Anthropology, visited the Altar-Concepción drainage and recorded 18 sites.

1933. E. B. Sayles (1936) began the first of "several seasons" devoted to a reconnaissance of Chihuahua (Mason 1936:149), part of Gila Pueblo's efforts to define the limits of the Hohokam and other Southwestern cultures. Sayles used sherds from the sites and purchased whole pots in the Gila Pueblo collection to define named pottery types. Sayles's notes and collections from Chihuahua, as well as Gila Pueblo's pottery collection, are now at the Arizona State Museum.

1935–1942. During these years, and possibly at other times, Dr. José Guadalupe Martín del Campo, a Mexican amateur archaeologist, excavated and studied Casas Grandes remains.

1936. J. Charles Kelley began the fieldwork that would take him progressively deeper into Mexico. From 1936 to 1938, Kelley did reconnaissance work along both sides of the Rio Bravo (Rio Grande), with a focus on its confluence with the Rio Conchos. By the 1940s he had also excavated sites in the Texas portion of the same area. The resulting cultural sequence (Kelley 1939, 1951, 1985) documented a population center in late prehistoric and early historical times—the La Junta Province (Riley 1987).

1936. In June and July, Donald Brand led a sizeable group into northwest Chihuahua. The group included Wesley Bliss and Virgil Peterson as assistants, along with 20 students. The group recorded cave sites along the Rio Garabato, the Rio Chico, and the Arroyo en Medio. It also carried out stratigraphic excavations at Agua Zarca and La Morita, sites with adobe-walled structures (Lister 1937, 1939, 1946). Brand also did survey work in the Zape area of Durango, in an attempt to tie in the Casas Grandes culture with Mesoamerica. The various efforts resulted in the recording of hundreds of sites (Brand 1937, 1939).

1936–1937. In 1936 a college student, Cresson Kearny, donated archaeological textiles from the Tarahumara country to the Laboratory of Anthropology and offered to collect additional items the following summer. Despite the obvious illegality of the collecting work, Kenneth Chapman funded Kearny. During six weeks in 1937, Kearny wandered the highlands between the Rio Urique and Rio Oteros (upper Rio Chinipas), digging in a number of burial caves. Many of the caves had already been disturbed by looters. Chapman must have had second thoughts about the project, because the project records were hidden and the objects were listed as an anonymous donation. Mera (1943) and Kent (1983) subsequently studied textiles obtained by Kearny, believing them to be of unknown provenience. The project records resurfaced in 1986 (Phillips s.f.).

1937. A paleontological and geological expedition located a fossil human cranium, the Chinobampo Skill (Aveleyra 1964). The cranium was turned over to the American Museum of Natural History.

1937–1939. In these years, Gordon Ekholm (1937–1953), assisted by his wife, carried out survey work that included Sonora and northern Sinaloa. Ekholm located 125 sites, made sherd collections, and carried out test excavations in six of the sites. According to Mason (1939:172), the purpose of the project was "to explore the archaeologically unknown area extending from the Culiacan River in Sinaloa north to the international border, with the hope of clarifying the important problems concerning the interrelationship of the Mexican and Southwestern cultures."

1930s. Ronald Ives (1936) recorded a cerro de trincheras at Quitovaquita, Sonora.

1930s. Arthur Woodward (1926) conducted a survey of the Kino missions for the U.S. National Park Service, during which he was guided to La Playa and identified the remains of shell workshops.

1930s. Howard Gentry (1963:124) visited a burial cave in the Sierra Canelo, in Tarahumara country. There he noted a number of burials wrapped in matting.

1940. Donald Lehmer (1948) apparently worked briefly in the Villa Ahumada area, as part of his field studies of the Jornada Mogollon.

1940–1941. Deric Nusbaum made tree-ring collecting trips to northwest Mexico in these two years, for Gila Pueblo. The work was never published, and the samples later went to the Laboratory of Tree-ring Research (Scott 1963, 1966).

1941. Edward Danson (1941) carried out a reconnaissance of the upper Santa Cruz River, from its source to Tubac, Arizona. A small part of the study area was in Sonora. Danson ignored non-ceramic sites and cerros de trincheras, but did record Historic period sites.

1941. In March, Charles Renfroe and Joe Ben Wheat collected sherds of a double-walled Ramos Polychrome jar from a road cut through a house mound near Ramos, Chihuahua (Wheat 1949).

1941. Julian Hayden apparently began his decades-long research in Sonora in May 1941, at Morro Colorado, San Agustín, and Tastiota. There he made surface collections (now at the Arizona State Museum) and took notes and photographs. His report on the trip (1956) also includes observations on the archaeology of Bahia Kino and Isla Tiburón. The last is also mentioned in an Arizona Highways article (Hayeden 1942). In later years, Hayden spent many of his spare moments in the Sierra Pinacate of northwest Sonora, leading to a spate of publications (Hayden 1967–1985; Rosenthal 1973, 1979, n.d.). Hayden was unusual among early northwest Mexican scholars for his concern with preceramic cultures.

It is useful to pause at the end of 1941, just before the U.S. and Mexico entered World War II, to consider the results of the previous two decades of research. The greatest advance was a new ability to detect and appreciate variability through time, which led to the first tentative culture histories of Sonora and Chihuahua. At the same time, archaeologists mostly discarded the earlier interest in connections between Mesoamerica and Oasis America. This was not just regional chauvinism, nor a claim that no contact took place. Nonetheless, scholars became convinced that interactions between Mesoamerica and "the Southwest" (a term that either ignored or swept up northwest Mexico) were minimal. Perhaps the greatest impetus for this theoretical stance was the perception that sedentary cultures were largely or entirely absent in a broad zone between the two culture areas (Lister 1960:120).

Mason (1938:210) expressed this emerging viewpoint when he wrote, in a synopsis of Mesoamerican archaeology:

The consensus of all investigators is that a definite gap exists in far northern Mexico between the northernmost archaeological cultures that are basically Mexican and the southernmost that are of Southwestern cultural affinity; neither shows much if any influence from the other and there seems to be no transitional or intermediate zone. On the west coast the limit of Mexican influence seems to be near the Sinaloa River in Sinaloa; that of Southwest influence, near the Sonora River in Sonora. This gap seems to extend eastward across the mountains and eastern foothills to the non-agricultural eastern region.

In the same article, Mason (1938:211) dismissed the Casas Grandes culture as "related to that of Mimbres in southern New Mexico [with] no obvious Mexican influence." A year later, Mason reiterated the supposed consensus:

Throughout most of Sonora south of the area of the Trincheras culture, archaeological sites are relatively rare, the deposits are thin, and there is an almost entire lack of painted pottery. The expected condition seems to prevail—that there was little intercourse through this area in later periods when both the Southwestern and the Sinaloa cultures reached a fuller development [Mason 1939:172; emphasis added].

Looking back, it seems curious that people went so badly off the track. In 1966, J. Charles Kelley reflected that during this period, Southwest U.S. archaeologists had been able to demonstrate a sequence of local development with no obvious ties to Mesoamerica. But—he also noted—the basic work was done in the Four Corners region, far removed from the Mesoamerican frontier. In addition, the emphasis on ceramic typology (one of the hallmarks of mie-century regional research) seems to have warped peoples' vision. Mason's so-called "gap" is an area of plainware pottery between the painted pottery tradition of Mesoamerica and the one centered in the U.S. Southwest. If plainware sites were not being ignored outright, they were clearly being interpreted as reflecting a lesser stage of cultural development.

At least one discovery was difficult to reconcile with the new point of view. In 1935, a Mesoamerican style ballcourt, albeit a crude one by Mexican standards, was identified at Snaketown in Arizona. The discovery, along with others at the site, indicated a close rather than distant relationship with Mexican cultures to the south.

Wilcox et al. [1981:27–33] argued that with the identification of the Snaketown ballcourt, there was a rapid reawakening of interest in Mesoamerican-"Southwestern" relationships. The truth seems to have been more subtle and ironic: as the 1930s ended, regional scholars perfected their isolationist model of Southwestern prehistory despite the Snaketown findings. If anything, the Hohokam seemed to be an anomaly within the regional pattern. This perspective was to bear its ultimate fruit in Haury's [1976] portrayal of the Hohokam as immigrants from a distant point in Mexico, rather than as local participants in a network that ultimately tied in with that culture area.

1944. Joe Ben Wheat (1949:8–10) carried our a reconnaissance around Ramos, Chihuahua.

1944–1945. E. W. Gifford and his wife recorded midden sites on the Sonora coast, including two locations at the mouth of the Rio Sonoita and one at Punta la Cholla.

1946. Carl Sauer (1946) and Emil Haury carried out a week-long reconnaissance in Sonoroa and Sinaloa. According to Haury (1987 personal communication), the trip took place primarily in March and April, and was primarily to inspect possible fossil human remains near Chinobampo, Sinaloa. En route, the two carried out a windshield reconnaissance, recording and collecting from a dozen sites in Sonora. The records and collections are at the Arizona State Museum.

1947. Paul Ezell (1954, 1955) began collecting from sites in the Papagueria of Sonora and Arizona. He supplemented this study with work at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in 1951 and 1952, and by studies of E. W. Gifford's collections from the area.

1948–1951. In 1948, J. Charles Kelley resumed his work along the Rio Bravo. In 1949 he conducted a Jeep reconnaissance along the Rio Conchos, during which he cleared a pit house floor at a badly deflated site (Kelley 1951). In 1951, he conducted a burro-back reconnaissance of the rugged middle section of the Rio Conchos, between Julimes and Falomir (Kelley 1956:134, fn. 5, 1987 personal communication to D. Phillips). Kelley's postwar work, in these and later years, led him to revive scholarly interest in Mesoamerican-Oasis American relationships, within a generation of the issue being left for dead by Mason and his colleagues.

1949. Donald Lehmer (1949) and Bryant Bannister completed a four month reconnaissance in Sonora. Lehmer was attempting to define the southern limits of the Cochise culture, and was also searching for evidence on the issue of Mesoamerican contacts with Oasis America.

1940s. Lila O'Neale (1948) examined 21 textile specimens from a cave in the Sierra Madre Occidental, southwest Chihuahua. The textiles had been acquired by the University of California in 1940. O'Neale found that the textiles were spun without whorls, from Apocynmum fiber.

1951–1953. Having been a student on Brand's 1936 field trip to northwest Chihuahua, Robert Lister returned to the area in 1951 and 1952, working in Cave Valley (Lister 1953). Lister's goal was to obtain stratigraphic data from rock shelter sites. Hoped-for evidence of preceramic cultures was limited, but pre-Medio and Medio period deposits were identified in six caves. In 1953 Lister (1958:41–57) directed test excavations in caves in the Arroyo el Concho, a tributary of the Rio Bavispe (the north-flowing portion) in Sonora.

1952–1958. J. Charles Kelley shifted his focus south to Durango, including 1952, 1954, 1956, and 1958 field schools that combined excavation and reconnaissance. The 1952 season included reconnaissance work in central and northern Durango and excavations at the Weicker Sites, 50 km west of Durango City (Kelley 1953; Kelley and Shackleford 1954; Foster 1986). As part of that work, William J. Shackleford traded the distribution of Loma San Gabriel sites in southern Chihuahua (Kelley 1956:133).

1953–1959. George Fay (1953–1968) carried out fieldwork in Sonora, especially near Hermosillo and along the coast near Guaymas and Bahia Kino. His fieldwork may have continued after 1959. Fay used his data to define the Peralta complex, a Sonoran variant of the Cochise culture. In 1968, Fay took the unusual and laudable step of publishing detailed field forms for his Guaymas sites.

1954. Agnes Howard (1954) published a brief description of cruciform objects, illustrating two such items from Sonora. Cruciforms subsequently became a staple of the literature. Interpretations include use as gaming pieces (Hemmings 1967) and as atlatl weights (A. Johnson 1971). In the latter instance, cruciforms were linked to "U-shaped objects," which may be finger-holds for atlatls (see Ekholm 1962; Johnson 1971). Other references to cruciforms in northwest Mexico include Lumholtz (1912, plates, from Quijotoa), Fay (1956, Sonora), Compton (1957, Sonora and elsewhere), Phelps (1966, northern Chihuahua and the El Paso area, especially preceramic sites near Villa Ahumada), Sith (1967, Isla Tiburón), Spence (1971, Chalchihuites culture), Mountjoy (1971, Nayarit); Di Peso et al. (1974 7:289), and Bowen (1974:84–85).

1958. Robert Ascher, Thomas Clune, and Dorris Clune excavated Waterfall Cave in southwest Chihuahua. Like many caves in the region, Waterfall Cave contained multiple burials. The excavation report (Ascher and Clune 1960) was accompanied by descriptions of the plant remains (Cutler 1960) and textiles (Clune 1960).

1958. Eduardo Noguera (1958) carried out a brief reconnaissance in Sonora, to gather information for a proposed exhibit at the Universidad de Sonora museum. With Wigbert Jiménez Moreno, Noguera located two coastal sites near Bahia Kino and visited four sites, including Cerro de Trincheras, in the northern part of the state. Noguera also visited a site in southern Sonora with Manuel Esparza. Noguera made collections from the sites and tentatively defined variations in the state's pottery.

1958. Alfred Johnson (1960, 1963) carried out limited excavations at La Playa, Sonora.

1958–1961. Fieldwork of the Joint Casas Grandes Expedition. Excavation began in September 1958 and continued until 1961; in September 1959 the focus of excavation shifted from Paquimé to the Convento Site and the Reyes sites. Lab processing and analysis also began in 1958 and continued for roughly a decade, culminating in the 1974 project report (Di Peso 1974, Di Peso et al. 1974). As part of the effort, M. Harvey Taylor conducted a reconnaissance of the Casas Grandes valley in 1959, making surface collections of pottery. In 1959–1961, project members did additional reconnaissance work between the Médanos de Samalayuca on the east to the Bavispe Valley on the west, and from the Rio Papagochic on the south to the international border on the north (see Di Peso et al. 1974 4, Figure 284-50). In the summer of 1960, Charles Di Peso, Arnold Withers, and their families excavated at CHIH G:2:1 and G:2:3 and surveyed water control features in the Tres Rios area (Di Peso 1974:38, 40–41, 100; Di Peso et al. 1974:6).

1959. William W. Wasley (see Bannister [1972]) and James Officer visited three caves near Yécora, after a mummified body was found near that town (Wasley and Officer 1959). The mummy was reportedly found in the cave known as Las Tunas, and Wasley and Officer mentioned that in the wake of the discovery, Arturo Romero of INAH excavated in the cave. Wasley and Officer also visited La Cueva Pintada (at which pictographs were found) and a third, unnamed cave. The mummy itself was put on display at the museum of the Universidad de Sonora. A piece of the fabric found with the mummy proved to be of yucca fiber (Little 1960).

1950s. Ronald Ives (1956) studied shell middens and coastlines in Sonora. Ives argued that midden locations indicated tectonic uplift of the coastline.

1950s–1960. In the 1950s, inspired by J. Charles Kelley, Richard Brooks conducted a wide-ranging reconnaissance the extended through much of central and southern Chihuahua and northern Durango (Brooks 1971). In 1957 and again in 1960, Sheilagh and Richard Brooks excavated in Cueva de los Muertos Chiquitos on the Rio Zape, near El Zape in Durango. They found prepared floors and burials, artifacts, and extensive plant remains (Brooks 1962; Brooks and Brooks 1978). At the time of the 1957 dig, the nearby Cueva de Dos Puertos had been vandalized; the Brooks recovered a skull from the cave and re-buried other remains. An INAH archaeologist, Agustín Delgado, later excvaated a burial from La Cueva de los Muertos Chiquitos (Brooks and Brooks 1980:3).

1960. J. Charles Kelley continued his southward research shift, from the southern cultures of Oasis America to the frontier cultures of Mesoamerica. In 1960 he carried out econnaissance in Durango, Zacatecas, and northern Jalisco, leading to his intensive studies of the Chalchihuites culture.

1964. John Green (1966) recorded rock art panels in the Sierra de Kilo of northeast Chihuahua, near a rock shelter previously excavated by Thomas Taylor, an El Paso amateur archaeologist.

1965. Ric Windmiller (1974) carried out a brief reconnaissance of Bahia San Carlos.

1966. Two U.S. citizens visiting southwest Chihuahua located a burial cave near Santa Ana. They found several mummies and collected two of them. The mummies were abandoned in a garage in San Diego, where they were found in 1980. The mummies were turned over to the San Diego Museum of Man, which with Mexican approval analyzed and exhibited the remains (Tyson and Elerick 1985).

1960s. Inspired by the 1964–1965 Snaketown project, which seemed to indicate a Mesoamerican origin for the Hohokam, William W. Wasley began a research project which, sadly, he did not live to complete [Bannister 1972]. Wasley directed his attention to the region between Mesoamerica and southern Arizona, and by the fall of 1965 had begun designing a program of limited survey and excavation in Sonora. Ultimately the scope of the project expanded to include all of Sonora and parts of northern Sinaloa (Bowen 1976:10–11; Wasley 1966). Work actually done included a reconnaissance concentrated in the western part of the Trincheras culture area, excavation of possible Trincheras Culture canals, and additional reconnaissance work along the San Miguel, Sonora, Moctezuma, and Yaqui Rivers. Wasley was assisted by Thomas Bown and Manuel Robles, and worked with Richard Pailes in the Rio Cedros and Huatabampo areas. Using notes provided by Ekholm, Pailes was able to relocate the site of Huatabampo (Bowen 1976:267; Dirst 1979:58; Montané 1985:187; Pailes 1976 letter to Phillips). Also as part of the effort, Thomas Bowen (1976) did a reconnaissance of the central coast of Sonora, between Rio San Ignacio and Punta San Antonio, and inland about 30 km (to include the Sierra Seri). In all, Bowen found 59 sites. Bowen also carried out a reconnaissance of the Guaymas area, locating 27 additional sites (Bowen 1965).

1967–1978. In 1967-1968, Richard Pailes (1976) carried out a reconnaissance of the foothills of Sonora, in the thorn forest and short tree communities between the Mayo and Fuerte Rivers. Pailes found 119 Rio Sonora, pre-Huatabampo, and Huatabampo sites. Pailes also excavated in Cueva de la Colmena, about 40 km southeast of Navojoa. This work began a series of efforts that greatly expanded knowledge of the Rio Sonora culture. Pailes's work was motivated, in part, by the idea that the Sonoran foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental, and especially the Rio de Sonora drainage, served as a corridor between Mesoamerica and the U.S. Southwest. From 1975 to 1978 Pailes carried out a program of survey and excavation along the Rio Sonora, also making a number of brief trips to Sonora before and after those years. Specific projects included intensive survey between Baviácora and Aconchí in 1975, excavations at San José Baviácora in 1976, and collection of a pollen series for James Schoenwetter (Stark 1977:280). Pailes was able to locate more than 200 sites in his primary study area, including habitation sites, artifact scatters, and hilltop fire-signal stations. Pailes also carried out partial excavations at 34 sites (Pailes 1984:311) and minor survey and testing efforts in the Moctezuma, Fronteras, and Sahuaripa River valleys (Pailes 1978–1984; see also Dirst 1979, Doolittle 1979–1984). Field notes for the project are at the Department of Anthropology of the University of Oklahoma.

1972. Manuel Robles Ortiz and James Ayres examined a Clovis site, apparently a quarry and workshop, in Sonora (Lindsay 1973).

1972. In this year, and again in 1975, staff of the Arizona State Museum made surface collections at San Juan Bautista, a Sonora mining town from about 1650 to 1750 (M. Barnes, 1986 personal communication). Barnes (1980) published a description of the Mexican lead-glazed wares from the site.

1973. In June, INAH founded its first regional office in northwest Mexico, in Hermosillo (Villalpando C. and Quijada L. 1994). This development marks the start of the modern period of archaeological research in the region.

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