SANTA CRUZ DE GAYBANIPITEA
(The book on this site and the events surrounding it will be published in 2014.
Title: A Fateful Day in 1698: The Remarkable Sobaípuri O’odham Victory over the Apaches and Their Allies.
University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
THE MATERIAL ON THIS PAGE IS COPYRIGHTED AND SHOULD BE APPROPRIATELY CITED (C) 2007-2014, Deni Seymour
The short life of the village of Santa Cruz de Gaybanipitea is captured in the historic documents of the Kino period. Established sometime in the 1690s
(probably by the residents of nearby Santa Cruz del Pitaitutgam), it was abandoned following a battle between its occupants and a consortium of mobile
groups who attacked on a March day. This village is especially critical to period research because it provides a relatively straight-forward archaeological
record. The layout of the village was planned and accommodated household space for all existing social groups. Because it was abandoned so quickly
afterward the layout was not clutered by new construction and did not need to work around abandoned buildings. Thus, it provides a snap-shot of an unaltered
village plan for the Sobaipuri of the seventeenth century. This is a reflection of layouts seen earlier in time, but the difference is that most of this site plan is
visible from the surface as erosive conditions are just right to have exposed evidence of numerous house outlines across the site. The pattern fills in nicely; in
fact this was the first site at which I noticed the paired structures positioned in two parallel rows, but this became apparently only after the map was drafted.
Ths short use life and the rather quick (though not immediate) abandonment has meant that this is the closest we will ever get to a Sobaipuri Pompeii. When
I first walked onto this site in the mid 1980s, whole metates were lined up along the ridge, arrow points were scattered across the site, as were tools and
pieces of lost jewlery. Through the years vandals have collected the site, removing many of these items so that surface densities are relatively low. Still, as
recent surface work and excavations there have shown, the site retains a rich record of the 1698 battle and of the Sobaipuri way of life.
As the battle developed, community members retreated into the adobe-walled structure or fort that was built with
embrasures so that they could defend themselves. Until now, assumptions were that this structure was like the one
excavated by Di Peso at Santa Cruz del Pitaitutgam. In fact, the one at Gaybanipitea has three rooms and is constructed
in a highly unique manner. Each room is functionally differentiated as shown in the following images. The room burned so
it is well preserved, though roots and rodents have taken their toll.
The easternmost room was devoid of features but contained ground stone and pot breaks.
This suggests that the room was the one set aside for the missionary to say mass and in
which to sleep but was otherwise put to use in his absence.
The middle room had a hearth and several pieces of ground stone including huge
trough metate fragments. This was probably the kitchen.
The westernmost room had two pits in it suggesting it was used for storage.
An abundance of seeds and other plant and animal remains were found In
Among the plant remains are tepary beans, corn cobs, and wheat--the earliest
documented in the historic period in this region. The documentary record does not
note that the residents of this settlement were given wheat but the thousands of
burned seeds leaves no doubt.
Many projectile points have been found in the adobe-walled structure and in the surrounding
area. This is about half of those encountered so far. Some are from earlier occupations--both
Archaic and Hohokam components are present at the site and these earlier deposits were
scouped up when the adobe was made for the walls. Erosion has caused them to end up in
the room and in surrounding areas.
Points representative of the various attacking groups are also present. Kino said the Manso,
Suma, Jano, Jocome, and Apache were present. If points can be considered indicative of
people in this instance then we have evidence of Apache, Suma, and various groups living at
the El Paso area missions: Manso and Jano. The documents are very clear that the Jocome
were present so Jocome points are in this sample. It is now just a matter of distinguishing
those that are representative of them.