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PELONCILLO MOUNTAIN CHIRICAHUA APACHE SITE
2013 Platform Cave-Cache Encampments:
Implications for Mobility Strategies and the Earliest Athabascans.
Deni J. Seymour, 2013, Journal of Field Archaeology 38(2):161-172.
The Ancestral Apache were present in the southern portion of the Southwest by the 14th century (e.g., A.D. 1300s).
Several sites have produced early dates but the best examples are from features called platform caches which are found
in rock shelters. These features are uniquely Apachean as discussed in this paper using ethnographic, historic, and
archaeological data. Chronometric dates obtained directly from these features on a number of sites as well as from
directly associated Apachean pottery provide a sequence of use from the 1300s through the 1800s. Sampling material
was of exceptional quality including radiocarbon dating of annuals, such as leaves and grass from the platforms
themselves, and luminescence dates on Apachean pottery.
An ancestral Apache site in the Peloncillo Mountains of southern Arizona (Hormiguero site) provides insights into a
special type of residential site--those found in the vicinity of caching locations. This type of site is discussed by
introducing both ethnographic and archaeological data relating to a special type of caching feature: the platform cave
cache. Most importantly, however, this site has produced evidence of numerous datable features and artifacts. This site
and others like it provide a sequence of ancestral Apache occupation from the A.D. 1300s to the late 1700s in the
southermost Southwest. This means the ancestral Apache got to this region much earlier than previously thought. This
article presents the evidence culled from a vast assortment of data, providing the best examples that point to this early