Dating samples will be run on all of these sites once funding is secured. These chronometric dates will place each of the sites in time, allowing us to
distinguish those occupied during Kino' time from those earlier and later. Sobaipuri villages shifted along the river margins through time so it is
expected that the same people and their families occupied more than one place along the river and that their descendants continued to live along
their riparian homeland taking advantages of infrastructural improvements in the valley's bottomlands. Some sites look much more ancient than
others and will likely produce dates at the early end of Sobaipuri-O'odham occupation, perhaps in the AD 1200s or 1300s.
As we now know is common on Sobaipuri-O'odham sites, many of these along Sonoita Creek show evidence of reuse. Repeated Sobaipuri-O'odham
reuse is evident in the reorientation of structures and superimposed structures. Reuse by other groups is apparent as well. Once the Sobaipuri
moved, other groups such as the Jocome moved in. We see this in the Canutillo complex assemblage found on one site (Figure 9).
Off and on for the past couple of decades I have searched
for archaeological evidence of Jesuit period (1690s)
Sobaipuri-O'odham villages along Sonoita Creek. Among
these villages were the visiting stations (said to be a
mission by some) at modern day Sonoita and Patagonia,
Arizona. One village was called Los Reyes del Sonoydag,
meaning "Spring Field" or "Field at Point Where Rocks
Emerge" in O'odham. Reyes or Sonoydag was south of
Sonoita Creek in Father Eusebio Kino's time (1690s)
(Reyes in Figures 1 and 2). Kino also shows a village
named San Geronimo further upstream.
Sobaipuri-O'odham Sonoita Creek Spanish Colonial Period Villages Identified
While Kino's map shows only two villages along this drainage, the historical
and archaeological records reveal that the settlement history was much more
complex. In addition to the Sobaipuri-O'odham residents of this valley, about
600 people temporarily moved here after a 1698 battle on the San Pedro under
the leadership of Quiburi's headman named Coro. Given the size of the
migrant group and their origin in two distinct San Pedro villages these
newcomers probably occupied a village of their own, or perhaps two.
Moreover, a map drafted in 1780 shows that the village of Sonoita had moved
to a location north of Sonoita Creek sometime in the 1700s (Figure 3).
Until 2014 we have had no luck in finding these historically referenced places owing to so much of the valley being privately
owned. But now, after 25 years of intermittent searching in the valley and begging for access permission our efforts have
finally paid off. Access to vast tracts private land has made all the difference as has repeated assessment of alternate
interpretations of maps and texts found in the Spanish, Mexican, and American documentary and legal records. In early
November our team identified the Sonoita village north of Sonoita Creek, which is the only village north of the creek
(determined after widespread thematic survey) and on this basis and other characteristics if inferred to correspond to the
mid-1700s Sonoita. We also verified a Sobaipuri-O'odham presence in a very disturbed location south of Sonoita Creek that
almost certainly is the Kino-period (1690s) Sonoydag.
Current efforts are focused on recording these sites and documenting evidence that connects the archaeological site to the
historic documentary record. This includes preparing a site map, gathering funds to luminescence date samples of pottery to
place these sites in the correct time period (donations being accepted for this effort), as well as finding, transcribing, and
translating relevant documents that mention the village and the attack. Documentary sources that include a census also tell
us the actual names of the villagers, allowing us to know more about the people who lived there!
Current efforts are also focused on documenting archaeological evidence of the battle that resulted in village abandonment
in the 1770s. Already Apache and Sobaipuri arrowheads have been found (Figures 5 and 6). As expected, these are
concentrated in one portion of the site. From past efforts at Santa Cruz de Gaybanipitea this evidence reflects some of the
telltale signs of battle: high densities of spatially concentrated projectile points and projectile points of different groups in a
village setting. Numerous quartz crystals are also present (see A Fateful Day in 1698 for details of this battle signature).
Kino's 1695-1696 Teatro map (Reyes = Los Reyes del Sonoydag).
Figure 3: Geronimo de la Rocha y Figueroa map
showing Sonoita north of Sonoita Creek.
Work continues to document more evidence of the earlier Kino-period village situated south of the creek. The area has been correlated to land grant survey
plats and other maps and analyzed in the context of Sobaipuri-O'odham landscape-use patterns. There really is nowhere else the village can be because we
surveyed all other possible locations with no evidence at all. Much of the original village has been destroyed by later construction but an area of Whetstone
plain has finally been identified (Figure 7).
One interesting result from this work is that the layout of household pairs
within sites differs somewhat from that found on other Sobaipuri sites.
On all 80 or so Sobaipuri-O'odham residential sites I have recorded and
mapped, the structures are grouped in household pairs and these are
aligned in rows, and the pattern on these sites is no exception. Yet the
character of the layout differs suggesting that perhaps ethnic or
inter-drainage differences are being conveyed in minor variations of site
structure (Figure 8). The first two rows in Figure 8 show the layout
observed and mapped at other sites on the San Pedro and Santa Cruz
rivers, whereas the bottom row shows the layout of paired houses in the
household groups along Sonoita Creek.
Figure 6: Apache arrow point fragment
from a Sobaipuri-O'odham house.
This endeavor to locate the Kino-period Sonoydag is coupled with efforts to document all
Sobaipuri-O'odham sites along Sonoita Creek while the team has access to private land (and before some
of the land is sold off for development). Search efforts are focusing on correlating creek, spring, and
terrace characteristics to understand the basis for settlement location in this drainage. Last spring eight
previously unknown Sobaipuri-O'odham villages were identified on private land along another stretch of
Sonoita Creek, making a total of 10 so far. At least one of these is thought to correspond to the 1690s San
Geronimo recorded and plotted on maps made by Father Kino. Another might be the village occupied by
the Sobaipuri-O'odham who relocated here from the San Pedro after the 1698 battle near Fairbank.
Figure 7: Whetstone plain found at
the Kino-period Sonoydag.
Figure 8: New house layout identified in this valley (shown on bottom row).
Figure 9: Canutillo complex tools around and near a
Sobaipuri structure indicate site reuse by Jocome or a
related non-Apache mobile group.
Our team will continue working along Sonoita Creek until all viable areas for Sobaipuri-O'odham villages have been examined. We will publish the
findings and will be giving public presentations on the results. Look for a presentation this spring (likely April) or fall at Circle Z Ranch.
Kessell, John L. and Fray Bartholome Ximeno
1964 San José De Tumacácori-1773: A Franciscan Reports from Arizona. Arizona and the West 6(4):303-312.
Seymour, Deni J.
2011 Where the Earth and Sky are Sewn Together: Sobaípuri-O'odham Contexts of Contact and Colonialism. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
2011 Dating the Sobaípuri: A Case Study in Chronology Building and Archaeological Interpretation. Old Pueblo Archaeology Bulletin 67:1-13.
2014 A Fateful Day in 1698: The Remarkable Sobaípuri-O'odham Victory over the Enemies of the Sonoran Province. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake
2015 Behavioral Assessment of a Pompeii-Like Event and It's Battlefield Signature. Chapter 2 in Explorations in Behavioral Archaeology, edited by
William H. Walker and James M. Skibo. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
Seymour, Deni J. and Chris Sugnet
2016 Thematic Inventory of Protohistoric and Terminal Prehistoric Sites in Southeastern Arizona. Report being prepared in compliance with permit
requirements. On file at the Arizona State Museum, Tucson.
Seymour, Deni J. and Chris Sugnet
In prep Sobaipuri Occupation of Sonoita Creek. Book manuscript to be submitted to University...
Figure 2: Kino's 1696-1697 Saeta Martyrdom map
(Reyes = Los Reyes del Sonoytag).
A later report by Fray Bartholome Ximeno tells us that
this 26-family village was attacked by the Apache in
1770 and 1771 (Figure 4). As Kessell notes, the
Tumacácori Book of Burials lists 19 inhabitants of
Sonoita who "died at the hands of the Apaches" on
July 13, 1770. The village was eventually abandoned,
consistent with O'odham practice, apparently as a
result of this or other Apache attacks, with its
occupants moving to Calabasas on the Santa Cruz.
Figure 4: Fray Bartholome Ximeno's 1773 comment about Sonoitac being attacked by Apaches.
Figure 5: Sobaipuri-O'odham (Huachuca)
point from a Sobaipuri-O'odham house.
The Material on This Page Is Copyrighted and Should Be Appropriately Cited (C) 2013-2015, Deni Seymour