Date(s) - 10/17/2020
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Two-site tour sponsored and organized by Old Pueblo Archaeology Center:
Santa Cruz de Terrenate is the best-preserved example of three presidios (forts) established in what is now the southern Arizona by the Spanish colonial government. The objective was to provide the missions, settlers, and Christianized Native Americans of New Spain with military protection from Apaches and other mobile Natives by forming a line of presidios that enclosed the area under Spanish control. Santa Cruz presidio was founded on a steep bluff overlooking the San Pedro River on December 10, 1775 and was abandoned in March of 1780. The only other settlement on the river at the time was a Sobaipuri O’odham village called Quiburi that had moved far to the north from its Kino-period placement near where the presidio was later built. The presidio housed soldiers, civilians, Ópata scouts, O’odham laborers, and domestic servants of a variety of origins. Originally excavated by Charles Di Peso, more recently our tour leader, Dr. Deni Seymour, carried out excavations there revealing quite a bit new information about the Spanish occupation, the earlier Sobaipuri O’odham village, and the nature of life at this remote outpost. As usual, with the addition of new data, her findings run counter to many of the established truths of this frontier region.
Santa Cruz del Pitaitutgam is a large Sobaípuri village occupied off-and-on for centuries. Charles Di Peso excavated a portion of this site in the 1950s making it the first ever Sobaipuri site identified and excavated. He called it Santa Cruz de Gaybanipitea, but further ethnohistoric research shows definitively that this was the place Father Kino called Santa Cruz del Pitaitutgam (shown as Pitaitutgam on an early map). More recently, Dr. Seymour carried out additional excavations on the site, which was important in clarifying new ideas about the Sobaipuri, their village layout, length of occupation in the valley, and many other issues of current interest.
Reservations required, limited spaces: