Research Directions - Spanish-Colonial Artifacts
Since 1992 research has focused on documenting 16th, 17th and 18th century Spanish-Colonial artifacts in private and public collections. The distribution of Spanish artifacts found in isolated context over the landscape of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico and portions of northern Sonora is of great interest and an important part of this research project.
Charcoal drawing on rock
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Documented Spanish artifacts cannot be linked specifically to the Zúñiga expedition but some do seem to correlate closely with his route. For instance, a copper bowl was found in a cave along with 24 “iron buttons” and a rotting cloth bollaro. Also associated with these artifacts were charcoal drawings, one depicting a person on a horse sitting on what appears to be a high-back Spanish saddle. This site overlooks a pass that links the Whitlock Valley to the Gila River at Duncan and the route I believe most likely taken by Zúñiga in 1795. Other artifacts found in close proximity of the trail include the “Joe Place Sword” and a spontoon and spur found along Carrisel Canyon.
To date over 80 historic artifacts have been reported. Most of these objects were found lying on the surface of the ground but some were excavated. Some, but not all of the artifacts have been verified as authentic Spanish-Colonial objects. For purposes here, artifacts have been assigned to one of three categories:
- Horsemen’s hardware including spurs, stirrups, bits and horse and mule shoes.
- Armament including spontoons, swords, and knives.
- Other items such as, but not limited to buttons, coins, medallions, bowls, spoons, lead ingots, glass beads and copper bells.
Artifacts traceable to a specific location, supplemented by Spanish journal accounts of trail locations, have provided the framework for selecting where to conduct archaeological survey and remote sensing studies.
Possible Spontoon Larger Image
Horse bit (3-D)
Pair of Ox Shoes
Joe Place Sword
Iron spontoon (3-D)
Mule shoe (3-D)
Copper bowl (3-D)
Metal button (3-D)
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