The legacy of the Río Sonora Project and other early research in Sonora, Mexico

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

The 1960s and 1970s were a seminal period for archaeology in the state of Sonora, Mexico. These decades saw the first intensive large-scale research as well as the establishment of a regional office in Hermosillo of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), led by Beatriz Braniff and Arturo Oliveros. This session focuses on the work of Richard Pailes and his compatriots who coordinated archaeological research in the low sierra region of Sonora. These early investigators repeatedly ventured into archaeologically-unknown territory. Their efforts provided us with extensive knowledge about the prehistory of what came to be known as the Rio Sonora and Serrana regions. Many of the questions posed by the Rio Sonora project and related efforts remain salient today. Publications from this project continue to serve as the foundation for new research projects and constitute the definitive source material for those who conduct work in eastern Sonora. This session intends to acknowledge the work of this era. Papers are presented that reflect positively and critically on this early work. A special emphasis also is placed on recent investigations that build on this early research with new perspectives and techniques.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-7 of 7)

  • Documents (7)

  • Batacosa, a Río Sonora or Serrana site? (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Cristina García-Moreno.

    Our work conducted in 2009 and 2010 in Batacosa, an archaeological site first recorded in 1967 by William Wasley, and later visited by Victoria Dirst, allowed us to determine their full extent and material culture, in addition to date this site to the Batacosa (200 -700 AD) and early Cuchujaqui phases of the south branch of what Richard Pailes defined in 1973 as Río Sonora culture, geographically located in the Sonoran lower foothills. In this paper we present the results obtained by Proyecto...

  • In the Spirit of Sauer and Brand: Geographic Reflections on the RSV Project (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only William Doolittle.

    The Rio Sonora Valley Project directed by Richard A. Pailes in the late 1970s was pivotal in contributing to our understanding of northwest Mexico. It was the first systematic archaeological research conducted in eastern Sonora since Carl Sauer and Donald Brand in the 1930s, and it precipitated later research by John Douglas, Emiliano Gallaga, Elizabeth Bagwell, and most recently Matthew Pailes. The project was not without problems, and critics. As a member of the RSV Project, and one who...

  • La Cueva de la Colmena: bioarchaeological analysis of a funerary context from the Sonora – Sinaloa Project / R. A. Pailes 1967. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Patricia Hernandez Espinoza. Adriana Hinojo. Blanca Eréndira Contreras Barragán.

    In the past six years the Centro INAH Sonora has turned its gaze to the Archaeological Collections under its charge, keeping priority to conservation, research, documentation and registration of such collections. Key member of this acquis is the collection product of the archaeological research conducted by Dr. Richard Allen Pailes in the year 1967 as part of the Sonora-Sinaloa Project. The main goal of the project was the recognition of different surface locations in the basin of the Mayo and...

  • Pochtecas and Pilgrims: Models for Elite and Commoner Exchange in the Río Sonora (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Matthew Pailes.

    The potential for the river valleys of eastern Sonora to serve as conduits for long distance trade between Mesoamerica and the U.S. Southwest was one of the original impetuses for research in the region. Researchers of the U.S. Southwest, using the same basic data sets, have come to drastically different conclusions regarding the frequency and overall importance of such long distance connections. Previous research in eastern Sonora has produced minimal direct evidence of long distance trade, but...

    DOCUMENT Citation Only John Carpenter.

    The characterization and descriptions of the Rio Sonora and Serrana (formerly known as the southern or Alamos branch of Rio Sonora) archaeological traditions exemplify Richard Pailes’ contributions to the archaeology of Sonora (and northeastern Sinaloa as well) and our current understanding of the serranía region. The Proyecto Arqueológico Río Sahuaripa (PARS) represents the first systematic archaeological investigation of the Sahuaripa River basin, located in eastern Sonora. The primary...

  • Research and curatorial work on the archeological collections recovered in Sonora by Dr. Richard A. Pailes (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Adriana Hinojo. Alejandra M. Gómez-Valencia. Blanca E. Contreras-Barragán. Jesús R. Vidal-Solano.

    Since 2009, following Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) implementation of new public registration protocols for the cultural material heritage, we started an intense work of inventorying, cataloging and registration of the archaeological artifacts recovered during the Sonora –Sinaloa Project/1967 and the project Economic Networks: Mesoamerica and the American Southwest between 1975 – 1978, both conducted by Dr. Richard Pailes. These studies provided the foundations for new...

  • Warfare, Invasion, and Ethnogenesis during the Protohistoric Period in Sonora (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Daniel Reff.

    When examined separately, the archaeological record and early Spanish accounts of Sonora are seemingly insufficient or ambiguous with respect to culture continuity and change. However, critical juxtaposition of the two "data sets" suggests that the late prehistoric period in Sonora was a time when competing chiefdoms or "statelets" embraced slavery and territorial expansion , contributing to processes of ethonogenesis that have confounded previous interpretations of the archaeological and...