The Camp at Bonita Cañon: A Buffalo Soldier Camp in Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Author(s): Martyn D. Tagg

Year: 1987


This report presents the results of the CHIR 86B archeological project, whose main objective was to record and evaluate the significance of an 1885-1886 Tenth Cavalry "Buffalo Soldier" camp in Chiricahua National Monument. It states the reasons for the project, presents a summary of previous work in and near the project area, and discusses the background history of the "Buffalo Soldier" in the U.S. military and the part they played in the Geronimo Campaign in southern Arizona, including the Camp at Bonita Cañon. This is followed by provenience descriptions, artifact analyses and results, interpretation of the context of the features and camp layout, and the domestic aspects of the camp.

The archeological investigations at the Camp at Bonita Canon included surface artifact collections, test excavations, and mapping at seven features located near Faraway Ranch that had the potential of being associated with the military camp. At the conclusion of the project it was determined that all seven features were very probably remains of the camp. Those remains south of Highway 181 were relatively undisturbed; those to the north of the highway were disturbed to an unknown degree by later occupation of the area. The investigations uncovered the base of a chimney which was probably at one time connected to a tent, a possible meat storage feature, a hearth, and an "occupation" level in a possible tent area. A second possible chimney feature was located but not investigated. The project also uncovered the intact base of the Garfield Monument, the feature from which the engraved blocks in the Garfield Fireplace at Faraway Ranch originally came, and the feature for which the Camp at Bonita Cañon is best known.

Cite this Record

The Camp at Bonita Cañon: A Buffalo Soldier Camp in Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona. Martyn D. Tagg. Publications in Anthropology ,42. Tucson, Arizona: Western Archeological and Conservation Center. 1987 ( tDAR id: 4282) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8X928T0

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1880 to 1890

Spatial Coverage

min long: -109.372; min lat: 31.841 ; max long: -109.296; max lat: 31.873 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): Mark F. Baumler; Linda J. Pierce

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