Archaeological Excavations at the Arivaca Wash Cemetery, AZ DD:7:26 (ASM), Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge


Erosion along a wash running into Arivaca Creek resulted in the exposure of skeletal remains from a prehistoric cemetery. Under contract to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Desert Archaeology conducted emergency excavations in November of 1994 to rescue those remains that had partially fallen into the wash. The surviving portions of four burials were removed, and a fifth burial was discovered but left in situ. The presence of five burials in such a restricted area suggests that a larger cemetery may be present.

Three adult males, an adult female, and a teenage male were present. All were buried in pits that originated from 1 to VA m below modem ground surface. Four burials had partially eroded into the wash, and three of these were flexed. No burial goods were present. The adult female burial (Burial 5) was left in place due to the presence of a large tree immediately above the burial.

Examination of the skeletal remains indicated that these were Native Americans. The individuals appear to be quite healthy, with most pathological conditions present on the teeth. One of the adult males had many small caries, and the teenage male had unusual wear and modification on two teeth. The type of modification found on one tooth has never been documented at a prehistoric site in Arizona.

The cemetery appears to date to the protohistoric or early historic period. Radiocarbon dates from two features place the probable period of usage from about 1450 to the early 1800s. It is recommended that preventative measures be undertaken to stop the continued erosion of the south wall of the wash. If erosion continues, other burials (including Burial 5) will probably be exposed.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Excavations at the Arivaca Wash Cemetery, AZ DD:7:26 (ASM), Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, 17. J. Homer Thiel, Penny Dufoe Minturn, Lorrie Lincoln-Babb. 1995 ( tDAR id: 448462) ; doi:10.48512/XCV8448462

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -111.333; min lat: 31.583 ; max long: -111.307; max lat: 31.599 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.

Contributor(s): Lisa Huckell

Prepared By(s): Center for Desert Archaeology

Submitted To(s): U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
tr94-17_final_OCR_PDFA_Redacted.pdf 2.06mb Dec 1, 2020 2:56:37 PM Public
This file is the redacted version of the resource.
tr94-17_final_OCR_PDFA.pdf 2.16mb Apr 1, 1995 Apr 15, 2019 12:18:15 PM Confidential
This file is the unredacted version of the resource.

Accessing Restricted Files

At least one of the files for this resource is restricted from public view. For more information regarding access to these files, please reference the contact information below

Contact(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.