Preservation Archaeology in the San Pedro River Valley

To learn more about our long-term research investigations in the San Pedro River valley, click here.

To learn more about our site protection initiatives in the region, click here.

To view a video of Archaeology Southwest’s Bill Doelle and Jeff Clark speaking about both aspects of our work in the San Pedro, click here.

Former Archaeology Southwest staff member and valley resident Jacquie Dale provided the following description of special projects she undertook in the valley:

San Pedro Valley Site Steward Initiative

In 2001, Archaeology Southwest created a program to support the Arizona Site Steward Program’s efforts in the Lower San Pedro River Valley between Benson and Winkelman, Arizona. The Site Steward program is a project of the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office/Arizona State Parks that calls upon over 700 volunteers statewide as “extra eyes” for land managers. Site stewards monitor threatened archaeological sites and report vandalism to land managers and local law enforcement agencies.

I serve as Archaeology Southwest’s Preservation Archaeologist in the region. I recruit local residents for the Site Steward program, provide them with training and information about the sites they are monitoring, and follow up with local law enforcement after vandalism is reported. I also serve as a local community resource, providing information about the archaeology of the San Pedro to the general public and working with local landowners and land managers to preserve the archaeology of the area through multiple strategies, including outreach and education. Currently there are sixteen site stewards monitoring sites in the Lower San Pedro region. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of local site stewards and the State archaeologist, one site that had been badly vandalized for several years is now better protected. Working cooperatively with the State of Arizona, the Site Stewards, and adjacent landowners, easy access to this site was eliminated in 2007. No new vandalism has since been reported.

Historic Cemeteries in the San Pedro River Valley

In 2005, with the permission of living family members and help from college students, I began recording and mapping local historic cemeteries in the Cascabel and Redington area. The goal of our project was to document early settlers in the area and add to the inventory of Arizona’s historic cemeteries currently being compiled by the State Historic Preservation Office.

Archaeology Southwest’s team has recorded five historic cemeteries to date—approximately 181 individual graves. We mapped each of the cemeteries in detail, and we collected additional data, including the number of individuals interred at each cemetery, the names and birth/death dates of individuals (if known)‏, inscriptions on headstones or monuments, headstone styles and material types, the condition of graves and genealogical data.

The majority of the graves we recorded were unmarked and in poor condition. Some of those with grave markers were clearly deteriorating. All of the cemeteries were on private land. Three of the cemeteries are still being used as sites for burial of family members. We continue to compile genealogical information about the families buried in the cemeteries.

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