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Dicke, Robert J. (ed.) / Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume XLIV (1955)

McCabe, Robert A.
The prehistoric engineer-farmers of Chihuahua,   pp. 75-90 PDF (6.1 MB)


Page 83

 1955] McCabe—Engineer-Farmers of Chihuahua 83 
grass. The larger building seemed to have had a very small anteroom adjoining.
This floor plan was noted on several other occasions along the Gavilan and
is shown graphically in Richard J. Hinton's Hand-book to Arizona.'3 Fragments
of pottery and a broken mano were found near these ruins. Lower on the bench
near the southwest corner of the area was the third mound with its decadent
walls. Here, too, pottery fragments were found. The interesting feature about
this latter site was that the side to the west, which slopes rapidly toward
the flat meadow adjacent to the river, was supported by a series of shore,
almost over-lapping stone dams. I failed to record the number of dams involved,
but as I now recall, they were so close together as to give the appearance
of a cobblestoned hill. 
 This was a clear-cut example of employing the check-dam technique to protect
a slope that would have otherwise eroded. It is inspiring to see the effectiveness
of this primitive construction. These little check-dams and terraces have
so efficiently held the soil and sod that they can be found only by hunting
for them among the yellow gamma grass now covering the slope. These miniature
support-dams were also found on the bench in several places along its edge.
THE FORT 
 One morning while collecting birds on one of the larger mesas I chanced
upon what was the most imposing of all the ruins encountered in the Gavilan
River area. I called it the "fort". It was situated on the corner
of a mesa
rim where two canyons met at right angles to each other. Both were deep and
steep-sided. The larger one, when I saw it in the wet season, had a roaring
stream in the bottom. So steep were the sides of this canyon that even a
zigzag ascent among the live oaks would have been dangerous. The structure,
which was in an excellent state of preservation, was an angular wall shaped
like a boomerang. The highest part (7 feet) of this wall was in the center
or elbow of the boomerang. I paced the total length and found it to be 280
feet long. There was also an auxilliary wall below the elbow which was five
feet tall and about 1520 feet long. It was impossible to photograph this
lower wall in perspective because it was downslope about 35 feet and partly
covered with brush. On the flat above the main wall was the stone remnant
of what appeared to have been a building. It was not unlike those found in
the ruins above our camp. 
 ~ p. 431, Richard J. Hinton. The hand-book to Arizona, San Francisco, Payot,
tJpham and Co., New York, 1878. 


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