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Society for American Archaeology

Cruciform Artifacts of the Sierra Occidental Author(s): Agnes McClain Howard Source: American Antiquity, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Oct., 1954), pp. 174-175 Published by: Society for American Archaeology Stable URL: . Accessed: 22/01/2011 22:42
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[ XX, 2, 1954

Spaniards at the same time as their occupation of Seville. It is, therefore, a possibility that the Spaniardsdug the cistern but never completed it, in the same way that they commenced a stone church at Seville and left it unfinished. Another possibility is that the hole was dug by Don Christopher Ysassi, the last Spanish governor of Jamaica, who was frequently in this area from 1657 to 1660, where he received from time to time supplies from Cuba to support his warfare with the English on the south side of the island. He mentions having dug a cellar in a dry place to hide 34 barrels of gunpowder. Unfortunately for him the powder was removed by one Captain Reyes to a less hidden place and was captured after a skirmish by the English troops. DeWolf's suggestion that the excavation might have been dug by Indians under white (Spanish) supervision is quite plausible, as we know that the natives worked for the Spaniards at Seville, and she is correct when she states that such projects are not encountered in Arawak culture.

there is only the most meager reference to them in the literature. This artifact is a cross, usually quite well made, of obsidian, chalcedony, serpentine, or other stone and there is even one reported of moonstone (Kelly 1945, Fig. 47 a). One of similar form but made of coarse lava was found at Topolobampo, Sinaloa (Ekholm 1942). The size of the crosses varies from quite small ones to larger ones measuring as much as 5 inches diagonally tip to tip. The crosses pictured (Fig. 60) are from DtLirango where perhaps the greatest concentration of the form has occurred. Cross a is of unpolished obsidian, 48 mm. diagonally tip to tip. This is from the Hacienda Santa Barbara on the ranch of Fred Weicker, some 56 km. west of Durango City and some 10 km. west of the Weicker Site which has been under investigation by J. Charles Kelley of Southern Illinois University. The stone cross b, 38 mm. diagonally tip to extrapolated tip, was a surface find at the Schroeder Site about 10 km. south of Durango City, a site also investigated by Kelley. Other crosses are reported to have come from this site DEWOLF, MARIAN W. but are unavailable. Some 60 km. north of Durango 1953 Excavations in Jamaica. American Antiquity, Vol. lt5 City on the Hacienda El Ojo (Mac Howard II) a small No. 3, pp. 230-38. Salt Lake City. cross of highly polished obsidian was found in associCUNDALL, FRANK ation with rather unusual projectile points. 1894 The Story of the Life of Columbus and the Discovery of While the archaeology of the various sites is as yet Jamaica. Journal of the Institute of Jamaica, Vol. 1, No. 4. Kingston. not too well worked out, in general it appears that the appearance of the crosses is not thus far related to any C. S. COTTER specific archaeological pattern. The Hacienda Santa Golden Spring Barbarasite (Weicker: Mac Howard I) yields pottery of Lime Hall P.O. a very crude sort, coarse and undecorated. Both the Jamaica, B.W.I. Schroeder site and the Hacienda El Ojo (Mac Howard March, 1954 II) show definite Chalchihuites influence and yield wellmade painted pottery. CRUCIFORM ARTIFACTS OF THE A most interesting aspect of the distribution of this SIERRA OCCIDENTAL artifact form is the fact that finds are reported from Investigators in the western and northwestern areas both highland and coastal regions of Mexico as well as from southeastern Arizona. Heretofore the Sinaloa of Mexico as well as in southern Arizona have for a long region has shown no affinities with the Highland cultime been familiar with a rather curious type of artifact, tures (Kellv 1938) except for the Guasave area (Ekholm the possible purpose of which has thus far defied even logical speculation. Moreover, in spite of the fact that 1942), and thus the moonstone cross mentioned earlier forms a tenuous but suggestive link. Charles C. Di Peso these artifacts are of relatively wide distribution and are of the Amerind Foundation in correspondence with the numerous enough to escape the designation "rare," director of the Instituto Interamericano mentioned a rumor that two of the stones had been found in a burial near Tiburon Island, Sonora, and he also mentioned several finds in Arizona and one near Cananea, Sonora. Other finds such as that at Guasave, Sinaloa (Ekholm 1942) tend to strengthen the Highland-Coastal relationship, especially if we consider the occurrence of the form at Cuicuilco in the Valley of Mexico (Haury 1945). So far as can be determined there is no way of fixing the age of the cruciform artifacts since they have not been found in relatable strata. One cross was found at the Weicker Site which also yielded a fluted projectile point (Lorenzo 1953) found by Charles Kelley's group, and which falls within the Clovis fluted category. However, the finds were not in recognizable strata. The FIG. 60,
... ... ..... .. . . 7.-:-X 6.i ........ .S* .... . ...... ......... ...

FACTS AND COMMENTS Cuicuilco cross mentioned above is not definitely datable. The Durango crosses were found in complexes certainly rather late (Schroeder site; Hacienda El Ojo) which show strong Chalchihuites relationships, and one Durango cross, at least (Hacienda Santa Barbara site), was associated with materials which could conceivably be early. Again to quote private correspondence, Di Peso mentions that Emil Haury found one of the crosses in the San Simeon Cienaga of southeastern Arizona in association with material reported to be San Pedro Stage. Thus, dating must await further study and field data. (Thanks are herewith given to 1. Charles Kelley of Southern Illinois University and to Charles C. Di Peso of the Amerind Foundation for information given in correspondence to Carl B. Compton, Instituto Interamericano, regarding the cruciform artifacts).


a cup-shaped center 3 inches in depth. As the rim slants upward from the center, the bowl actually is 6 inches in height. The distinctive feature of the bowl is that it is formed of grass which has been thoroughly covered with clay and then wound in the manner of coil-built pottery. After the bowl was formed it was obviously plastered with clay both inside and out and the clay smoothed and worked to form a fairly well-shaped bowl. As would be expected the walls are quite thick, being in places more than In inch and almost nowhere less than 3/4


American 1942 Excavations at Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico. Museum of Natural History, Anthropological Papers, Vol. 38, Pt. 2, pp. 23-139. New York.

1938 Excavations at Chametla, Sinaloa. Ibero-Americana, No. 14. University of California Press, Berkeley. 1945 Excavations at Culiacin, Sinaloa. Ibero-Americana, No. 25. University of California Press, Berkeley.

. .. ....


1945 The Problem of Contacts Between the Southwestern Southwestern Journal of United States and Mexico. Anthropology, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 55-74. Albuquerque.

1953 A Fluted Point from Durango, Mexico. American Antiquity, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 394-5. Salt Lake City. AGNES MCCLAIN HOWARD

Instituto Interamericano 5133 NT, Denton, Texas October, 1953 ANCESTOR OF POTTERY? The state of Durango, Mexico, is situated almost in the middle of the Sierra Madre Occidental. Nearly the entire state is rocky and mountainous and there are fairly large areas which are almost inaccessible though there are numerous fertile valleys which serve to produce the grain and herbage for the cattle which are important in the economy of the state. In the mountains and in the val!eys may be found abundant evidence of the activities of man over what was likely a rather long period of time; there is evidence of what appear to be several rather diverse cultures though relatively little archaeological study has been made of these cultures thus far. In the mountains in the vicinity of Mezquital some 50 miles to the south of the city of Durango are numerous caves and rockshelters. It was in one of these caves that the writer discovered a bowl (Fig. 61) which conceivably may have been an "ancestor" of true pottery. This bowl is 15 inches across, has a 41/2-inchrim around


61. Bowl of dlay and grass from a cave near Mezquital, Durango, Mexico

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