== ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH ON THE SOBAIPURI==
The Sobaipuri are one of the most-studied protohistoric (or late prehistoric and early historic) groups in southern Arizona (Gilpin and Phillips 1998), although this is
not saying much as the protohistoric (late prehistoric and early historic) are less studied than most other time periods, especially in this area. The accompanying list
of references shows the upsurge of research in this group by archaeologists in the past 30 years.
Prior to this, most of the research was conducted by historians and ethnohistorians. The first archaeological work was initiated by Charles Di Peso (1953, 1956) of
the Amerind Foundation who established a program designed to understand the transition from prehistory to history. Although most of his conclusions about sites
visited by Kino have been discredited, Di Peso is recognized as a true scholar and he did define the first archaeological Sobaipuri site (now known as Santa Cruz del
Pitaitutgam), making key contributions to the field, some of which are only recently being recognized. The other sites he thought might be Sobaipuri turned out to be
late prehistoric sites representing Puebloan and other culture groups or the remnants of a later Spanish fort ( Santa Cruz de Terrenate).
Archaeologist Deni Seymour has studied the Sobaipuri for 25 years, revisiting some of the issues raised by Di Peso and establishing new directions for Sobaipuri
research. The many publications that are appearing today result from considered research throughout this period. As a result of this work Seymour has discovered
and recorded more Sobaipuri sites than all other researchers put together, in fact more than tripple the number. She has also excavated more Sobaipuri sites than all
other researchers combined, and produced more publications than any other Sobaipuri researcher. Thus, the statement by The CDA is simply false and foolish that
"few sites have been documented and reported since the work of Charles Di Peso of the Amerind Foundation during the 1950s..." Current researchers working with
that organization are not refining and augmenting the "limited universe of Sobaipuri archaeology" as they would have you believe, but rather are dabbling in the field
and at the same time creating a false fog of confusion around topics that are really quite clear. But enough with this negative and misleading hooha.
An incredible amount of exciting information is being extracted in recent years. Each time a trowel is put into the ground the entire picture changes with regard to what
is known about the Sobaipuri. What this tells us is that much remains to be learned and that the archaeology will continue to provide a very different answer than the
documentary record has given. Concerted and focused research is beginning to provide a substantially revised picture from that resulting from Di Peso's work 50
years ago. This is not to put Di Peso down as he made incredible advances for his time. As expected, new research reveals new information and people that knew
him tell me that he would be intrigued not disturbed by these new discoveries. It is an interesting fact that both Di Peso and Seymour are beneficiaries of Emil
Haury's legacy--a gentleman and a respected scholar whose own research interests touched on the contact period and the Hohokam-Pima continuum. Di Peso was
one of two of Haury's first University of Arizona students and Seymour's was the last dissertation committee on which Haury served. Haury may be considered the
one to initiate the study of this period when he began work on what was then referred to as the Papagueria.
SOBAIPURI (Archaeological Research)
On the San Pedro, Santa Cruz, and on tributary drainages Seymour has documented more than 40 archaeological sites occupied by the Sobaipuri Tribe (Seymour 1989,
1990, 1993a; others still unpublished). Detailed maps of each site show how villages were either planned from the inception of occupation or where structures were gradually
added through time. Chronometric dates obtained from each site provide a time line for occupation, ousting previously held notions about the shallow time depth of
occupation in this region. She has mapped portions of their extensive irrigation systems and noted how their agriculture-based villages drifted along the river margins as
groups grew and splintered through time (Seymour 1990,1993, 1997, 2003). Excavations on several Sobaipuri sites have led her to revise conclusions that have arisen from
use of the documentary record alone. She has located, published on, and is excavating many of the rancherias that were referenced by Kino, including Quiburi, Santa Cruz de
Gaybanipitea, Santa Cruz del Pitaitutgam, Guevavi, and San Cayetano del Tumacacori. For these efforts, Dr Seymour has been listed by New Mexico Historical Review as
one of the Southwest's "seminal Spanish borderland, southwestern, and western scholars." This careful and focused research is broad-based as well as site-specific, and
has been undertaken over almost a quarter century, providing a qualifier for some of the more hit-and-run work recently conducted by students.
Archaeologist Bruce Masse (1981) had also excavated Sobaipuri sites on the lower (northern) San Pedro, revising many of Di Peso's original perspectives and summarizing
the state of knowledge about this group at the beginning of the 1980s. His work laid the foundation for modern studies of the Sobaipuri, providing an updated summary of the
Sobaipuri as of the late twentieth century. Though many of these inferences have now been revised through additional research, the clarity of Masse's work provided a basis
for moving forward.
Only a few residential sites have been found away from the rivers. Archaeologist Bruce Huckell (1994) documented three archaeological sites in the shadow of the Santa Rita
Mountains north of Sonoita, Arizona. These three sites were probably used seasonally for hunting and gathering or possibly as refuge sites to escape Spanish domination. It
is interesting that they display site structure similar to their larger counterparts.
SOBAIPURI SITES ON THE SAN PEDRO LOCATED BY SEYMOUR IN THE 1980S
SOBAIPURI SITES AS MAPPED BY
FATHER KINO IN THE 1690S
THE MATERIAL ON THIS PAGE IS COPYRIGHTED AND SHOULD BE APPROPRIATELY CITED (C) 2007-2017, Deni Seymour
Video: Remembering the Sobaipuri