Canon Ranch

2011

Two large, side-by-side thermal features (each over 2 m in width) were excavated at a site on the Canon Ranch in June 2011. Mapping Canon Ranch siteOne of these contains a relatively dense pavement of stones, the other a looser pavement/stone-free center. The juxtaposition of these distinctively shaped features—within several meters of one another—and the presence of similar paired features at this site and at a handful of sites in the heart of the Big Bend strongly suggest the features were used in tandem, presumably for different purposes while processing a certain foodstuff. View of thermal features at siteRadiocarbon data recovered from each hearth essentially proved to be identical (ca. A.D. 1450—1640), yet no burned botanical materials such as seeds, fruits, or distinctive plant parts other than wood were identified in the deposits from either. However, wood charcoal identifications indicated mesquite and juniper were burned in one feature, and only mesquite in the other. Although we failed to identify how these two features functioned, either together or separately, we now know they date to Late Prehistoric times.