Perdiz Trail and Sundog sites


In the summer of 2010, CBBS personnel discovered a discrete, short-term campsite of Late Prehistoric peoples that promises major scientific returns. Termed the Perdiz Trail site (02-269, and radiocarbon dated to A.D. 1450&mdash1530, this small, rather nondescript campsite was occupied by a group of hunters for only seven to ten days, and was buried quickly by eolian and alluvial processes upon abandonment. Its significance rests in the fact that it represents a sealed, uncontaminated moment in time where all artifactual material and constructed features can be assigned confidently to a single culture.

Importantly, the site location had not proven attractive for occupation by earlier or later peoples. The principal tool form here is the Perdiz arrow point, a hallmark of the cultural group termed the Cielo complex in the Big Bend. Limited excavations here have thus far yielded a series of hearths, ephemeral pits, middens, a cache-like concentration of debitage, and other features linked to short-term special activities that are not as apparent in large, complex base camps of the same culture. Attendant to the Perdiz Trail find was the discovery in the same general area and setting of a much more extensive, but also short-lived site related to the same culture and time period—the Sun Dog site (02- 274). Also a special activity site, but of a longer duration, the remains here include a large ring midden with well-preserved interior sub-features, areas of clustered small hearths, and multiple clustered rock features of as yet unknown function. In contrast with Perdiz Trail, the Sun Dog site appears to be more oriented toward the collecting and processing of wild plant foods. When combined with our existing data from much more complex villages of the Cielo complex, these two sites have the potential to expand our knowledge of the full range of subsistence activities and settlement systems of this important Big Bend culture. Data gleaned from these sites promises to greatly enhance our understanding of hunter-gatherer adaptations to a desert environment that was essentially comparable to that of today. (This description is from the 2011 CBBS newsletter).

Archaeologists examining remnants of historic rock structure