A Cerros de Trincheras megalithic site that may date back thousands of years
"Cerro de trincheras are spectacular archeological sites located in southern Arizona, northern Sonora, and western Chihuahua. They consist of isolated volcanic hills crowned by walls and terraces made of dry-laid masonry. At least some of these sites seem to have been walled villages, inhabited by Hohokam and Trincheras people relatively late in prehistoric times, ca. AD 1100 to 1300. Recently it has been discovered that several massive cerros de trincheras in Chihuahua are several thousand years older than this......"
- John Roney "Cerro de Trinchera Archeological Sites"
Cerro Juanaqueña is the largest of the Late Archaic cerros de trincheras. The circular, upper portion of the site is 320 meters by 240 meters in size, and within that area virtually every square meter has been modified by the construction of walls and terraces. It is estimated that construction of these features involved moving over 40,000 tons of material"
- John Roney Photo: The Cerro Juanaqueña trinchera site
Several years ago, while researching interesting areas and sites in Arizona, at the local University of Arizona Library, I stumbled upon the reference to Nachi Kulik (called La Ventana below). You can see from the Arizona Place names reference, that it is quite a fantastic megalithic site. It is technically what is known as a "Cerros de Trincheras" ("entrenched mountains"), a volcanic outcropping with terraces, huge rock walls several hundred feet long made of very large rocks nearly four feet thick and in some cases eight feet tall. There are several (over 50 such sites) that range from Sonora, Mexico into southern Arizona. This particular site is quite stunning and dramatic. I went to the site several years ago (after reading the reference below "Arizona Place Names") and not quite believing such a massive megalithic construction could be real here in Southern Arizona. It turned out to be much more than I expected .
The walls are massive and there are what appear as circular low rock walled "rooms" on the north end of the mountain (outcropping). I climbed up to the top and sure enough there was what appeared to be a "natural water tank" as the reference states. The last wall on top (last of several) has large and thick verically pointed upright megalithic boulders spaced at intervals of fiteen or so feet, evenly across the length of the wall. They actually scared (startled) me when I first glanced up at them, looking like guardian sentinels. At the east side of the top there is another large craggy outcropping which has a large natural hole through it horizontally. (La Ventana or "window") The wind constantly roars through the 30 or so foot hole. Both times I visited the site, there was a large eagle circling overhead like another spirit guardian.
The first time I went to the site I was overcome with grief at a certain point on the ground below, not quite knowing why, but I sensed that children had died or suffered on that particular plot of ground I was standing in. Only years later did I learn the Ha-ak story mentioned below and realized I must have connected somehow (on my visit) with possibly the children in the story. It was quite an intense experience.
Little is known of the Cerros de Trincheras, but there have been a few studies which have pointed to an 1100 a.d.-1200 a.d. or so occupation and it is known, at that time the sites were at least used for growing maize, since maize (corn) pollen has been found in the "trenches". and the walls have been explained as water containment and distribution devices with "gates" of sorts. There have also been apparent burials (skeletal remains found in some of the circular type rock wall structures) at another Trincheras site (near where I live in Avra Valley (at a site near "Pan Quemado", which I also visited).
There is new evidence however, suggesting at least one of the sites may be multiple thousands of years older than other Trincheras sites. I know of no archaic people in Arizona who built such huge megalithic structures, and the sites earliest purposes remain a mystery. Who was building such structures that involved moving massive quantities of giant stones (several tons each?) and the enormous effort to place them in walls up on the sides and the top of the 400 ft. outcropping, thousands of years ago? Astonishingly this is not an isolated site, but one of many! What purpose did the sites serve? Was there successive occupation over thousands of years?
Also, considering the Ha-ak story below and the mention that Ha-ak was killed at some point and this site is named "Ha-ak Muerto ("dead Ha-ak) and that Ha-ak traveled to Baboquivari mountain, which is very near this site, the story becomes even more intriguing and a true ancient mystery. - Jack Andrews
You can read more about the "Cerros de Trincheras" sites here: Aerial Archaeology in Mexico
"Nachi Kulik" or "Hâ-âk Muerto" (Dead Hâ-âk) aerial image courtesy USGS, you can see some of the walls slightly left of center, as faint vertical lines. The "window" hole goes directly through the outcropping (lower right and furthest east)
La Ventana Pima Co.
Arizona Place Names by Will C. Barnes, The University of Arizona Press, 1988, p.239
Pale Ink-Two Ancient Records of Chinese Explorations in America by Henrietta Mertz Swallow Press Inc. Chicago Illinois, 1972 p. 39
- Jack Andrews
. - Jack Andrews copyright 2001 may be only used in it's entirety with this notice clearly visible