On November 17, 2015, Aaron Wright (Archaeology Southwest) will present “Exploring and Protecting the Great Bend of the Gila.”
The Gila River’s Great Bend, in southwestern Arizona, has been a cultural crossroads for over 10,000 years. This remote area was an interface between the San Dieguito and Clovis/Folsom Paleoindian traditions, the Amargosa and Cochise traditions, and the Patayan and Hohokam farming traditions. Later, it was a frontier between O’odham and Yuman tribes as well as Spanish, Mexican, and American governments. This deep history is preserved in a wide range of stunning archaeological resources. Rock art of the Western Archaic, Hohokam, Patayan, Yavapai, Western Apache, and Immigrant Anglo cultural traditions line canyon walls. Enigmatic geoglyphs and fortified hilltops dot a landscape traversed by ancient trails and wagon roads.
To commemorate and preserve this important piece of the national portrait, U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva has introduced legislation to establish a Great Bend of the Gila National Monument. Archaeology Southwest has partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and several tribal communities to support this important bill. This talk will overview the cultural and historical significance of the Great Bend and provide a status update on the national monument campaign.