|WHO TOOK A BITE?|
Catalina State Park, immediately north of Tucson, contains a well- preserved Hohokam village situated at the edge of the Santa Catalina Mountains. A small hike will lead the visitor to a cultural site that contains a variety of ruins. Perhaps the most interesting is a “ball field” where evidence points to some sort of a game placed with a ball. Archaeologists believe the balls were made from “natural” rubber found in a perennial shrubby plant called Guayule (a composite [daisy family], Parthenium argentatum). The plant is native to deserts of south Texas and northern Mexico but could have been cultivated by the Hohokam in Arizona, or perhaps was acquired by trade. It is my understanding that Guayule balls were also used by ball playing individuals of the Mayan Civilization. Today there is some manufacture of Guayule gloves as a replacement for “latex”.
The archaeologists believe the village held about 300 individuals, many of whom lived within a walled (perhaps six feet) complex. Remains of individual dwellings may be observed in the village and several “trash” piles have been excavated. Visitors may be lucky enough, as I was, to see small pieces of red-colored pottery lying around.
The Hohokam were farmers and grew squash, maize and beans along Sutherland Wash and Canyon del Oro below the village site. Most likely they also made use of seeds of local plants such as pigweed, the grasses, and others.
The name Romero comes from a later settler, Francisco Romero, who ranched the area in the 1800’s.
As for the chunk out of the prickly pear--my guess is javelina as their tracks are abundant.
|REMAINS OF THE VILLAGE WALL, AT ONE TIME ~SIX FEET IN HEIGHT.|
|THE HOMES; NOT MUCH LEFT|
|THE ROMERO RANCH CA. 1850.|