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ProQuest Information and Learning
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Michael Peter Heilen
A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of the
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
For the Degree of
In the Graduate College
UMI Number 1407829
UMI Miaofomi 1407829
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This thesis has been submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for an advanced
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Brief quotations from this thesis are allowable without special permission, provided
that accurate acknowledgment of source is made. Requests for permission for extended
quotation from or reproduction of this manuscript in whole or in part may be granted by
the head of the major department or the Dean of the Graduate College when in his or her
judgment the proposed use of the material is in the interests of scholarship. In all other
instances, however, permission must be obtained from the author.
This thesis has been approved on the date shown below:
2. UAfZOOt
Jefferson Reid
Professor of Anthropology
The completion of this thesis depended on the thoughtful input and assistance of
many individuals. Steven Hayden. who allowed me access to Julian Hayden's collection
of documents and artifacts, graciously welcomed me into his home and provided me an
unparalleled perspective on Julian Hayden's life and work. J. Jefferson Reid, who is
responsible for placing me on the trajectory resulting in this thesis, has been a continuous
source of guidance and inspiration. Teresita Majewsid provided much needed insight
into historical research methods and the use of documents. She also generously donated
her considerable editing skills toward creating what is indubitably a far better product
than I could have produced alone. 1 must also thank Michael Schiffer and Steven Kuhn
for their consistently cogent advice and valued perspectives. Finally I owe tremendous
gratitude to my wife, Jennifer, for the countless contributions she has made toward the
completion of this thesis and the fulfillment of my educational goals.
Hayden's Publications
The Hayden Pinacate Survey: Fieldnotes. Correspondence, and Comments
The Genesis of Malpais as an Archaeological Concept
Malcolm Rogers: Pioneer of Desert Archaeology
Julian Hayden: Pioneering Research in the Sierra Pinacate
The 1976 Data for Dating Climate Change and Archaeological Sequences
Geologic-Climatic Dating Methods
The Deflation Model
The Surface Wash Model
The Upward Migration of Stones Model
Cumulic Pedogenesis
The Differential Weathering Model
Formation Processes and the Archaeological Record
Pavement Disturbance and Re-formation
The Case ofWadi Al-Bih
Rock Varnish
Sleeping Circles: Natural or Cultural?
The Degree of Varnish Formation and the Relative Age of Artifacts
Malpais Associations with Ancient Landforms
Linguistic Evidence
Genetic and Skeletal Evidence
Artifacts or Geofacts?
The Bering Straight Hypothesis
Maritime Adaptations
Basic Requirement for Establishing Pre-Clovis
Geoarchaeology: Potential Pre-Clovis Contexts
Among Julian Hayden's many substantial contributions to southwestern
prehistory is what can be termed the Malpais model. Developed over the course of
decades. Hayden's view of prehistory in the extreme deserts of Mexico's Sierra Pinacate
region eventually upheld the Malpais model as a pre-Clovis claim. While Julian
Hayden's observations and ideas engaged the interest and participation of numerous
archaeologists and geologists in his Sierra Pinacate work, the complicated nature of the
sites he studied has left the age and nature of Malpais sites an open question. A reevaluation of Julian Hayden's Malpais model requires: (1) exploration of documents
related to Haydens' Sierra Pinacate fieldwork and the conceptual development of the
Malpais model; (2) review of current geological and archaeological studies related to the
formation processes of sites located in areas of desert pavement; and (3) an examination
of the Malpais model with respect to the Clovis versus pre-Clovis controversy.
Developing knowledge of the past can be an elusive and troubling task. As
Lowenthal (1985) observes, we cannot revisit the past, but only re-create the past through
interpretations of memory, text, and relics. It follows then that interpretations of the past
are in a constant state of flux, as the meaning of past events and behaviors is shifted in
order to accommodate the interests of the present.
For the distant past of America's first inhabitants, the past can only be known
through the interpretation of a fragmentary and incomplete archaeological record. Unlike
historical archaeology, which benefits from the combined interpretation of memory, text
and archaeology, prehistoric archaeology lacks this synergistic three-pronged approach.
Yet what makes historical archaeology capable of informing historical understandings
where historical studies themselves cannot, is in what is common to prehistorians and
historical archaeologists alike—the informed interpretation of the material record.
Interpretation of the material record allows historical archaeologists to make sense of
issues where documentary evidence is silent, contradictory, or misleading.
Given the long-standing and relentless debate over the origin of the First Americans
and the timing of their arrival, prehistoric archaeologists have begun to examine the
intellectual climate and motivations of earlier investigations. Charges of paradigm bias and
historically disregarded evidence has led investigators to enhance their knowledge of
archaeology's historical underpinnings. Toward these ends, Meltzer (1994) has examined the
development of American .Archaeology and archaeologists, and the work of early
investigators such Holmes and Hrdli^ka. Boldurian and Cotter (1999), likewise, have re­
visited the Clovis type site, situating its investigation within a broader historical context.
To Meltzer, questions regarding the origins of Native Americans began with the
arrival of Europeans to the continent, whose Biblical accounts of world history failed to
explain the presence of Native Americans. Believing that Native .Americans must share a
genealogical relationship with Biblical peoples, most early considerations concluded that
Native Americans must represent remnants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Ives (1956)
notes that other theories promulgated in the absence of archaeological or historical evidence
have included suggestions that Native American origins can be explained with reference to
lost continents, independently evolved races, or even other planets.
However, the Asiatic origin of Native Americans was considered at a very early
date. Father Juan de Acosta. for instance, speculated that America's indigenous
population must have migrated across an overland route "somewhere in the far north
where he inferred... that the Old and New Worlds were close or cormected" (Meltzer
1994:8). In his 1794 treatise on Sonora, Father Ignaz Pfefferkon made a similar
suggestion, backing up his idea with evidence from the recent voyages of Captain Cook
(Ives 1956).
Despite centuries of consideration and the more recent development of
archaeological theories, methods, and evidence, questions regarding the peopling of the
.Americans remain largely unresolved. The current debate centers around two major
issues: (1) whether evidence for human presence in the Americas exists for periods prior
to the Clovis period and (2) how the First Americans could have arrived. The discovery
and evaluation of potential pre-Clovis sites such as Monte Verde, or more recently Cactus
Hill, have led archaeologists to reconsider whether Clovis adaptations quickly followed
the arrival of America's first inhabitants and whether migrants to the New World
necessarily traversed the Bering Strait on foot.
Unlike other arguments that rest upon evidence from a single site, one contender
for the pre-Clovis crown recognizes a consistent pattern of sites. Still existing as a preClovis possibility, this contender is known as the Malpais. Developed over a period
spanning more than three decades, the evidence for the chronology of Malpais and later
San Dieguito sites rests upon Julian Hayden's interpretation of desert-pavement siteformation processes. Though models for the formation of desert pavement and its
associated desert varnish are still inconclusive, recent research indicates that knowledge
of desert-pavement formation with respect to the dating of the Malpais may be closer at
Nonetheless, the possibility that Malpais predates Clovis remains uru-esolved.
Hayden's publications on the subject provide a provocative and well-reasoned argument
for the antiquity of Malpais, yet many important assumptions and observations are not
readily apparent in Hayden's published writings. In order to begin to reconsider the
Malpais model as a pre-Clovis claim it is necessary to reconstruct the conceptual
development of the Malpais model. A better understanding of the underpinnings of the
Malpais model can be achieved through careful examination of documents related to
Hayden's Sierra Pinacate fieldwork. With a better understanding of how the Malpais
model was developed, we are in a better position to compare Julian Hayden's
conceptualization with more recent studies regarding the taphonomy of desert-pavement
archaeological manifestations. We are also better equipped to examine how the Malpais
model relates to the current configuration of the Clovis versus pre-Clovis controversy.
Thus, this thesis contains three main components: (1) an examination of documents
related to Hayden's Sierra Pinacate research; (2) a review of possible formation
processes for archaeological manifestations in areas of desert pavement; and (3) a
discussion of the significance of the Malpais model to the peopling of the Americas. This
thesis is not intended to provide an answer to the Malpais conundrum. Rather the
objective of this thesis is to clarify significant issues related to the construction of the
Malpais model and to provide a background upon which to base further work.
The social context within which archaeologists operate should be considered a
relevant topic for archaeological discourse. Archaeologists do not conduct their work
within a vacuum or a bubble. They are affected by the times within which they live, the
professional or academic atmosphere within which they work, and the genealogy of their
tutelage or e.xperience. Also, the physical and conceptual tools archaeologists use to
conduct fieldwork or laboratory analysis vary according to time, place and preference.
In this sense, the tools archaeologists use and the social environment within which
archaeologists operate significantly effect the nature of archaeological interpretation,
presentation and discourse. As Shiffer (1987:362) observes, the "behavior of the
archaeologist is the greatest source of variability in the archaeological record."
Julian Hayden described himself as an amateur or nonprofessional archaeologist,
and perhaps even enjoyed this distinction (Hayden 1998b). His status as an amateur or
nonprofessional, however, can in no way be used to imply any lack of education or
experience (see, e.g., Downum 1998; Hackbarth 1998; Reidand Whittlesey 1998).
Rather, he is often described as a consummate field archaeologist, possessed of powerful
observational skills and unwavering independence of thought (Reid and Whittlesey 1997,
1998). He is likewise said to have been an omnivorous reader with a genuine passion for
prehistory (Thompson 1998). Thankfully, he was also a conscientious observer and
incisive critic who documented—through photography, mapping, note-taking, and
journal writing—practically every archaeological project he worked on.
Many of the documents Julian Hayden left behind have yet to be uncovered and
explored, but those that have been examined are remarkable in their variety and scope.
His son, Steven Hayden (personal communication, 2001), for instance, is currently
reviewing the elder Hayden's journal from Snaketown and has located another from
Pueblo Grande. The journal not only provides valuable archaeological information but
also keen, humorous, and compassionate recollections of daily events at the
groundbreaking 1936 excavation. The character and duties of everyone involved, from
renowned Southwestern archaeologist Emil Haury to the cook, diggers, and trowel men is
recounted with genuine compassion, insight, and lucidity.
Though the character and exploits of Hayden have become almost the stuff of
legend, one fact about Julian Hayden is assured. He left stacks of correspondence,
copious business records, house plans, field notes, journals, and daily letters to his
departed wife. The veritable treasure trove of information about Julian Hayden. his work,
his colleagues, acquaintances, and fiiends is well beyond the scope of this endeavor, but
some aspects of the Hayden documents are worth noting.
The biographical and historical value of the Hayden documents is beyond
measure, but they should also be considered useftil to both prehistoric and historical
archaeologists. For the Hayden documents encompass many subjects pivotal not only to
the development of Southwestern archaeology but to archaeology in general. These
include accounts of excavations at the Grewe site (Hackbarth 1998), Pueblo Grande
(Downum 1998), University Indian Ruin (Hayden 1957), and Snaketown, Hayden's
tenure as president of the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society (Hartmann
1998), Hayden's research in the Sierra Pinacate (Hayden 1965, 1967,1972, 1976a,
1976b, 1980b, 1982,1998a), and Hayden's relationships with pioneering archaeologists
such as Emil Haury and Malcolm Rogers.
Hayden's Publications
Many of Hayden's publications are landmark studies in Southwestern
anthropology (see,e.g., 1945, 1957, 1965). Like his excavation service, he seems to have
constantly been breaking new ground. On the other hand, many of his archaeological
publications suffer from a common shortcoming. Though often clearly written, they
succinctly relate a host of tightly woven observations and interpretations, the overall
structure of which can be e.xceedingly complex. Brainstorms recorded in his field notes
sometimes display the same condensed pattern. Anything but a very careftil reading of
some of his writings may easily result in misunderstandings of his observations or
interpretations. Misunderstanding sometimes leads to misgiving.
Though remembered well by seemingly almost everyone who knew him, his
claims for the antiquity of American prehistory are not well represented in considerations
of pre-Clovis, except as an unproven yet tantalizing possibility. Despite interaction with
a number of influential scholars, many of whom viewed his sites and artifacts in the field,
his findings have yet to be satisfactorily evaluated. Major archaeologists such as Emil
Haury, C. Vance Haynes, Michael Waters, Dennis Stanford, Arthur Jelinek, Francois
Bordes, to name a few. all viewed his evidence (Hayden Pinacate Survey [HPS]
Fieldnotes). Yet. of the authors that still reference Hayden's work, the question of the
antiquity still remains just that—a question (Reid and Whittlesey 1997; Stanford 1999).
Only further work can reveal the truth-value of Hayden's claims.
Lightfoot (1995:200) observes that the distinction between historical and
prehistoric archaeology is an artificial one that "detracts greatly from the study of longterm cultural change." The separation between the two has resulted in a disjointed view
of American culture history, relegating the prehistory and protohistory of Native
American populations to prehistorians and Euroamerican settlements to historical
archaeologists. The division between the two sub-disciplines is part of a broader trend of
specialization that Lightfoot (1995) sees as increasingly provincial. While the critical
attention paid to documents by historical archaeologists enhances understanding of
historical archaeology (Deagan 1991), it must not be overlooked that the methods of
historical research common to historical archaeology can meaningfully contribute to
prehistoric archaeology and the history of archaeological perspectives as well.
Other than professional publications, documents such as field notes, oral history,
journals, and correspondence can elucidate the maimer in which a survey was conducted,
what information was recorded, and in Hayden's case, how concepts crucial to the
interpretation of the archaeological record were developed. As Izenberg (1993) notes, the
biographical and psychological aspects of such documents are essential to developing
properly contextualized intellectual histories.
Along with material remains, historical archaeologists use a variety of sources of
information to tease out relationships not apparent in written history. Prehistoric
archaeologists can also make use of similar forms of evidence, to reveal the history of a
concept or the circumstances under which a concept was developed. Without these forms
of evidence, archaeologists are prisoners to academic publications, to syntheses that
ignore or obscure crucial conditions that led to a discovery.
The Hayden Pinacate Survey: Fieldnotes, Correspondence and Comments
The HPS notes document a series of 151 trips to the Sierra Pinacate. Conducted
over almost three decades (1958—1987), Hayden's was no blitzkrieg survey. Instead,
Hayden's Pinacate work was a labor of love that consumed the latter portion of his life.
Generally ranging between one and four days, the HPS trips were taken when a few days
could be wrested from his excavation service.
Hayden's field notes, organized by trips, are typed transcriptions of handwritten
notes along with Hayden's further considerations and ruminations. The dates of each trip
and the names of other participants, if any, are listed. Interspersed between the trip notes
are general comments, relevant correspondence, and drafts of publications. Within the
notes is even a joke, written in Spanish and set in the Pinacates, which Hayden delivered
to his mirthful compadres in Mexico.
The notes for each trip begin with general conunentary describing such things as
when he left, who he met along the way or what the weather was like. Occasionally, the
reader is graced with tales of encounters with wildlife, or candid descriptions of fellow
travelers. Rarely does Hayden miss describing his meals—a steak cooked over hot coals,
or home-cooked Mexican fare relished with friends. The purchase or consumption of
Hayden's treasured mescal is likewise never missed. The general section of the notes
however is not entirely bounded and is often interwoven with archaeological
The second section of each trip deals almost entirely with field observations and
later considerations of evidence encountered in the field. When an especially vexing or
telling field observation was made, Hayden would brainstorm the problem, seeking to
find the scenario that best e.xplained his observation. These were generally constructed as
hypothetical arguments, wherein he would postulate several possibilities and try to decide
which seemed most reasonable.
Late in his life, the HPS field notes were organized by Hayden's caregiver, a
detail-oriented and perceptive woman who Hayden held in high regard (Steven Hayden,
personal communication 2001). Hayden passed away before she could complete the final
arrangement and numbering of the HPS field notes. However, the field notes for each
trip are organized chronologically and have been made available for a preliminary
Hayden's Pinacate field notes have at least one enduring quality. They chart the
lengthy course of Hayden's thoughts on Pinacate and consequently. Southwestern and
North American prehistory. The fieldnotes document the painstaking manner in which
Hayden evaluated possible archaeological interpretations, the sites he visited and re­
visited, the many individuals he corresponded and collaborated with, and his enduring
tendency to revise or reevaluate his opinions. However, though Hayden produced a
regional map of site locations, trails, tinajas, and craters, he did not produce detailed plan
views of individual sites, nor stratigraphic profiles of the numerous test trenches he dug.
Thus, despite Hayden's (1965) belief that Pinacate sites were "fragile pattern areas" that
required detailed documentation to be collected, his notes cannot be used to reconstruct
the numerous sites he observed and collected.
It was Hayden's mentor Rogers who first observed and described the types of
cultural features Hayden documented in the Sierra Pinacate. Ground figures (intaglios),
sleeping circles, trails, cairns, certain stone tool types, and desert varnish were features
made familiar to Hayden through Rogers's tutelage. Whenever Hayden (see eg Hayden
1958, 1961) refers to Rogers in print, he displays an obvious reverence for the man, with
a sentiment that could easily be equated with the regard later held for Hayden by his own
students and friends.
Yet, over time, Hayden developed notions of Pinacate and Southwestern
prehistory that greatly expanded the potential time depth of North .\merican prehistory.
Rogers's (1939, 1966) formulations, in contrast, were considerably more conservative in
their age estimations, placing San Dieguito and hence Malpais in the realm of no more
than a few thousand years old. Hayden speculates that Rogers's conservative approach to
time was a reaction to investigators such as Carter, who readily assumed that the
Americas were populated by at least 100.000 B.P. (Carter 1980; Hayden 1998b).
The Genesis of Malpais as an Archaeological Concept
The Spanish loanword "malpais". meaning "bad country," is sometimes used to
refer to dessicated environments of the American West and is typically defined as
"rugged or difficult country of volcanic origin" (Simpson and Weiner 1989). A quote
that captures both the sense of the word and the desert landscapes Hayden documented
was left by Lt. Nathaniel Michier who lamented, "Well do I recollect the ride from
Sonoyta to Ft. Yuma and back in the middle of August 1855. It was the most dreary and
tiresome I have ever experienced. Imagination cannot picture a more dreary country, and
we named it the Mai Pais" (Arizona Republic, August 9, 1987). In historic times, these
same lands are known to have claimed hundreds of lives through the effects of heat,
exhaustion, thirst, and bad luck. Only intrepid desert rats like Rogers, Ives (1942, 1964,
1966, 1989), and Hayden (who themselves followed in the footsteps of Kino or
Homaday) have been able to endure their extremes, while still savoring their harsh
Referring to these same desert landscapes in which they were first found, the
archaeological use of the term "Malpais" originated with the work of Malcolm Rogers
(1939). Rogers developed the concept of a Malpais Industry to refer to the earliest
components of an archaeological sequence he developed for the deserts of southern
California. In Rogers's initial formulations of California prehistory the Malpais were
antecedents of his San Dieguito people. Eventually, Rogers dropped the term,
incorporating Malpais into his San Dieguito I (SDl) phase. Hayden (1976a) regretted
Rogers's combination of Malpais and San Dieguito, eventually regarding it as a
conflation of time and technology contradicted by Pinacate evidence.
Still, many of the techniques Hayden used to interpret the chronological sequence
of Pinacate archaeological assemblages were borrowed or adapted from Rogers, who was
in many ways the former's mentor. In his published writings, field notes and oral history,
Hayden frequently pays homage to Rogers, never failing to recognize the debt he owed to
a man whom he called "the pioneer of desert archaeology." Early on in Hayden's
Pinacate field notes, Hayden is acutely aware of Rogers's influence. For instance, during
his sixth trip to the Pinacates, Hayden uses Rogers's technique for interpreting the
relative age of trails remarking, "small arroyo at right angles to stream cut across trail and
later trail heads up arroyo. Of Rogers" (HPS 10/21-24/61).
Malcolm Rogers: Pioneer of Desert Archaeology
In 1920, as chief curator of San Diego County Museum, Malcolm Rogers
discovered along the San Dieguito River what he called the Harris site. Roodwaters later
exposed the site's deeply buried archaeological deposits, but lack of funding prevented
Rogers from conducting any excavations until 1936 (Carrico 1987). Rogers's (1939)
findings were published in the San Diego Museum paper Early Lithic Industries of the
Lower Basin of the Colorado River and Adjacent Desert Regions.
With the outbreak of the second World War, the San Diego County Museum was
commandeered by the military, while gas and rubber shortages diminished Rogers's
archaeological forays into the desert (Carrico 1987). .W the close of the war, Rogers
(1945) published ".\n Outline of Yuman Prehistory." renaming his "Scraper-Maker
People" as the "San Dieguito" and his "Shell-Midden people" became "La Jolla."
Rogers's most recent archaeological manifestations were given the ethnographically
known name "Yuman." later renamed Patayan (see Waters 1982). Ever conservative in
his interpretations, Rogers placed all of these afformentioned cultures within the last
2.000-4,000 years at a time when George Carter (1980) demanded a much greater
antiquity for other sites in the same area.
Years later. Hayden brought Rogers to Ventana Cave to view San Dieguito
artifacts recovered from the excavations. Hayden (1998b) also encouraged Rogers to
conduct a survey of the area, resulting in a publication in The Kiva (Rogers 1958).
Shortly thereafter, Rogers unexpectedly died in a tragic auto accident, abruptly ending
what had been a terse, yet productive career (Carrico 1987; Hayden 1961). Rogers's
work provided the foundation for not only the archaeology of southern California, but
also for Hayden's research in Mexico.
In Rogers's (1939:1) view, the sites he encountered in the deserts of southern
California had been subjected to an "intense period of degradation." resulting in the
placement of chronologically distinct artifact assemblages and archaeological features on
a single pavement surface. To meet the challenge of forming a cultural sequence from
these artifacts, Rogers developed what he called "horizontal stratigraphy." Performed in
the absence of stratigraphically superposed assemblages. Rogers's method involved the
discovery of "types sites" over a broad area, which could then be used as a basis for
organizing a temporal sequence. As Rogers himself realized, this method is inherently
ambiguous and difficult, a situation that helps to explain Rogers's repeated and confusing
reorganization and renaming of the components of his archaeological sequence.
At one time, the Malpais Industry formed the basal component of Rogers's (1939)
sequence. Sparing and crude to Rogers's eyes, the Malpais industry was confined to the
rocky terraces and mesa lands of the deserts he surveyed, .\rguing for the relative
antiquity of the Malpais, Rogers used reasoning that is later echoed in Hayden's work.
He found that cobbles from Malpais "house sites" were coated with desert varnish on
their upper surface and encrusted with "lime" on their lower surface. Moreover. Malpais
clearings were often repaved with cobbles bearing the same degree of varnish as the
surrounding pavement.
To Rogers, Malpais house sites were readily distinguishable from later Yuman
ones by the absence of Yuman Pottery, the presence of gravel rims, and the antiquated
appearance of the disturbed Malpais pavement. A curious observation made by Rogers
(1939:8) is that the "majority of Malpais clearings [bear] the complete absence of
artifacts in or about them." Instead, Malpais artifacts were found primarily in association
with other features, such as cairns and gravel pictographs of both his relief structures and
intaglio types. To Rogers (1939:8), the absence of artifacts was explained by
characterizing the house sites as "temporary bedding platforms for a roving people."
Altogether, Rogers (1939) was apologetic of his Malpais configuration, partly
because it was based on tenuous evidence and partly because he could not demonstrate a
sought-after historical continuity between Malpais and later Yuman assemblages.
Nonetheless, Rogers (1939:21) placed Malpais as an initial occupation of the deserts he
studied based on a number of factors: "patination, oxidation, typology, non-association
with known later cultural materials and location implying a climatic condition not known
to have existed during Yuman occupancy." Reasoning that changing climate resulted in
the exclusive location of Malpais sites along upper gravel terraces, Rogers ftirther argued
that the location of Malpais sites implied physiographic relationships to prehistoric
drainage systems no longer in existence.
Julian Hayden: Pioneering Research in the Sierra Pinacate
Early on in his Pinacate field notes, Hayden sparingly uses the term "malpais" in
the conventional sense when referring to an especially forbidding zone of the Pinacate
volcanic field. During his sixth trip to the Pinacates, for instance, Hayden refers to
"malpais pea gravel" (HPS 10/21-24/61) when considering the effects of foot-traffic and
vehicular travel over desert pavement. At this early date, October 1961, he observes that
"dust immediately rises and continues to be removed by constant winds until pavement
reforms, a short time—days or weeks? Months at most" (HPS 10/21-24/61). Again,
during his thirtieth trip three years later he refers, somewhat redundantly, to having
"walked west across bad malpais" (HPS 11/25-28/65). As Hayden (HPS 1982) warns in
an ".\viso" written to future examiners of his notes, Malpais, as an archaeological phase
or culture in the Pinacate, is not present in the early notes, beginning to reveal itself to
Hayden only after 10 years of investigations.
Thus. Hayden was not quick to assume a difference between Malpais and San
Dieguito. nor did he immediately attribute a pronounced antiquity to Malpais that rivaled
Clovis. The first time he seems to have arrived at the idea that some archaeological
assemblages in the Sierra Pinacate may be substantially old is during Trip 32, after eight
years of work in the Sierra Pinacate. His sense of wonder is almost palpable when he
writes: "this pavement is strewn with SDI flakes and tools, mostly of grey basalt w/ large
crystals, which oxidizes dark brown, ground patina light brown. ALL flakes are IN
pavement, and rest on yellow silts. No difference in surface finish between SD flakes
and that of windrow pebbles and cobbles" (HPS 1/21-23/66). However, noting the
subjectivity of this observation, his excitement is tempered by his disappointment that the
"degree of oxidation is ocular only" (HPS 1/21-23/66).
Another m o years transpire before Hayden begins to postulate tool types earlier
than San Dieguito. In March of 1968, Hayden notices "One tool found at Caballo - rustcolored basalt, with old scars equally oxidized, and SD flake scars lighter, rust spotted as
others. Old scars may be natural, but from heavy blows. Wonder if here we have a preSD tool? Have one or two others on general collections, but couldn't believe this
possibility. Must recheck them."
Not until 1972. after 14 years of survey work, did the term Malpais come into
common usage in Hayden's fieldnotes. By this time, he had developed the notion that
desert varnish is a formation that could only occur during an intensely hot and dry period,
such as an altithermal. Hayden now distinguished between Malpais and San Dieguito
phases on the basis of three factors: their relationship to pavements of varying apparent
ages, their apparently distinct reduction strategies, and most importantly, the degree of
desert varnish formation. While .\margosan artifacts displayed no apparent varnish
formation. San Dieguito artifacts were coated with a light varnish, signifying an age
greater than .\ntevs's (1955) altithermal period (7500-4000 B.P.).
In contrast, Malpais artifacts were coated with a heavy, liquid varnish suggesting
the idea that they predated an even earlier altithermal. In the following years, Hayden
searched for evidence of a Malpais altithermal, checking and rechecking his field
observations, combing the literature and corresponding with an array of geologists,
archaeologists, and paleoclimatologists. Ultimately, he found an altithermal severe
enough to corroborate his idea that Malpais varnish was a phenomenon old enough to
significantly predate San Dieguito occupations (HPS 3/20/75).
In 1976, Hayden (1976a) published his landmark article "Pre-Altithermal
Archaeology in the Sierra Pinacate. Sonora, Mexico." where he laid out his tenets for
interpreting climate change and archaeological sequences in the Sierra Pinacate. Having
previously published short reports dealing mainly with later Pinacate occupations,
Hayden (see,e.g. 1967, 1969, 1970, 1972) now synthesizes almost two decades of
Pinacate research, organizing the culture history of the Sierra Pinacate into several
complexes: Malpais; San Dieguito I; and Amargosa (AM) I, II, and III.
The Sierra Pinacate's earliest cultural manifestation, now confidently referred to
as the Malpais. is associated primarily with a pluvial period until the onset of the Malpais
Altithermal period around 20.000 B.P. Human occupation of the Sierra Pinacate was
then interrupted by this exceptionally dry period until pluvial conditions returned some
2,000 years later. At some point during this pluvial period, Malpais cultural
manifestations were replaced by San Dieguito. Unlike other areas smdied by both
Hayden and Rogers, only San Dieguito I was thought to occur in the Pinacates, persisting
until the next altithermal around 9000 B.P.
Fairly widespread, the Malpais and San Dieguito complexes were not confined to the
Sierra Pinacate, but were also present in the desert regions of Arizona and California. Both
Rogers and Hayden claim that the volcanic debris layer of Ventana Cave contained "smaller
finishing tools of ftilly developed SD I times" (Hayden 1976a; also Hayden and Haury 1975).
Hayden also noted the presence of Malpais sleeping circles in the immediate vicinity of
Ventana Cave.
Along with desert varnish, he describes his use of several other temporal markers
in analyzing what he called "fragile-pattern areas," some of which draw on Rogers's
observations: the relationship of artifacts to desert pavements, caliche deposits,
association of Malpais sites with ancient landforms, and trail abandonments. By and large
his temporal markers are made meaningful by their correlation with climatic change.
.Another article, written in the same year, forms a companion guide to Hayden's
treatise (Hayden 1976b). Written in a personal style, the paper outlines a series of
observations that led to the relative dating of the Malpais (observations also apparent in
his notes). Characteristically, Hayden combines several temporal signals to achieve a
synthesis in situating the Malpais in time with respect to climate. These dates, from
several locales, are what Hayden used to anchor his Pinacate sequence and formed the
basis for his claim that Malpais and San Dieguito represented pre-Clovis adaptations in
the Americas.
The 1976 Data for Dating Climate Change and Archaeological Sequences
The presence of San Dieguito artifacts at Ventana Cave prior to the altithermal
period between 9,000 and 5,000 years B.P. meant to Hayden that lightly varnished San
Dieguito tools in the Pinacate must also predate this altithermal. Radiocarbon dates of
11,000 to 12.000 years B.P. obtained on extinct fauna from the San Dieguito level at
Ventana Cave fiirther confirmed this suspicion. For the dating of the previous
altithermal, Hayden's Malpais altithermal, dates from extinct lake shorelines were used to
postulate the occurrence of pluvial, or wetter, times.
Since dates obtained on terrestrial carbonate from these shorelines suggested wet
times at both 21.000 and 17.000 B.P., Hayden speculated that the Malpais altithermal he
sought rested somewhere in between these dates. Hayden (HPS 3/20/75) was very happy
to leam of an altithermal predating the known one from Dr. Karlstrom of FlagstafTs
Astro Lab. Karlstrom informed Hayden that soil cores from Walker Lake and San
.•\ugustine indicated the occurrence of a short, but severe alithermal period dated to
19,000 years B.P.. These dates provided a basis for establishing a Malpais and San
Dieguito age range, as well as reassured him that his observations regarding climate,
desert pavements, and desert varnish were essentially correct.
Despite the accumulation of what he saw as convincing evidence of pre-Clovis
occupation in the .\mericas, and his declaration that his Pinacate fieldwork was complete
(HPS 5/30-6/1/75), Hayden spent the next decade revisiting sites and showing his
evidence to numerous scholars and friends. Never finished, he continued to reconsider
and build upon the evidence for the remainder of his life (Hayden 1998b).
Hayden's (1994) work eventually resulted in the recognition of a pattern of
Malpais and San Dieguito archaeological sites throughout the deserts of the greater
Southwest, an area circumscribed by northern Mexico, Southern California, Utah, and
western Texas. Hayden's relationship with Tony Andretta in the 1980s and 1990s led
Hayden to postulate a second phase for Malpais in the trans-Pecos area of Texas as well
as consider the possibility that ground stone technology was another Malpais trait.
Andretta's investigations apparently produced stratified sites as well, but Andretta's
survivors wreaked havoc on his personal collections and notes after his death. The
validity and basis for these later determinations are unknown and probably should not be
speculated on further.
To Julian Hayden, archaeological problems were puzzles. The pieces of the
puzzle needed to be found and put together, sometimes in complicated ways. For much
of his career as an archaeologist, the pieces of these puzzles were temporal markers. For
instance, in his thirties Hayden (1945) published a paper on salt erosion in American
Antiquity, deducing and demonstrating a relationship between accumulation of salts and
distinct patterns of erosion in adobe walls. Not only did Hayden produce a fascinating
explanation for when and how adobe walls could erode and collapse, he also suggested
that the effects of salt erosion could be used to temporally distinguish occupation areas in
Puebloan sites.
In the same volume that Antevs (1955) explained the use of geochronological
dating methods, Haury (1955) explained the use of stratigraphy to tell time. One might
say that Hayden spent his lifetime trying to find other ways to tell time, often by
combining observations from several types of temporal markers. Primarily, Hayden
attempted to link geological, climatic, geographical, and archaeological processes in such
a way that they could be used to establish relative temporal sequences of sites and
Many of the temporal markers he employed were necessary because of the
absence of adequate material or conditions for absolute or numerical dating. However,
Hayden also made liberal use of radiocarbon dating whenever possible, sometimes
obtaining dates on caliche or shell. The types of temporal markers used to initially
construct his cultural sequence in the Pinacates were numerous, but primarily geologic-
climatic in nature. These included calichification, the relationship of sites to ancient
landforms, trail abandonment and site intersection, stratigraphy, desert-pavement
formation, and rock varnish. Hayden never abandoned the use of any of these methods,
but the dating of desert varnish eventually became key to his Pinacate research.
Geologic-Climatic Dating Methods
Hayden's method of telling time in the Pinacate was based on situating temporal
markers within climatic events or periods. His approach has a basis in the work of Ernst
.\ntevs's (1955) geologic-climatic dating method. During the first half of the twentieth
century. Quaternary geologists had developed a climatic history of the West using several
forms of evidence. These included "fluctuation of water bodies from large and deep
lakes to complete desiccation and rebirth: shrinking, disappearance, and rebirth of
glaciers; altitudinal changes of snow lines and life zones; cycles of erosion, deposition,
and soil formation in stream valleys; wind erosion and stabilization of dunes; vegetational
changes, calichification, and soil formation" (Antevs 1955:154).
.Antevs (1955, 1962) divided the geologic-climatic history of the last 20,000 years
into two major periods, which he called the Deglacial and the Neothermal. hi Antevs's
view, the Deglacial, characterized by pluvial conditions, lasted until just before 10,000
years ago. Antevs characterized the following Neothermal period as composed of three
periods: the Anathermal (10,200-7500 B.P.), Altithermal (7000-4000 B.P.) and the
Medithermal (4000 B.P.-present). These periods were differentiated from one another
based on the relative moisture and temperature regimes thought to characterize them.
Antevs's altithermal period, essential to Hayden's reasoning, was dominated by
especially hot and dry conditions, during which many lakes dried up and deserts
Known by a variety of names throughout the world, such as gibber plains, stony
mantles, hammada, and reg (Cooke et ai. 1993), desert pavements are a common feature
of the world's deserts. Composed of rounded or angular rock fragments one or two units
thick overlying stone-free layers of finer particles, desert pavements are thought to
protect underlying soils from erosion. They also record remnants of aboveground
activities, permitting disturbances (such as the creation of a trail or intaglio) to be visible
for thousands of years. Knowledge of how desert pavement forms is essential to
interpreting the site formation processes operating on Malpais and San Dieguito sites.
The model of desert-pavement formation under which Hayden operated was
explicitly deflationary. In keeping with Reid and Whittlesey's (1998) characterization of
Hayden as an American pragmatist. Hayden seems to have consistently maintained that
this model is inherently reasonable. Nonetheless, Hayden considered the application of
several other competing models of pavement formation. A survey of recent literature on
the subject suggests that although new ideas regarding the formation of desert pavement
have been presented, no agreement regarding the formation of desert pavements has been
Dixon (1994) lists five different models for the formation of desert pavements:
deflation, wash, upward migration of stones, cumulic pedogenesis, and subsurface
weathering. To this list of models may be added at least one more—raindrop erosion
(Wainwright et al. 1995, 1999). Authors disagree which model is most commonly used.
but the deflation and upward migration of stones models are the two that have received
the most attention.
The Deflation Model
In the deflation model, pavement is formed by the eolian removal of finer
particles. Originally dispersed throughout the sediment, stones remaining after the
removal of finer particles become concentrated at the surface, forming an interlocking
stone pavement. Critics of the deflation model dispute the ability of wind to remove fine
particles fi-om desert pavements, questioning why many desert pavements overlie
epipedons of fine silt.
Instead of remaining after the removal of silt, critics suggest that stones resting in
pavements actually shelter finer particles ft-om erosion (Williams and Zimbelman 1994).
The presence of fine particles beneath the pavement (that should have been removed by
wind) is seen as evidence contradicting the role of deflationary processes. However, it
must be noted that these observations are made on pavements that have already
undergone the processes resulting in their initial formation. Desert pavements may act as
silt traps once they have formed, but this tendency should not be taken to mean that
developing pavements act as silt traps.
Though fine particles may remain underneath pavements, their presence may
perhaps be e.xplained in one of two ways. Either the fully formed pavement prevents
fiuther depletion of finer-grained materials, or the fully formed pavement allows the
trapping of some finer-grained sediment. In other words, the processes that result in the
formation of desert pavement may differ from those that alter or effect desert pavement
after it has been formed.
The Surface Wash Model
A second model for the formation of desert pavement invoices the role of surface
wash in removing fines and concentrating coarser particles. Coarse particles form an
incipient pavement that is later subjected to mechanical weathering and eolian additions,
allowing the development of soil underneath pavement. For this reason, Williams and
Zimbleman (1994) argue incipient pavement formation is sometimes an alluvial and
colluvial process, rather than an eolian one. The role of surface wash, however, is not
considered a universal process in the formation of desert pavements, being applicable
only in certain cases (Dixon 1994: Williams and Zimbelman 1994).
The Upward Migration of Stones Model
Though considered by Hayden to be somewhat counterintuitive, the upward
migration of stones model enjoys widespread attention. Similar to the process of
argilliturbation and frost heaving (Schiflfer 1987), this model envisions stones moving
upward through the fines as a result of alternate drying and wetting episodes. As the
sediment moistens, it expands, forcing larger particles upwards. Once the sediment dries,
the space previously occupied by coarse material is replaced by finer material, preventing
the return of a stone to its original position. As this process is repeated, coarse material is
eventually forced to the surface, forming a stony mande.
Cooke and Warren (1973) have suggested that the upward migration of stones
may occur not only through altemate wetting and drying cycles, but through freeze-thaw
processes as well. To some investigators, this model does well in explaining the presence
of fines often seen to underlie desert pavements. However, for this model to hold, stones
migrating to the surface should commonly be observed within the vesicular horizons
underlying developing pavements. Furthermore, Williams and Zimbelman (1994) note
that the upward migration of stones requires sufficient silts and clays, adequate freezing
temperatures, and/or appreciable rainfall to occur. In areas such as the Mojave Desert, a
number of these essential conditions may not be present.
Cumulic Pedogenesis
Cumulic pedogenesis refers to models of pavement formation that invoke the
trapping or accumulation of fine materials under pavements. Mabbut (1977) explains the
formation of some desert pavements as resulting ft-om the trapping of eolian material by
course material, resulting in gradual upward displacement of the pavement. Other
investigators have suggested that desert pavements of the Cima Volcanic Field in
California result from the accumulation of fine silts and clays underneath pavements. In
their view, mechanically weathered local basalt is transported downslope over the ground
surface, mingling with desert pavements. The finer materials then migrate downward
through the profile, aggregating beneath the pavement (McFadden et al. 1987).
The Differential Weathering Model
\ fifth explanation for the development of desert pavements favors the role of
differential weathering in the formation of desert pavements. Mabbutt (1977) argues that
in extremely dessicated environments, subsurface moisture conditions enable the
weathering of subsurface particles, while the overlying pavement remains essentially dry.
In this model, generally arid conditions prevent water from remaining on stones, so that
weathering can only occur beneath the ground surface and not on the pavement itself.
In truth, all of these models may have some explanatory power. Desert
pavements occur in a wide variety of arid and semiarid settings throughout the world.
There may be a number of distinct processes acting independently to form desert
pavements. Different formation processes may act in conjunction with one another or
operate under specific sets of conditions (see.e.g., Bouza and del Valle 1997). However,
several of these models explain a portion of the process, beginning with existing
pavement to explain its further development or destruction. If the mechanisms invoked
in these models effect desert pavement, they may sometimes effect the further
development, rather than the formation, of desert pavement (Dixon 1994).
Formation Processes and the Archaeological Record
One temporal marker Hayden used to develop a chronology of the archaeological
complexes of the Sierra Pinacate involved the relationship of artifacts to the surrounding
pavement. Hayden (1976b. 1994) believed that artifacts resting on the pavement surface
were generally younger than the underlying pavement. In contrast, artifacts incorporated
within a pavement were necessarily the same age as the pavement. Artifacts projecting
through a pavement were older than the surrounding pavement. For Hayden, these
relationships held because eolian deflation of finer particles resulted in the concentration
of artifacts that once were dispersed vertically throughout a previously unsorted
sediment. Thus, the entirety of artifacts within the now-eroded sediment became
concentrated as a layer of pavement.
Hayden considered models other than deflation for the formation of desert
pavement, coming to believe that models emphasizing the upward displacement of
pavement did not upset the time relationships he posited for artifacts and pavements.
This is because the pavement is thought to simply move upward with the addition of
fines, whether through mechanical weathering or eolian entrapment. Huckell (1998)
suggests, however, that as pavement is displaced upward, artifacts formerly resting on top
of the pavement may become incorporated into the pavement.
If one accepts the upward migration of stones as solely responsible for the
formation of desert pavements, then Hayden's system of interpreting relative
chronological relationships between artifacts and pavements is less secure. If artifacts
within, projecting through, or on pavements arrived at their present position through
upward migration, then their relative ages caimot be detected from their relative
positions. Furthermore, as Huckell (1998) notes, the formation of vamish on artifacts
would vary according to when an artifact surfaced rather than the age of the artifact.
Thus, in the absence of other temporal markers, artifacts associated with a specific
pavement could only be dealt with as if they were of the same age. Artifacts could be
assigned relative ages based on the age of their underlying deposits, and only pavements
of differing ages could be organized chronologically. In essence, artifacts in, under, and
perhaps even on the same pavement could originate from the same upwelling source.
Pavement Disturbance and Re-formation
Heretofore, most investigators have believed desert pavement to be a stable, yet
fragile surface that is highly susceptible to even the most minor disturbances. As
Vanderpot and Altschul (1999:153) observe for desert pavements in the Yuma Proving
Ground: "in the absence of biological or geological events, the pavement will remain
largely unchanged for millenia. Yet even slight changes, such as the growth of a creosote
bush, the seasonal migration of bighorn sheep, or a solitary hunter clearing a place to
sleep will disturb the pavement, resulting with the displacement of rock left visible for
the ages." In effect, disturbances to pavement leave an imprint regarded as essentially
Some recent investigations have suggested to the contrary that pavement may
reform quickly after disturbance, and that some classically well-developed pavements
may be no greater in age than the early Holocene. Like some other models. Wainwright
et al.'s (1999) model of desert-pavement formation does not seek to explain the entire
process of pavement formation. Instead, it addresses the re-formation of desert pavement
through field simulations of the effect of rainfall on disturbed desert pavement.
For Wainwright et al. (1995), promising computer simulations prompted field
simulations involving the excavation of three 5-x-5-m plots of desert pavement to a depth
of 10 cm. The soil was thoroughly mixed and retiimed to the plot where it was subjected
to successive rainfall simulations. The investigators found that the pavement can recover
its particle-size distribution at the surface extremely rapidly, with "significant
accumulations of coarse particles formed within five 5 minute events following the
disturbance" (Wainwright et al. 1999:1034). The pavement does not return to its original
state however, becoming dominated by an even coarser fiaction than its previous state.
Nonetheless, "at Walnut Gulch, pavements can generally be expected to recover on an
annual cycle after disturbance" (Wainwright et al. 1999:1034). In essence, they
demonstrate that pavement churned (rather than cleared) by bioturbation may, in some
circumstances, recover rapidly and essentially appear undisturbed. If raindrop erosion
significantly influences the recovery of desert pavement where Malpais is found, then the
ability to discern broad temporal relationships based on an artifact's relationship to
pavement is uncertain.
.•\s Quade's (2001) investigation reveals for pavements in the Mojave Desert,
varnished desert pavements above 400 m in elevation must have formed during the
Holocene. Random distribution of vegetation show ftirther, that at one site investigated,
vegetation may chum the entire pavement on a cycle of only 600 years. At Walnut
Gulch, regular rainfall regimes are enough to allow pavement to recover on a yearly
basis. If a similar situation can be applied to environmental settings where Malpais
artifacts are found, then, over centuries, it is possible that a currently well-developed
pavement may have been disturbed numerous times.
Dom and Dickinson (1989:1029) observed that the occurrence of paleovamish. or
buried varnish, is rare because "[p]reservation requires a low-energy depositional process
for the material burying the varnish and nonacidic conditions after deposition." Given
the likelihood that varnish will erode during depositional processes, it is possible that
disturbance and burial of desert pavements will result in partial erosion or alteration of
desert varnish. Therefore, it is possible that erosive episodes apparent in
microstratigraphy in desert varnish may. in some cases, relate to the burial and
subsequent resurfacing of stones. Layers of desert vamish may signal episodic
disturbances as much as they do climatic episodes (Dom 1994a).
In the HPS fieldnotes, Hayden frequently observes instances where artifacts and
pavement constituents are found within pavement but with ground patina facing upward.
Pondering how this reversal of position could occur, he often considers that perhaps
animals or humans turned them over. However, it could also be the case that this
situation may relate to the disturbance and rapid recovery of the pavement, where
subsurface conditions were insufficient to permit vamish erosion or alteration and not
enough time has passed for vamish to reform over ground patina. Though Hayden and
others (see Cooke et al. 1993) have suggested that development of pavement may hinder
the likelihood of revegetation. making pavements essentially permanent, evidence for
disturbance and recent periods of relatively lu.\uriant vegetation appear in Hayden's
For instance, recounting the enormously fortuitous series of lucky coincidences
that led to his development of the Malpais concept. Hayden recalls that in the beginning
of his survey work, Pinacate was far more vegetated than it was in the following decades.
Without fiirther dessication. many of the sites and features Hayden documented would
not have been visible. Though much of this vegetation may have been in the form of
grasses and annuals, greater soil moisture would probably have supported more
burrowing animals as well. Hayden also recounts frequent and extensive disturbance
occurring in what he calls vegetative islands, though he suggested that like pavements,
these areas are actually preserved through the action of caliche and rodent disturbance.
The Case ofWadiAl-Bih
A recent study of desert pavements in United Arab Emirates and Oman (Al-Farraj
and Harvey 2000) evaluated the relationship of factors such as soil development and
pavement formation to a relative sequence of paved terraces along Wadi Al-Bih. The
relative ages of tliree terraces allowed them to link criteria for classifying desert
pavements and their underlying soils to the relative ages of pavements. They found that
while some factors may be reliable indicators of pavement age, rock varnish and
weathering are not among them. Specifically, they found that the degree of clast
fracturing, soil development, soil depth, sorting and packing of the pavement surface, and
degree of CaCO^ development all correlate positively with the relative ages of desert
pavements. The youngest pavements are weakly developed, characterized by "little
fracturing, sub-rounded clasts, some modification of the depositional fabric, incipient soil
development, [and] stage 1 CaCOi" (Al-Farraj and Harvey 2000:279). The oldest
pavements, in contrast, demonstrate the opposing end of the spectrum for each factor,
being characterized by "complete clast fracturing into small angular fragments, mature
sorting and packing of the pavement surface, deep soil development with strong
horizonation, [and] stage III CaCO}" (Al-Farraj and Harvey 2000:279). The authors did
not acquire absolute dates for these pavements, but suggest, through comparison with
other areas, that pedogenic carbonate overlain by well-developed pavements may require
tens of thousands of years to form, even in areas with carbonate-rich lithoiogies. In truth,
this observ ation accords well with Hayden's assumptions regarding caliche formation in
the Pinacate region.
Rock Vamish
Numerous techniques have been developed to date exposed, surface contexts. These
techniques include the analysis of weathering rinds (Knuepfer 1994; McCarroll 1994),
rock surface hardness (Betts and Latta 2000), obsidian hydration (Beck and Jones 1994),
thermoluminescence (Durmell and Feathers 1994), cosmogenic dating (Kurz and Brook
1994; Zreda and Phillips 1994), lichenometry (Matthews 1994), rock vamish, and
dendrochronology (Heikkinen 1994). For desert pavements, rock-vamish dating methods
have proven to be the most commonly used.
Rock vamish is chemically composed of clay minerals, manganese oxides, and
iron oxides, along with more than 30 minor and trace elements (Dom and Dickinson.
1989:1029). Though most common in arid and semiarid environments. Dom and
Dickinson. (1989:1029) observe that rock vamish is "found on rocks in virtually every
terrestrial envirorunent, from deserts to the high alpine, to point bars in humid-continental
climates, even to soil peds."
Though rock vamish is one of several interrelated features of desert landscapes,
the study of rock vamish eventually became the primary point of contention for age
determinations of Malpais and San Dieguito artifacts. Whether different degrees and
thickness of rock vamish indicate relative age has important ramifications for the
interpretation of Malpais and San Dieguito as chronologically distinct cultures. The
interdisciplinary study of rock vamish. stimulated primarily by Hayden's (1998b, HPS)
initial obser\'ations, has clarified the chemical and micromorphological characteristics of
desert vamish, but has yet to determine the exact nature of its formation.
At least 13 different methods for dating rock varnish have been employed. These
techniques have included relative, correlative, calibrated, and numerical levels of
precision (Dom 1994b). At one time, Dom's radiocarbon dating technique was the most
promising, but questions regarding the validity of the method have cast a dark, querulous
cloud over Dom's results (Beck et al. 1998). The method Hayden employed to initially
construct his Pinacate chronology is perhaps the most subjective, being based on visual
appearance only, though eventually he obtained absolute dates of 33,610 ± 520 B.P. and
21,650 ±110 B.P. on Malpais artifacts through Dom's method (Hayden 1994). Thus far,
no dating technique has produced unequivocal results. However, despite the controversy
regarding Dom's dating technique, investigators continue to develop new methods.
Recent efforts to develop cosmogenic dating methods for the dating of vamished
landforms are currently the most promising.
Recent studies of desert pavement have begun to suggest that rock vamish may
not be a reliable temporal marker. Bierman and Gillespie (1991) have suggested that in
semiarid areas, range fires may substantially contribute to rock weathering and the
removal of rock vamish. Furthermore, range fires may contribute to the loss of
cosmogenic isotopes used for dating e.xposed surfaces. However, the probability of range
fires occurring where Malpais is found may not be high.
Al-Farraj and Harvey's (2000) study of desert pavements indicates that, although
a number of factors can be used to suggest the relative age of desert pavements, rock
vamish does not appear to be one of them. Similarly, Liu and Broecker's (2000) study of
the rates of rock-vamish growth suggest that rock vamish accumulation is quite variable
between sites. Having established what they call "the first quantitative database on rates
of varnish formation on [radiometrically dated] landforms" (Liu and Broecker 2000:183),
these investigators have determined that rock varnish can accumulate at rates as variable
as 0.6 to 40.0 |im per thousand years.
Furthermore, though still the "slowest known accumulating terrestrial
sedimentary deposit" (Liu and Broecker 2000:185) the onset of vamish formation can
occur as quickly as in 25 years. Often assumed to be consistent on a regional scale, the
rates of vamish formation can significantly vary on regional and local scales and even
within a single thin section. In essence, Liu and Broecker see no correlation between
rock vamish formation and the age of the underlying geomorphic surface. Nonetheless,
Liu and Broecker (2000) suggest that it still may take as long as 10.000 years for a heavy
coat of vamish to form.
Hayden (1976b) describes the Malpais toolkit as geared toward a "chopperscraper industry," whereby toolmakers percussion flaked "conveniently shaped stones" to
make "knives, spokeshaves, hollow-sided scrapers, notched and beaked tools, and
choppers." Percussion flaked shell, now weathered by solution channeling, was also used
to make similar tools (Hayden 1976a; Rosenthal 1977). No projectile points have been
found in these assemblages, which to Hayden represent an industry geared toward
woodworking. Hayden also implicated features such as sleeping circles, trail shrines, and
intaglio figures as being indicative of Malpais activities.
Malpais artifacts have been called thermofacts and pedofacts, but have never been
satisfactorily dispensed with as an artifactual category. An early study on "Malpais"
tools (Hamer 1956) addresses the possibility that the alleged artifacts collected by Rogers
could have been thermally shocked into their present shapes by forest fires. Though
really a "weekend experiment," the author experimented with 17 "Malpais" tools,
subjecting them to 1.000 degrees F of heat. He found that artifacts shattered into smaller
specimens "resembling" the original artifacts. The glowing fragments were then dropped
into water to test the alternative hypothesis that Malpais artifacts resulted from stone
boiling. As no further breakage occurred, the stone-boiling hypothesis was discarded.
Further tests and analysis revealed that the heated stones resembled fire-cracked rock
more than they did Malpais artifacts. Thus, the author concluded that neither forest-fires
nor stone boiling could explain the morphology of Malpais artifacts.
Apparently, numerous archaeologists have seemed skeptical of Malpais artifacts,
although their reservations seldom appear in print. Li the Pinacate field notes, Hayden
recounts a discussion with an unnamed archaeologist who disputed the artifactual nature
of Malpais technology. A lithic specialist with experience in Libya, the archaeologist
claimed that Malpais artifacts were produced by large Pleistocene mammals trampling
desert pavement. Hayden seems to have chuckled after the thought of mammoths
promenading over Pinacate pavements, detaching flakes underfoot. To Hayden, the fact
that the artifacts are always found in concentrations near tinajas negated the random
trampling effects of hoofed or heavy mammals.
Other investigators like Norman Tindale, a pioneer Australian archaeologist,
immediately recognized Hayden's lithic specimens as artifacts. On a trip to the Pinacate
trip with Hayden and Ezell. Tindale drew analogies to Australia, causing Hayden to
speculate chronological correlations between Pinacate assemblages and the early finds
Tindale had documented in Australia. Much impressed with Tindale's breadth of
knowledge and survival skills, Hayden was reassured that his search for Pinacate's
earliest inhabitants was not in vain (HPS 11/23-26/67).
Only one serious attempt at performing a quantitative technological analysis of
Malpais and San Dieguito artifacts has been conducted. For her dissertation, Rosenthal
(1979) analyzed artifacts fi-om the Pinacate assemblages, but due to factors beyond her
control, failed to distinguish between Malpais and San Dieguito artifacts. Thus, her
results could not speak to the idea that the two industries represent distinct technologies
separated by time. In his interviews and correspondence, Hayden (1998b) complained of
this shortcoming. Linking the study with what he saw as the failures of the New
Archaeology, Hayden seems to have felt that quantification alone was insufficient to
reveal the nature of Vfalpais and San Dieguito stone tool usage (Hayden 1998b).
Sleeping Circles: Natural or Cultural?
As Rogers (1939) noted, many of the sleeping circles he documented were not
associated with artifacts. Hayden (1976a) also observed no correlation between Malpais
artifact concentrations and sleeping circles, further noting that sleeping circles are oflen
found on well-drained pavements. While some sleeping circles observed in Pinacate and
elsewhere are defined by a rim of large cobbles rather than a clearing of desert pavement,
the latter features may sometimes be natural in origin.
Vanderpot and .\ltschul (1999:25) suggest that the large rock rings may have
serv ed "to support some kind of ephemeral structure and scrapers found near these
features may have served as woodworking tools." Cleared areas, on the other hand, may
not always be cultural in origin. Sometimes defined as sleeping circles, Vanderpot and
.Altschul (1999:28) have defined two types of cleared areas: " (a) level or slightly
depressed clearing without a well-defined gravel rim or berm and (b) depressed clearing
with well defined gravel rim." Though Vanderpot and Altschul consider that cultural
uses of such features may conceivably be for rain catchment or campsite, work, or dance
areas, they suggest that these "enigmatic" features may be the result of natural processes.
For 35 cleared area sites documented by a Statistical Research Inc., survey
(Vanderpot and Altschul 1999), very few were associated with artifacts or features, with
only one being positively associated with a lithic workshop. Instead, they found cleared
areas to be more commonly associated with bioturbated mounds hosting creosote bushes.
Composed of gravels and fine sediments, and "perforated by numerous tunnels made by
burrowing animals" (Vanderpot and Altschul 1999:161), these mounds are inferred to
eventually become cleared areas surrounded by gravel berms
. Indeed, in a given locale, the number of bioturbated mounds positively
correlates with the number of cleared areas. Furthermore, many of these clusters of
mounds and cleared areas are associated "with lower, or younger, alluvial surfaces where
sufficient moisture is present to attract plants and animals" (Vanderpost and Altschul
1999:161). Though it cannot be ruled out that some cleared areas are cultural, their
cultural nature cannot be assumed in the absence of other cultural features or artifacts.
The Degree of Varnish Formation and the Relative .-Igt? of Artifacts
As previously noted, the degree of varnish formation on Malpais and San
Dieguito artifacts is one criteria used to suggest the relative age of the two complexes.
Harry (1992) has suggested that a number of factors may make such comparisons
unreliable as relative dating methods. For the dating of rock varnish to be reliable, as
Harry (1992:87) observes, the "development of rock vamish [must] not be affected by
factors other than time." However, the rate of vamish development is affected not only
by time but also by the characteristics of the "substrate material, the stability of the
artifacts, and the proximity to soil" (Harry 1992:87).
Thus. Harry suggests that comparisons of vamish development on artifacts cannot
be made across material types or different microenvironments. Furthermore, the time
necessary for the initiation of vamish formation appears to vary between surface textures
and may occur at different times on the same artifact. If such criticisms hold, then the
use of the apparent degree of varnish development is only meaningful when made for
tightly controlled contexts, holding location and material type constant.
Malpais Associations with Ancient Landforms
Part of Hayden's argument regarding the antiquity of the Malpais rests on the idea
that Malpais sites are sometimes found in association with ancient landforms. such as the
extinct shorelines of Pleistocene lakes. For instance, drawing on Childers. Hayden
(1976a) observed that Malpais sleeping circles, tools, trails, and two burials were
associated with the 440-foot-elevation shoreline of Lake Cahuila in the Imperial Valley
of California. In his notes, he often considered how this association could be used to
establish geologic-climatic dating of the Malpais phase.
Waters (1983a, 1983b), however, conducted a geologic investigation of the
extinct lake and the purported associations, coming up with quite different conclusions.
While he found that the extinct shoreline was indeed Pleistocene in age. dating to
approximately 26.000 B.P.. varnished Malpais and San Dieguito artifacts are "not
stratigraphically associated with the shoreline" (Waters 1983b:2). Instead, these artifacts
rest in and on desert pavements formed atop alluvium, which themselves cover eroded
deposits from the former shoreline. In essence, varnished artifacts and features in the
area date to an unknown time after 26.000 B.P.. Another anchor for Hayden's
chronology, Ventana Cave, is currently being reevaluated by C. Vance Haynes, who is
finding that more refined '""C dating is producing considerably younger ages for the
cave's deposits.
Claims placing human presence in the Americas at a time that would precede
Clovis are nothing new. Meltzer (1994) has suggested cogent historical comparisons to
the current pre-Clovis conundrum. The problem of validating pre-Clovis may, in fact,
require something like a Folsom find to cinch up acceptance of pre-Clovis cultures
(Agogino 1965). A number of sites as well as evidence from linguistic and genetic
studies have suggested that the peopling of the Americas may have occurred earlier than
previously thought (Gruhn 1988). Though it may seem that the archaeological
community in .America is divided into camps supporting either Clovis or pre-Clovis, in
reality there is a mosaic of hypotheses simply awaiting new data (Bonnischen 1991). Tlie
archaeological community as a whole is preparing to change its mind if the appropriate
evidence presents itself
.\rchaeologists seeking evidence of pre-Clovis cultures have begun to look again
toward Old World archaeology and the peopling of Australia for clues concerning how to
approach the peopling of the Americas (Butzer 1991). One problem involving
interpretations of potential pre-Clovis finds is the expectation to find Clovis precursors.
While there certainly were technological developments leading to Clovis, adaptations
preceding Clovis in America did not necessarily develop into Clovis. In essence, there is
no need to suppose technological continuity between pre-Clovis and Clovis peoples. In
fact, the two could be entirely distinct from one another, the result of separate migrations
to the New World (Butzer 1988).
Although some critics view Haynes's research as creating a bias toward a Clovisfirst model, Haynes does not rule out the possibility of pre-Clovis adaptations. He views
most pre-Clovis claims with notable skepticism because in his mind they fail to
adequately meet criteria for presenting indubitable evidence. In Haynes's "Clovis Origin
Update," he ponders the possibility of a "pre-Clovis bifacial industry in Central America"
as well as offers up the evidence from Tongue Creek near Alberta, Canada, as "certainly
a good prospect for being pre-Clovis" (Haynes 1987a:88). From Haynes's approach,
however, pre-Clovis should not only antedate Clovis, but form its antecedent.
Furthermore, in searching for pre-Clovis sites, Haynes (1987a) stresses the need to find
diagnostic projectile points, whereas some potential pre-Clovis adaptations, such as
Malpais, may not have made use of stone projectile points.
American archaeologists are often predisposed to define early prehistoric cultures
in America by their projectile points. If pre-Clovis sites are instead characterized by
what has been called a "pre-projectile horizon." then, in contrast to Old World
archaeologists, .\merican archaeologists may be all too ready to "denounce what [they]
are unfamiliar with" (Agogino 1965:49). Butzer (1988:202), also fears that
archaeologists "disillusioned by a series of unconvincing 'pre-Clovis' sites" will
prematurely dismiss new potential finds.
One contentious proponent of pre-Clovis, George Carter (1987:63), portrays
Haynes as "reasonable [and] personally likeable," but in no way constructive when
critiquing potential pre-Clovis finds. For him, the pre-Clovis issue is hampered by belief
and perception, not evidence. In his view, entry into America did not require a
technologically advanced, highly adaptive culture. Already convinced of pre-Clovis
occupation, he declares that "pre-Clovis sites are microscopically few only to those who
carmot recognize pre-Clovis occupation" (Carter 1987:63). He ascribes the tendency to
denounce pre-Clovis artifacts by some archaeologists as resulting from their inexperience
with "anything less developed than a Clovis point" (Carter 1987:66). Most importantly,
for Carter, a major problem with pre-Clovis discussions is that pre-Clovis is treated as a
singular entity, whereas he believes there "are clearly separate pre-Clovis entities in the
greater Southwest" (Carter 1987:66).
.\lan Bryan also agrees that views concerning the first .\mericans are laden with
crippling misconceptions. To him, the ideas that the "earliest .\mericans were
specialized big-game hunters" (Bryan 1991:15), that the "immediate proto-Clovis
predecessor represents the earliest .\merican" (Bryan 1991:16), and that Clovis is derived
from Eurasian cultural complexes take on all the qualities of a myth. Bryan criticizes
skeptics like Haynes for admitting the possibility of pre-Clovis adaptations while
dismissing evidence a priori. Instead of a Eurasian development, Bryan proposes that
Clovis was a relatively late development that originated in the southeastern United States.
Bonnischen notes, however, that Haynes himself has also come to the opinion that Clovis
originated in North America (Bonnischen 1991).
As a thought experiment, Bryan muses how the question of origins would be
considered if South American archaeology predominated the question of origins
throughout the 1900s. Were this the case, he speculates that archaeologists would not be
"searching for evidence of specialized hunting economies but rather for earlier evidence
of general foragers in North America" (Bryan 1991:27). In his view, the earliest
Americans were "northeast Asian coastal-adapted people" (Bryan 1991:28) who most
likely migrated along the southern shores of Beringia during the early mid-Wisconsin.
Roosevelt et al. support the view of early Paleoindian groups as foragers in their
analysis of the Brazilian Amazon site Monte Alegre. The site's Paleoindian remains,
characterized by "triangular, stemmed bifacial points" (Roosevelt, 1996:377)
employing manufacturing techniques similar to other Paleoindian tools, "stylized rock
art." and abundant biological remains, are dated between 11.200 and 10,000 B.P..
Located in the tropical rainforest, in a zone typically considered inhospitable to
Paleoindians. Monte Alegre is thought to represent a foraging economy contemporaneous
w ith Clovis. though 5.000 miles distant from the nearest Clovis manifestation. For these
investigators, Monte Alegre suggests a great degree of adaptability among Paleoindians
as well as much more complex migration scenario than has been previously considered
(Roosevelt 1996). However, it may be the case that the oldest dates from Monte
.\legre are unreliable and should be discarded. In addition, a pronounced radiocarbon
plateau occurring during the period of Monte Alegre Paleoindian occupation may make
Monte Alegre appear coeval with Clovis, while it is actually a thousand or more years
Linguistic Evidence
Principle to the use of linguistic evidence for supporting claims regarding the
peopling of the New World is the supposition that the development of language diversity
is a function of time. The greater the diversity, the greater the time. Using
glottochronological techniques. Greenberg et ai. established likely periods of language
divergence in their multi-pronged approach to the settlement of the Americas. Though
their findings support a Clovis-first model it is important to note their admission that "a
time period probably greater than 11.000 years [is] beyond the limits of
glottochronology" (Greenberg et al. 1986:480).
.\rriving at wholly different conclusions. Richard Rogers obser\'ed that the
greatest density of language diversity occurs in North America in areas that would have
been un-glaciated during Wisconsin times. In contrast, areas that would have become
unglaciated just prior to the arrival of Clovis exhibit a much lower density of language
diversity. Most importantly for this argument, "the greatest linguistic diversity in North
.America is found in the Pacific Coast zone" (Gruhn 1988). suggesting for Gruhn the
likelihood of a coastal migration route. Coupled with archaeological evidence from
South .A-merica and .\ustralia. her research suggests that migration to the Americas did
not have to involve an overland route but instead could have been accomplished much
earlier by watercraft. Meltzer judiciously observes, however, that language diversity
could equally result from "geographic,... economic, and other factors that have little to
do with glacial factors... but much to do with the rich nature of coastal environments"
(Meltzer 1995:39).
Genetic and Skeletal Evidence
Numerous studies involving skeletal morphology and more recently, genetic
evidence, have been used to contribute to the question of Native American origins.
Drawing especially on Turner's earlier work, Greenberg compared dental, linguistic
and genetic evidence as a means of shedding light on the peopling of the Americas.
Their compilation of dental evidence arrived at the following four conclusions:
(I) New World populations resemble each other more than they do most Old
World populations; (2) Dental variation is greater in the north than in the south.
(3) New World groups are more like Asians than Europeans; (4) Aleut-Eskimos,
Greater Northwest Coast Indians (Na-Dene), and all other Indians (MacroIndians) form three distinct dental clusters [Greenberg et al. 1986:480].
Based on these observations of the dental evidence they surmised that the first
.Americans were .Asiatic in origin, arrived from the north in three separate migrations and
first came at a time that is consistent with Clovis-first models. Their evaluation of the
dental divergence rate as it applies to America provides no evidence to support a preClovis model (Greenberg et al. 1986). .Analysis of the Sulphur Springs woman (some of
the oldest human remains in the .Americas, dating between 8200 and 10,000 B.P.),
supports the argument of .Asiatic origins through its display of the sinudonty dental patten
(Waters 1986:364). However, subsequent remarks by various archaeologists regarding
Greenberg et al.'s analysis are rife with criticism on many levels (Meltzer 1995).
Invoking archaeological evidence from the Old World Paleolithic, Haynes
contends instead that dental evidence pointing to Asian ancestry for American Indians is
insufficient in establishing a cultural connection with northern China. He notes that
caucasoid dentition from probable Clovis precursors dating to 18.000 years ago has been
documented in Siberia, suggesting that there was probably considerable admi.\ture of
asiatic and caucasoid populations prior to Clovis migrations. Furthermore, he notes that
American Indian dentition does display some characteristics that tend toward the
European (Haynes 1987a).
The analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), a maternally transmitted mutative
form of DNA, has also been employed to elucidate the origins of the first Americans and
the timing of their arrivals. Fundamental to evaluations of mtDNA in terms of origins is
whether one places the occurrence of molecular divergence prior to or after entry into the
New World. Currently, "there is no consensus from genetics" (Meltzer 1995:31)
regarding these issues, but all of the interpretations save one, are "consistent with preClovis antiquity" (Meltzer 1995:30) placing the radiations of the first Americans between
either 21.000 to 42,000 B.P.. 18,750 to 37.500 B.P., or 41.000 to 78.000 B.P. The one
outlier, in this case, places molecular divergence more closely with Clovis times at
12,100 to 13.200 B.P. (Meltzer 1995).
Artifacts or Geofacts?
For Paleoindian studies, the surest way to throw a wrench into the mechanics of
site verification is to effectively dispute the artifactual nature of the finds. It goes without
saying that if we are not dealing with artifacts, we are not dealing with an archaeological
site, other than the one created by excavation. Without bona fide artifacts, attempts to
criticize potential early sites through exploration of more complicated scenarios of
contamination or stratigraphic association are no longer necessary. The question of age
then becomes moot, and for that particular site, Paleoindian studies quickly become mute.
Unless taken as an exemplar of where archaeology of the early record can go bad,
references for that once-studied site quietly drop out of textbook discussions.
One redolent example. Calico, is a case in point. Located in the Mojave Desert,
this site, excavated by the infamous L. S. B. Leakey, still occasionally surfaces as a
warning for those archaeologists who may chose to build castles out of sand, or find
deliberately flaked artifacts in the remnants of a high-energy alluvial fan. To George
Carter's undying chagrin (Caner 1980, 1987). Haynes made swift work of the finds there
by demonstrating how the geoarchaeological context was conducive to creating naturally
flaked chalcedony, effectively bringing down the gavel on this purportedly ancient site
(Haynes 1973). Similarly swift judgment might have quickly stifled claims for the
validity of Sandia Man had not Frank Hibben's formidable
prominence leveraged decisive criticisms into quiescence (Preston 1995).
The Bering Straight Hypothesis
The idea that the first people to arrive in the .\mericas migrated from the Old
World to the New along a route in the far Northwest, akin to the Bering Strait, has existed
as early as Father Juan de .Acosta's sixteenth century-ruminations (Kunz and Reanier
1994; Meltzer 1994). Throughout much of American anthropology, the "Bering Strait
route ftimishe[d] the most readily acceptable dieory of a route of migration" (Howard
1936:400). Though the Bering Strait by and large represented the most likely route, it did
not necessarily place limits on the antiquity of man in America. Instead, other forms of
evidence such as linguistics and cultural diversity were presented to make claims
regarding the possible time depth of human occupation.
During the 1960s, Haynes correlated Clovis migration chronology with the timing
of Bering Strait land bridge exposure and the opening of an ice-free corridor that could
have permitted Clovis progenitors to move south of the ice sheets. Haynes suggested
Clovis progenitors were able to move into Alaska by way of the Bering Strait during the
peak of the last glacial maximum between 14,000 and 20,000 years ago. From this point,
however, southerly migration was halted by the coalescence of the vast Laurentide and
Cordilleran ice caps. By the Two Creeks interval, however, sometime over 12,000 years
ago, an ice-free corridor opened between the two great ice caps, permitting passage south
of the ice caps. Though rarely admitted by his detractors, Haynes (1966:246) takes care in
noting that this scenario for Clovis migration is "no more than a hypothesis."
Importantly, he further notes that this hypothesis is one that "is easily tested. .A.11 that is
needed to destroy the Two Creeks hypothesis, for example, is a discovery of a Clovis site
more than 12.000 years old south of the ice sheet" (Haynes 1966:246).
Haynes has presented other factors that lend support to this migration hypothesis.
Namely, the "closer affinities" of Clovis technologies with Old World ones, the uncarmy
similarity between Clovis assemblages throughout the hemisphere, and the subsequent
diversification of Clovis into other Paieoindian assemblages have been seen as
representing "a close temporal link between Clovis culture and its Old World
antecedents" (Haynes 1980a:119). Carlson also notes that all Paieoindian comple.xes
after Clovis are derivative, representing a general decline from the golden age of fluting.
In both their views, pre-Clovis sites will most likely also be proto-Clovis. Throughout
the years. Haynes has modified his opinion of the exact nature of Clovis migrations, but
the requirement of demonstrating a pre-12,000 antiquity for sites south of the ice sheet
still stands as the ultimate criteria for validating pre-Clovis claims and alternative
migration chronologies.
For the most part, however, as Meltzer notes, the Bering Strait scenario is no
more than a model, though one that often seems most appropriate from the available
evidence. Based primarily on circumstantial evidence, the scenario ignores the fact that
"[tjhere was not one, but many possible routes... open at many different times" (Meltzer
1989:474). Though linguistic and genetic evidence is often used to suggest otherwise,
rather than three separate and uniform migrations it can not be discounted that "there
could have been hundreds, perhaps thousands of separate arrivals of small populations
from Asia" (Meltzer 1989:474). Whether the earliest American populations can be
represented by a "single migratory pulse [or] multiple migratory "dribbles'" cannot be
ascertained using the available evidence (Meltzer 1989:482). Fundamentally, neither
case is exclusive in that the possibility always exists that both early failed migrations as
well as a successfiil Clovis migration could have occurred (Meltzer 1989).
Ultimately, the Bering Strait scenario, however conjecturally founded, does exert
an influence on how potential pre-CIovis sites are judged. Even though these sites are
sometimes thought to be only a thousand or more years older than Clovis finds, their age
and relevance is hotly disputed. For if these pre-Clovis sites south of the ice sheets are
real, than they suggest that either Paleoindians arrived in North America much earlier, or
that they arrived via a different route. Given geoarchaeological considerations,
archaeologists would then be in even more of a fix to find evidence of how Paleoindians
arrived. Addressing the problem of why American archaeologists hotly debate a time
depth that would "scarcely elicit a pause" (Meltzer and Dillehay 1991:1) for
archaeologists working in other areas, they propose that the problem results from the
following factors:"(1) different schools of thought; (2) provincialism; (3) inadequate data
to support claims; (4) disagreement over the criteria for evaluating the validity of human
artifacts; and (5) the application of different (and often confusing) defmitions, terms, and
concepts" (Meltzer and Dillehay 1991:2).
Maritime Adaptations
A few investigators have begun to toy with the alternative scenario of a maritime
migration route. Though suggested as early as the 1960s (Greenman 1963). this approach
has gained increasing interest as more compelling evidence has surfaced, further
suggesting that the dating of sites throughout the Americas does not conform to a simple
and direct route to the Americas across the Bering Strait through an ice-free corridor. As
some scholars have noted, the discovery of earlier sites in South America such as Monte
Verde in Chile and Pedra Furada necessitate the "consideration of earlier settings"
(Wright 1991:113) that would permit Paleoindian passage into the New World. For
Wright, a pedestrian coastal route is unlikely in that "heavily crevassed" broad outlet
glaciers frequently "subject to rapid calving of icebergs" would have presented a
formidable obstacle for Paleoindian travelers (Wright 1991:118). However. Wright does
admit that "travel offshore by seacraft would have been possible if such craft existed—all
the way to Tierra del Fuego" (Wright 1991:118).
In exploring the possibilities of alternative migration corridors, Fladmark uses
paleoecological data to suggest that the harsh environment of the Laurentide-Cordilleran
ice-free corridor may have prohibited a Paleoindian migration. The low topography as
well as "the proximity of major ice fronts suggests very low temperatures in the corridor,
with cold air held below the divides and between the ice lobes, exacerbating the normal
continental harshness of the region" (Fladmark 1979:56-7). Furthermore, the carrying
capacity of the zone would have been significantly dampened by "[ejxtensive, perhaps
total glaciation of the central portion, huge meltwater pondages, and... general
instability" (Fladmark 1979:57). In contrast, the "maritime component of the Beringian
environment" along the Pacific coast would have provided a "relatively, mild climate and
rich resources" (Fladmark 1979:63). Instead of an ice-free corridor route, the existence
of which Fladmark does not believe has been conclusively demonstrated, largely
unglaciated. inhabitable refiigia along the pacific north coast could have been much more
welcoming to migrants possessing simple, steerable watercraft (Fladmark 1979:64).
Some researchers discount the possibility of a maritime migration, pointing out
that the open seas require watercraft much more sophisticated than those that might have
been used to migrate to Australia (Bryan 1991). The notion that early travelers to
America were incapable of constructing sophisticated boats may hold water, though sea
travelers to America may not have had to traverse the open seas. Stanford and Bradely
(2000) have recently presented a migration scenario whereby early people could have
instead come to America in small boats along ice margins, where marine resources are
plentiful, the water is relatively calm, and storms could be successfully weathered.
Engelbrecht and Seyfert (1994) have amassed provocative evidence suggesting
that the possibility of Paleoindian watercraft should not be discounted, but more
intensively studied. Firstly, the authors suggest that evidence for the manufacture of
watercraft can be inferred from Paleoindian artifact assemblages. Pieces esquillees, often
interpreted as wedges, may have been "used in splitting wood for boat construction"
(Engelcrecht and Seyfert 1994:222). Ethnographic examples demonstrate that similar
artifacts have been used historically for the purpose of manufacturing boat frames,
gunwales, thwarts, and paddles. Similarly, use-wear analysis of Late Paleoindian Dalton
adzes suggests they were used on burnt wood, implying their possible use for the
construction of dugout canoes, also a historically known means of boat manufacture.
Furthermore, the more common occurrence of pieces esquillees at northern sites, rather
than southern ones, suggests for the authors a pattern of hide-and-bark boat construction
in the north (requiring split wood frames) and dugout boat construction in the south.
Engelbrecht and Seyfert also assert that evidence for watercraft e.xists for other
much earlier populations. The colonization of Australia by at least 40.000 years ago
would have required crossing at least 65 km of water. Similarly. New Ireland, "separated
from New Guinea by a deep water straight" (Engelbrecht and Seyfert 1994:223), was
occupied by humans by 33,000 B.P., while the northern Solomon island of Buka was
occupied 28,000 B.P. and would have required passage over 100 miles of open water.
Furthermore, the Japanese island of Okinawa seems to have been occupied by 32,000 ±
1000 B.P. suggesting the early crossing of 100 km of water while the Japenese islands of
Kozujima and Fukui may have been accessed by humans as early as 20,000 B.P. and
13.000 B.P.. respectively.
As the authors note, the demonstration that Paleoindians possessed watercraft
would have enormous implications. Indeed, a number of Paleoindian sites are located on
islands that would have been inaccessible without watercraft. One of the California
channel islands, San Clemente was settled by 9700 B.P., despite the fact that it contains
no land resources and lies 55 miles offshore surrounded by water 2,000 feet deep. In
addition, a number of Paleoindian sites have also been found located on remote islands
within lakes (Engelbrecht and Seyfert 1994).
Basic Requirement for Establishing Pre-Clovis
Toth (1991) provides a good discussion of the criteria used to evaluate early sites
in the .A.mericas. Briefly, these are: "(1) Certainty of the artifactual nature of alleged
archaeological sites... (2) Reliable and consistent chronological determination of the
materials or sediments associated with the artifactual or skeletal materials... (3) Clear
contextual association of the artifactual or skeletal materials and the dated sedimentary
deposits" (Toth 1991:54). Toth adds a fourth criterion, which he implies is not often put
to adequate use. though he believes this criterion "would strengthen the claim of preClovis occupation of the Americas" (Toth 1991:54). This final criterion he pens as a
"recurrent pattern of such sites, sharing similar material culture, subsistence patterns and
a consistent range of radiocarbon dates" (Toth 1991:54).
Certainly, most pre-Clovis advocates would like to put this fourth criterion into
operation, though they may lack sufficient evidence (or at least support) to do so.
Occasionally, archaeologists investigating pre-Clovis potentiality tentatively suggest
possible patterns of recurrence. One may wonder whether the possible pre-Clovis
artifacts from Cactus Hill and Meadowcroft represent coeval components of the same
cultural assemblage. In contrast, Hayden argues for the recognition of a consistent and
regionally recurrent pattern of pre-Clovis sites (Hayden 1965, 1966, 1976b, 1998a;
1998b: Rogers 1939. 1958).
Geoarchaeology: Potential Pre-Clovis Contexts
Meltzer rightly observes that "Pre-Clovis traces may not be found where Clovis
occurs" as the conditions that drew Clovis populations to a particular location would
most likely differ significantly from those that beckoned earlier populations. Pre-Clovis
site locations should differ, not only due to different adaptations, but because dramatic
environmental changes that occurred during Clovis times would have radically
transformed the environments which pre-Clovis peoples might have occupied (Meltzer
1995:36). Thus, though there have been claims for pre-Clovis assemblages existing
below Clovis layers at such sites as Meadowcroft, Cactus Hill, and possibly the Gault
site, there is no reason to expect to find pre-Clovis and Clovis assemblages in the same
location. Instead, investigators should concentrate on looking for sites in geological
contexts representing what can be assumed was a habitable environment for pre-Clovis
In order to explain the possibility that people were in South America as early as
35,000 B.P.. Butzer compared Pleistocene settlement patterns in the interior of southern
.A.fnca to those that might have occurred during the Pleistocene in the Americas. Butzer
suggests that American archaeologists perceive "the Old World record as one of high and
essentially continuous visibility, in both time and space" (Butzer 1988:193), and
consequently expect pre-Clovis to also be highly conspicuous, if it exists. Butzer shows
that the Pleistocene record for human occupation in Africa, however, is by no means
continuously and highly visible. On the contrary, it is characterized by "relatively brief
and disjunct events, coincident with times of wetter climate, and separated by immense
periods of time during which people evidently shurmed marginal, semiarid or arid
environments" (Butzer 1988:194). Butzer suggests, then, that a risk-minimization model
be employed to the geoarchaeological prospecting for pre-Clovis sites, keeping in mind
not only geological contexts that could preserve a good record, but also Wisconsin
environmental settings that would provide predictable and reliable resources. Drawing
on Butzer and Collins. Meltzer suggests several promising environmental settings:
"former valley-margin sites buried under alluvium or colluvium, spring sites, uplifted
coastlines, wetlands and bogs, tropical forests, and caves and rockshelters" (Meltzer
1995:36). To this list, Whitley and Dom would add "large talus boulders, basalt cuestas,
and desert pavements on ancient alluvial fan surfaces and lake terraces that are greater
than 11,200 years old" (Whitley and Dom 1993:635).
Risk-minimization and marginality models may not be the only explanations for
the low visibility of early settlement patterns. The nature of the local geology may also
be a factor. Waters (1988) notes, for instance, that the absence of Paleoindian and Early
Archaic archaeological remains in the Santa Cruz River valley and elsewhere may be the
result of Holocene erosionai action rather than human absence. As for the absence of
pre-Clovis. "[m]ost of the studied alluvial sequences in the Southwest begin with
terminal Wisconsin" (Butzer 1988:201). In this regard, Whitley and Dom (1993:634)
"do not consider it coincidental that a geomorphological transition to more favorable sitepreservation conditions occurred at essentially the point at which Clevis appear in the
archaeological record".
As previously noted, the dating Hayden proposed for Malpais and later San
Dieguito artifact assemblages and features, by the very nature of his claim, inserts his
evidence into debates over the peopling of the Americas and the timing of the first
Americans. If Hayden's dates are remotely correct, then Malpais would precede Clovis
by at least 10,000 years, while San Dieguito would both predate and overlap with Clovis.
Over the years, Hayden showed his Pinacate evidence to numerous archaeologists and
geologists, many of which seemed to have accepted his interpretations as valid.
Nonetheless, the age of Malpais or San Dieguito remain an unsolved mystery.
As discussed earlier, Haury accepted Hayden's claim that artifacts found
underneath the clovisoid layer at Ventana Cave were San Dieguito (Hayden and Haury
1975). He also agreed that Hayden's Pinacate artifacts, sites and sequences were valid,
wishing only that they could be fit into the last 11.000 years (Bowen 1998). Dennis
Stanford and Vance Haynes (HPS 4/3-5/85) likewise seem to have agreed with Hayden's
sequence. Working alongside Hayden for several years. Waters has supported the need
to further investigate Hayden's notions.
If Hayden's research is subjected to accepted criteria for proving pre-Clovis, it is
bound to run into some trouble spots. Namely, evidence fi^om the Pinacate region does
not, strictly speaking, rely upon conventional stratigraphy. One of the primary criteria for
evaluating early sites in the Americas is the verified association of artifacts or features
with their dated sedimentary contexts. By the very nature of their geology, desert
pavements do not easily fit into this scheme. Artifacts are generally found to be resting
on or in pavements and are not convenienriy sealed in datable sediments. Desert
pavements can be viewed as a type of sedimentary structure, while caliche and desert
varnish can likewise be considered deposits, but buried conte.xts do not easily preserve
desert varnish. If Malpais artifacts are identifiable primarily by the presence of heavy
varnish on artifacts and associated pavements, the chance is slim that buried contexts
preserving desert varnish will be found.
Huckell has noted that some investigators have dismissed sites, such as the
Dateland site, labeled as San Dieguito I, invoking reasoning similar to Holmes, by
suggesting that such sites were simply manifestations of quarrying activity. However the
suggestion that "activities beyond tool production took place" (Huckell 1998:168) as well
as the recent revelations of possible pre-Clovis sites such as Monte Verde call for careful
investigation of Malpais and San Dieguito type assemblages rather than blanket dismissal
of their antiquity.
In essence. Malpais represents a distinct pattern of conveniently flaked stone and
shell artifacts, trail networks and shrines, sleeping circles, and intaglio figures. In the
Pinacate region. Malpais sites are found concentrated near tinajas connected by a vast
network of trails. During wetter times, such as the first half of the twentieth century, the
Pinacate region has been home to abundant wildlife such as deer, antelope, bighorn
sheep, and javelina. The area is also rich enough to host predators such as wolves,
coyotes, hawks, and badgers. Though located in a forbidding desert country, the majority
of Malpais sites in the Sierra Pinacate are found less than 40 miles away from the Gulf of
California and would have been made use of during a time much wetter than today.
Though Hayden found no Malpais sites along the coast, he did find shell middens
in the vicinity of Adair Bay, which he believed were Malpais in age (Bowen 1998). It is
possible that Malpais people, whose lifeways may have an analogy in the
ethnographically known Seri (Hayden 1942), lived primarily along the coast subsisting
on terrestrial and marine resources. Indeed, desert Malpais sites include small knives,
scrapers, and gouges made from shell. Instead of stone spear points, Malpais technology
may have been characterized by the use of ropes, netting, wooden implements, shell, and
least importantly, stone. When rain was spotted over the interior deserts, Malpais may
have trekked into the deserts in search of game. Knowing that linajas were filled with
water, hunters may have been able to ambush game also dependent on these highly
localized water resources. The presence of intaglio ground figures at "nearly every
Malpais site" (Hayden 1976b:282) may signify that these trips to the interior volcanic
fields involved more than hunting and may have also had a religious importance.
Malpais flaking technology, including the use of shell, seems to be an expedient
flake and core technology that may suggest a technological repertoire vastly different
than that of Clovis. It is possible that Malpais and later San Dieguito assemblages
represent the seasonal interior hunting forays of coastally adapted peoples. As Bull
(1987) and Gallegos (1987) both observe for regions of southern California, San Dieguito
and La Jolla assemblages may represent inland and coastal adaptations occurring over a
long period of time, rather than distinct cultural entities. If a similar case can be made for
Malpais, then the dating of Malpais as Clovis or pre-Clovis in age would have enormous
implications for the peopling of the Americas.
Should the dating of Malpais prove to someday be reliable, then Malpais could
also provide a rare instance in which Toth's ideal criterion of establishing a pattern of
similar sites could be put into operation. Unlike Monte Verde, Meadowcroft, Cactus
Hill, or numerous other pre-Clovis claims that can only postulate weak relationships with
other purported pre-Clovis sites, Malpais is already known to represent a pattern that has
been recognized throughout the deserts of the Southwest. For this reason, despite the
difficulty of the terrain on which Malpais is found and the vagaries of dating desert
varnish, research focusing on the demonstration or discovery of pre-Clovis should be
directed toward Malpais. If the antiquity of Malpais can be satisfactorily demonstrated to
a panel of e.\perts. then establishing a pattern of Malpais would be no troubling task.
A reexamination of Hayden's Malpais concept cannot be done simply by
examining his publications. As previously noted, his published writings on the subject do
not convey all that is necessar\' to understand the observations that contributed to the
development of the concept. In order to reexamine Hayden's Malpais concept it is
necessary to view his fieldnotes, correspondence, and oral history. These sources supply
additional information on how Hayden surveyed, documented, categorized, dated, and
interpreted Malpais sites.
Viewing primary sources from the Hayden collection does not provide an answer
to the nature and dating of Malpais manifestations. Instead the Hayden documents
provide insight into what needs to be done to test Hayden's model. Through
documentary evidence, it is clear that Hayden was very open to exploring possible
solutions to the archaeological puzzles he studied. It is not clear, however, that Hayden's
surveys were systematic. Documents provide information on Hayden's background, but
we do not firmly know the background against which he compared his archaeological
For one, though Hayden's Malpais sites are conveniently clustered around tinajas,
or waterholes, it is not certain whether similar sites truly do not exist in areas not linked
to these precious sources of water. Hayden's treks to visit, locate, or discover Malpais
sites seem constrained by the woodcutter roads and trails he followed and the tinajas he
hovered around. In faimess, Hayden believed the landscape he viewed to be one of
relative stability, where the need for water would necessarily order sites around tinajas.
Similarly, we do not know the geological background against which Malpais
artifacts are compared. In the case of the Sierra Pinacate, artifacts appear to have been
shaped from locally available stones. In many cases, Malpais artifacts are said to have
been "conveniently flaked." Whether this appearance reflects an attitude toward stone
tool manufacture or a geological phenomenon is uncertain.
In the case of Hayden's Malpais model the review of Hayden's fieldnotes, desert
pavement formation processes, and the Clovis vs. Pre-Clovis debate go hand in hand.
They mutually inform us regarding how to address Hayden's archaeological problem.
We know that Hayden maintained a community of critical scholars, against whom he
continually checked his ideas and observations. We know also that Hayden viewed such
problems as puzzles and that he combined many diverse sources of information to arrive
at what were almost always tentative conclusions.
However. Hayden seems to have built observation upon observation (in a
pyramid-like fashion) in ways only he could do. These chains of deductions evidently
passed muster with his own personal register of validity. Yet the sequence of deductions,
even in his fieldnotes, is never entirely clear. Or, at least, the scientific validity of each
link is not apparent to an outside observer. Hayden essentially performed thought
experiments, checked them against his own observations, and bounced his ideas off of
other people.
We come to a situation where those who knew him may have put stock in what he
came up with. Those who did not known him cannot be fiilly convinced without viewing
the evidence for themselves. Perhaps Hayden was overly optimistic or naive in believing
that the materials from the dessicated environments he studied could provide evidence for
archaeological phases and chronologies. Or perhaps there is some validity to the
archaeological manifestations he interpreted.
Are Malpais artifacts truly artifactual? Do they truly differ technologically from
San Dieguito artifacts? Can desert varnish be used to reliably date Malpais sites and
artifacts? These are fundamental questions whose answers have not yet been fully
The study and interpretation of documents is essential to the historian's craft. The
same is true for archaeology in cases where historical documents may be used to inform
the archaeological record or the historical study of an archaeological concept or project.
However, documents cannot be used uncritically. By their very nature, documents can be
misleading, unrepresentative, and perhaps even forged or falsified. Therefore, any study
endeavoring to make use of documents must not overlook the interpretive issues
governing their proper usage.
One method for evaluating the interpretive value of documents is the application
of external and internal analysis. External analysis aims to discover whether the
purported author could have legitimately produced the documents in question. In other
words, external analysis is used to determine whether certain documents are authentic
productions of a particular author in a given time and place. Considerations to be made
for external analysis are of a basic nature. Could the author have produced the
documents in question? Were the materials used to create the dociunents available to the
author at the purported time of production? Was the author in a position to create the
documents? Does the use of language correspond to the time, place, and educational
background of the purported author? Should extemal analysis demonstrate that the
documents are falsified or forged and cannot have logically originated with the author in
question, no further analysis is necessary. One can only conclude that the documents
under study caimot be applied to their intended use. Docimients that have failed the test
of external analysis may however suggest what social, political, or economic conditions
were prevailing at the time to make the falsification or forgery of documents worthwhile.
Should external analysis satisfactorily demonstrate that the documents in question
could have been produced by their purported author, under the conditions they were
supposedly produced, then the investigator can proceed with internal analysis. Internal
analysis is intended to assess the credibility and accuracy of the information presented.
Does study of the documents reveal any logical inconsistencies in the information
presented? Would the author have any reason to omit important information? Are there
any indications that observations or occurrences have been willfully or accidentally
misrepresented? In order to discover the answers to such questions investigators must
assess the content of documents for their credibility and reliability. After all, it is the
information presented in documents that investigators wish to use. Without proper
application of external and subsequent internal analyses, investigators cannot legitimately
incorporate documentary information in their research. Otherwise, they uncritically
apply what may be corrupt, falsified, or misleading data to their research (Shafer 1980).
.•\s this particular study involved the perusal of documents relating to Julian
Hayden's research in Mexico's Sierra Pinacate, the same rigorous analytical standards
must be applied to the Hayden documents. Without such critical attention, this author
would run the risk of attaining wholly untenable conclusions. For all intents and
purposes, external and internal analyses reveal that the Hayden documents are indeed
nothing other than the product of his own hand and that they reliably represent the course
of Hayden's research and his conduct as an archaeologist.
Firstly, the Hayden documents are housed in the Hayden Tucson home, having
remained in the Hayden family's possession since the archaeologist's death. Toward the
end of Hayden's life, the documents were partially organized and collated under
Hayden's supervision by Hayden's caregiver. The documents are organized
chronologically and numbered according to field trip. Accompanying the documents is a
master list, correlating the date of each trip with the places visited and the people
involved. Examination of this master list reveals that the notes for only one trip are
missing. Very likely, this missing trip will be discovered once the many other documents
in the Hayden home are organized.
note must be made regarding the tendency of Julian Hayden to document
occurrences and activities with which he was involved. The Hayden home now exists as
virtually a library within itself wherein the records of many types of relationships and
activities reside. The documentary relations of Julian Hayden pertain not only to his
research in the Sierra Pinacate. but also to his earlier fieldwork throughout the Southwest,
his relationship with famous archaeologists such as Emil Haury. his business dealings
and transactions, his house plans, and his many personal writings. To put it simply,
Hayden was an avid, perhaps chronic, documenter. Little fell outside the realm of some
sort of recordation.
The bulk of the HPS field notes are typed transcriptions and relations of each field
trip to the Pinacates. The originals are typed on yellow typing paper. Approximately
half of the notes have been photocopied so as to preserve the originals. Most of the notes
are in excellent condition, entirely legible, and follow a consistent format. Each set of
notes is accompanied by a date or series of dates, the names of any companions, and a
trip number.
The first half of each set of notes (for a particular trip) reports when Hayden and
any companions left, what the weather was like, and any provisions he obtained, or
people he encountered along the way. The first half is generally of a more personal
nature, but does often interweave information of archaeological significance. The second
half of each set of notes generally relates the sites he visited and any observations he
made regarding the sites and archaeological manifestations in question. His style of
recordation is generally not quantitative, but most often deals on a conceptual level. His
observations reflect a tendency to grapple with larger interpretive issues regarding how to
organize and date archaeological manifestations.
The physical location, materials, and consistency of format and presentation all
attest to the fact that the Hayden documents are indubitably his own work. Hayden's use
of language also favors this notion. The uniquely compact and skillful writing style
apparent in Hayden's publications is also apparent in his notes. Moreover, some sections
of his notes are obvious rough drafts of later published writings. Furthermore, important
conceptual issues and terminology gradually evolve through time as Hayden interacts
with more investigators and becomes more familiar with current thinking on important
issues. Thus, there is little doubt that the HPS field notes are nothing other than his work.
To think other\vise would be to contemplate the phantasm of some ingeniously
meticulous individual fabricating a remarkably convincing Hayden legacy. However,
this still leaves the question—are his notes credible and accurate?
One of Hayden's signature characteristics seems to have been an enduring
tendency to change his mind. Like other American Pragmatists (Reid and Whittlesey
1998), he seems to have felt that no idea, no matter how appealing, is infallible. If the
Hayden notes demonstrate anything, they demonstrate Hayden's constant grappling with
nagging questions. He rarely arrived at a conclusion he was not willing to knock down,
nor was he ever willing to prematurely dismiss alternate explanations tor observed
phenomena. Thus when considering what the archaeological phenomena he observed
represented and how they could be interpreted he rarely rested on one conclusion. Rather
he often left open to question several possible explanations, checking and re-checking his
observations and consulting with knowledgeable individuals until he found an
explanation best supported by the available evidence. This cautiously inconclusive
behavior can be seen as a hallmark of Hayden's research methods. Thus, the HPS field
notes document a decades-long conceptual struggle over how to interpret the Sierra
Pinacate archaeological evidence, a struggle that involved the participation of many
qualified archaeologists and geologists and a constant reorganization of thought.
In examining the Hayden documents over time one sees the gradual evolution of
terminology and conceptualization, the development and reorganization of explanatory
hypotheses, and even the growth of professional alliances and personal ftiendships. The
abundance of information pertaining not only to his thought processes, but his activities
and personality quirks leaves one with not only a picture of the archaeology he studied
but also a sense of the man himself. This is not to say that reading the notes clears up all
confiision, but his personal style of conceptualization and recordation leads one to firmly
believe that he did his best to reliably and accurately document his thoughts on the Sierra
Hayden and Paul Ezell scout the Pinacate region as
possible survey area; considered a possibly key area
for refining regional sequences.
refers to "malpais pea gravel"; ponders time required
for pavement reformation after disturbance; "months at
deduces relative age of trails based on the relationship
to arroyo
considers that a site is a "fragile area"; notes that deer
and sheep, unlike burros, do not seem to use Indian
believes the heavy use of site 32 suggests more
available water 300-500 years ago; considers "furnace
wind" a possible explanation for the orientation of
arcos (arcs of stones, rather than circles)
flies over Pinacate with Phil Hunzicker and Dr. Robert
DuBois (University of Arizona geologist)
1 l/7-l 1/63
discusses temporary nature of Tinaja del Bote-perhaps
a permanent water source in the past due to apparent
prehistoric activity in the area
talks with badger, thinks the badger and hawk may
work together, "trenching of streambeds into playas
w/out outlets and into dune areas likewise argue for
ancient trenching"; intensive Yuman I sites in currently
unlivable areas argue for dessication
wonders if absence of sleeping circles at Tinaja del
Bote suggests that sleeping circles are not a Yuman
trait; postulates wetter climate during Yuman I, drier
climate of Yuman II causing depopulation
notes current drought has been advantageous for
observing trails, unlike the vegetative state of 1958
talks about the effects of local lava on magnetic
readings-compass readings are inaccurate.
notes his "arroyos" should instead be termed "bajios" an "arroyo" has water running in a deep channel, while
a "bajio" is a broad, depressed area with occasional
water flow
notes that caliche is not present on sleeping circles or
arcos with YlII pottery - caliche thus considered an
indicator of age
Pinacate flight with geologist Dubois and geophysicist
John Sumner; realizes that the Pinacate trails are too
extensive to map all of them
considers the use of caliche as an indicator of age believes several may be old because the caliche on
distiu'bed boulders is nearly gone, rocks are heavily
weathered, and the trails are now well paved
observes that several SD I choppers are oxidized and
well varnished
obser\'es that many pot sherds are well embedded in
pavement at site I; three ground flgures are older than
nearby trail as trail crosses them
"walked west across bad malpais, recent
chicharrones": observes that SD occupation is
extensive in the Pinacate; postulates relationship of
Pinacate SD with lower levels at Ventana; if the same,
then Pinacate SD occupation would seem to be late
Pluvial in age
advised by Mexican friends to carry a gun in Pinacate,
as some Sonoyta locals believe Hayden has discovered
observes for the first time a varnished pavement,
"strewn with SDI flakes and tools," in which artifacts
and pavement appear equal in age. doesn't know what
to make of the previous instance in which sherds were
found embedded in pavement (see Trip 28); wonders
how four SD tools found in the same pavement with
ground patina side up were turned over, postulates a
temporal difference between artifacts found in
pavement or on pavement
notes that around 25% of pavement cobbles at Site 39
are with ground patina facing up; wonders if animals
play a role; observes "well-darkened and varnished SD
flakes and tools IN pavement" (site 40); trincheras
sherds in contrast are found on pavement; believes area
must have deflated between SD and AM times, given
different relationships to pavement.
again considers how cobbles turn over in pavements,
wondering how much time is involved; observes trail
shrine (cairn) he believes is very old, because caliche
and ground patina have weathered away
hypothesizes that caliche forms in areas of poor
drainage, and that caliche has not formed since the
period between SD and AM
contrasting with Ives, Hayden reaffirms his belief that
caliche forms during wet periods (see Trip 35)
suggests that SD tools projecting through pavement
must relate to time when area is aggrading (what about
upward migration), whereas SD tools in pavement
relate to degrading
notes that caliche encrusted cobbles at Site 11 are
overturned; believes difference between light to
medium caliche on later tools and "shell" caliche on
SD tools may signify differences in age
notes that some trails have large palo verdes rooted in
them, therefore trails must not have been used for at
least 300-400 years, notes that outer caliche at Kana'a
flow in Flagstaff dated to 9000 B.P. while inner caliche
dated to 35,000 B.P. or the "Great Pluvial"; wonders if
"shell" caliche of the Pinacate dates to the Great
talks with Dr. Paul Damon regarding climate change,
tries to piece together a history of Pinacate climate
considers problem of differentiating different types of
caliche formation
no longer thinks shell caliche on SD tools is pluvial in
artifacts observed in the field by Australian
archaeologist Norman Tindale are thought to be typical
of early Australian occupations (30,000 to 14,000 B.P.)
looks for microliths of the type described by Tindale
for .Australia
inteq}rets tank structure at Suvuk as indicator of
Pluvial - Altithermal -Medithermal sequence
takes soil samples from Suvuk to Dr. Pete Mehringer
of Geochron labs
looks for "patterned stones" mentioned by Jim
considers upward migration of stones theory of Meinen
and Cooke; believes that, if so, pavement formation
would be quicker than evidenced in the Pinacate.
again considers Meinen and Cooke's pavement
formation model; believes that shell caliche could only
have formed before Altithermal times and varnish
during the Altithermal
considers lucky coincidences that have allowed
Hayden to develop a picture of Pinacate prehistory,
including drying over the last decade that has enabled
visibility of trails
suggests that even if pavements formed through the
upward migration of stones, artifacts in the pavement
would still be older than the final pavement and
essentially contemporaneous for archaeological
purposes; feels certain that pavement formation is an
altithermal phenomenon
University of Arizona graduate student Meade Kemrer
relates Pinacate stone tools to his understanding of Old
World prehistory; Kemrer takes sample of tools for
Jelinek to evaluate; Hayden's understanding of
Pinacate prehistory is now "intuitive"
tests circular depressions in pavement to see if he can
figure out how they form; Kemrer (see Trip 66) had
disputed Hayden's notion that overturned trees were
reponsible; Hayden thinks depressions may instead be
a function of underlying flow surface
discusses age determinations in the Pinacate with
geology doctoral students from Stanford (Gutmaim and
Ellen) who seem to agree that shell caliche could be
pluvial; feels their acceptance may strengthen his ideas
considers that if varnish is Altithermal, then
unvarnished tools must be AM
checks pavement west of Kino Crater, noting that the
pavement is heavy and complex, with large cinders on
top of smaller ones
wonders if pollen contributes to varnish formation
all of a sudden, Hayden uses the term Malpais -'early
Malpais tools with bright orange ground patina"
Hayden is told that Altithermal started around 9,000
years ago over entire northern hemisphere
wonders if tools at Celaya Crater are Malpais on the
basis of orange ground patina, dark varnishing, and
refers to survey crews who refuse to recognize or refer
to patination on artifacts; relates 440' lake dates of
21.500 B.P. and 27,000 B.P. from Imperial Valley to
Pinacate sequence; begins to think there were two
periods of pavement formation and that Rogers erred
when he incorporated Malpais into SD I; suggests that
if desert varnish is an Altithermal phenomena, and if
pavement formation is deflationary, then there must
have been two Altithermals, or two periods of
pavement and varnish formation, which coincided with
typological differences between Malpais and SD
Gutmarm has agreed to get thin sections of desert
varnish and to get an organic chemist to analyze
varnish composition
debunks Davis's claim that pavement formation is
rapid, suggesting similar stones were picked to produce
1930s initials on pavement
talked with University of Arizona geologist Dr. W.
Bull, who is studying Colorado River terraces; lower
terrace pavements bear light varnish (SD), while upper
ones bear heavy varnish (Malpais). Tentative '^C dates
on lower terrace caliche produced date of 7000 B.P.;
Bull thinks some upper terraces might be a million
years old; Refers to a paper on Southwest paleoclimate
that fits Malpais perfectly
1 18-20/75
notes that varnish is not omnipresent in Malpais areas;
thus it is sometimes difficult to identify Malpais tools
Hayden is accompanied by Haury, Jelinek, and Chip
Lockwood; Haury and Jelinek are apparently
impressed with Hayden's reasoning and artifacts;
Haury asks Hayden to write a section of The
Stratigraphy and Archaeology of Ventana Cave.
Hayden speaks with Thor Karlstrom of Flagstaff
regarding Altithermals prior to the last one; Hayden
discards one (Searles Lake - 17000 B.P.) as being too
late; The others, all from Illinois (Farmdale silts 25.500 B.P.; Morton Loess - 22,500 B.P.; and Gardena
- 19,000 B.P.) seem to fit Hayden's ideal chronology.
Karlstrom has seen a core from Walker Lake North of
San Francisco peaks that shows all three altithermals;
Haury has accepted the SD 1 in the volcanic debris
level of Ventana; Richard White shows Hayden
Paleoindian tools bearing SD varnish from Tiburon
Hayden reads an article by H. Brad Musick in Arizona
Academy of Science Journal. February 1978, Volume
10. Number 1 titled "Barrenness of Desert Pavement in
Yuma County. .Arizona"; the article suggests that salt
accumulation in the vesicular layer below pavement is
cumulative, preventing water penetration and plant
TRIP 100
Joins INAH - sponsored trip to Tiburon Island. Sees no
evidence of Malpais. but characterizes degree of
oxidation of paleo tools as similar to SD 1.
TRIP 101
reports Waters's indignance over "scorn heaped on SD
by Lehner crew members"; notes that amino acid
racemization may sometimes work but could not be
useful to dating Malpais, too many unknowns:
Gutmann reports that Celaya "two-generation" tool
shows no difference in varnish thickness between SD
and Malpais flake scars; Hayden observes that the
presence of varnished stones in alignments is not a
reliable temporal marker, suggests that
psychologically, people would pick stones of similar
color (thus similar varnish) for constructing
alignments; Hayden declares that his Pinacate
fieldwork is complete
Waters reports finding SD material on the intermediate
terraces of Babocamari wash while excavating at
Hayden travels to Lehner to check out the scene
TRIP 103
collected some caliche for '"^C; observed rocks that
almost look like artifacts; wonders what Leakey and
other Calico believers would make of them
TRIP 104
the acceptance of Hayden's Pre-Altithermal article
leads Hayden to wonder if surveyors from ASU will
now agree to recognize Malpais and SD; Waters
reports having seen very large Malpais, SD, and AM
sites west of Buckeye. Arizona near fossil springs;
1,000 points have been collected by artifact hunters in
the area
Childers reports a new site in Mexico south of Laguna
Salada. Childers thinks it might be a second phase of
Malpais. Hayden is uncertain.
TRIP 106
Referring to an article in Nature. Hayden observes that
desert varnish is becoming a popular topic
Bull now places second terrace on lower Colorado with
Malpais-like varnish as not over 70.000 and possibly
less than 40.000 B.P.
Don Peru and Gene Wamock show Hayden lithic
material from New River. 30 miles outside Phoenix.
Hayden doesn't believe it is Malpais and doesn't know
what to make of it.
Hayden doubts Davis's 25.000-year-old milling stones,
as she uses Bada's Del Mar AAR dating.
TRIP 108
Hayden reviews models of varnish formation. Hayden
in agreement with Ray Rogers and Bauman who
believe varnish is a deposit; Bard believes, instead, that
it is partially derived from heart rock.
TRIP 109
Waters questions Hayden as to why pavement around
vegetative islands have not been disturbed if vegetative
islands are supposed to have expanded during the
Malpais Pluvial. Hayden answers that pavements in
larger ruimels were disturbed by vegetation, but
smaller islands did not expand. Hayden realizes that
he didn't mention in his Pre-Altithermal article that
pavements are more complex than they are generally
thought to be.
TRIP 114
Hayden accompanies INAH trip to Pinacate, hoping
the trip will create interest in an area INAH has had no
use for. Notes that Jose Lorenzo (1999), the authority
on "Early Man" in Mexico, is "very powerful and a
deadly enemy of gringos."
Topo maps of Pinacate are now available in contrast to
before, when Ives and Hayden had to keep their copies
Lewis T. Skinner brought Hayden four large figurines
of vesic basalt supposedly from the Pinacate. Hayden
believes they are brought from the south and sold to
Dr. Bull told Waters that heavy varnish and bright red
ground patina on Malpais artifact from Blythe is
20,000 - 30.000 years old. Hayden is encouraged by
this reading, as Bull knows nothing of archaeology.
Hayden believes that geologic evidence for Malpais
.A.ltithermal and Malpais Pluvial is mounting: notes
that, in contrast to archaeologists, geologists often
agree with Hayden's age estimations. He attributes
this to archaeologists' ignorance of geology.
Hayden reviews anicles on Quaternary climate, and
develops a Pinacate climate sequence. Interpluvial
(40.000 - 25.000 B.P.), Pluvial (25.000 - 11.000 B.P.),
warm arid conditions (9000 - 5000 B.P.); now thinks
Malpais altithermal may be as late as 15,000 - 14.000
TRIP 118
Notes that many overturned stones near sites range
from SD times to the present; stones overturned in
Malpais or SD times have ground patina formed over
heavy varnish; thinks the stones were probably
overturned by people searching for lithic material; as
many appear tested
Waters quoted as not liking "Gyratory Crushers"
article because people have been coming to accept
Malpais and San Dieguito and will be thrown by
suggesting grinding tools at 10,000 B.P.. Hayden
counters that the evidence is there so he won't ignore
TRIP 123
Starting to think that a dry. cool altithermal sounds
better than insisting on a hot one; cool time would
prevent mesquite flowering; notes that loess of north
Pinacate flow is rapidly deflating; wishes he could
have staked the boundary two decades earlier
Considers the Pinacate to be a microcosm containing
all archaeological sequences that are discontinuous
TRIP 135
Describes a Malpais I chopper as having no varnish,
but shell caliche on underside; believes evidence from
West Texas suggests the possibility of a Malpais II
phase; Malpais I is characterized by "naturally shaped
ejecta, broken for backing, flake scars under varnish,
unifacial. eroded, or dissolved, but scalloped"; Malpais
II in contrast has "no rounding of flake scars under
varnish; thinks that vegetative islands of Pinacate must
be nearly as permanent as pavement, as vegetation and
burrowing keep soil disturbed and prevent pavement
formation; wonders if'Very frequent depressions
paved with ligh cinders" may have at one time been
vegetative islands
TRIP 149
Dennis Stanford persuaded Vance Haynes to go to die
Pinacate for the first time. Hayden wonders if he
hasn't been able or willing. The party checked out
Hayden's key site Celaya Crater. Both Haynes and
Stanford found Malpais tools. Haynes apparently
became interested, dug some holes, and (to Hayden's
delight) said he could accept the sequence but not the
dating. Haynes said he'd have to wait, depending on
how varnish dating turns out.
Hayden says that ".\ndretta is mastering theory and
practise and covering the literature in remarkable detail
(far more than [he] ever intends to do) and is writing
up his work in detail, sequences, ecology, elevations,
botany, the works. What will happen to it all, who
knows. But at least it'll be on paper."
Hayden sarcastically remarks that, given the young
2000 B.P. date on the Tecotle flow, all he needs is a
similar date on a Malpais flake so he can give up his
notion of pre-Clovis.
Referring to alleged preform pestles from Mojave as
having varnish, Hayden remarks that "some have
heavy varnish, hence are of Malpais age... others have
no vamish."
While Waters believes caliche can form anywhere at
anytime, Hayden still believes eroding caliche is a
temporal marker.
Hayden is incredulous regarding impossibly young
varnish dates obtained by Dom on the Tecotle flow.
Dated at 2000 B.P., Hayden wonders if varnish
formation was especially rapid
Suspects antiquity greater than 30,000 B.P. for
occupations in the Americas
Dom has produced varnish dates older than 12,000
B.P. on Mojave Desert petroglyph and 30,000 B.P.
radiocarbon ages for tools from the surface at Calico.
Hayden is struck by the young dates (1400 B.P.)
obtained on Nazca ground figures of Peru. Believes
Yuha Man was Malpais
Recalls how Ives and Hayden used to use top secret
Pinacate maps produced by the Army Map Service; a
friend who happened to obtain a copy, "accidently" left
them at Hayden's house. Somehow the maps were
photocopied, the friend picking up his maps later with
a wink. Hayden sent a copy to Ives. Thereafter the
maps were referred to as the Hans Unbekannst (Hans
Unknown) map. Hayden notes that the maps are now
available as bootlegged Mexican copies. Andretta
notes that there are very few Malpais or SD grinding
tools in most locations, but mainly hunting tools. In
the Davis Mountain assemblages, on the other hand,
grinding tools predominate, demonstrating a clear
separation of hunting and gathering loci.
Hayden spoke to a lithics expert with experience in
Libya who said that many artifacts bear varnish, all the
way back to Mousterian times, but that varnish is
meaningless in terms of age. The uiuiamed expert also
claimed that Malpais-like artifacts could be created by
camels walking over the pavement. Hayden laughed at
the prospect of Mammoths promenading over desert
pavement and wondered why artifacts would always be
concentrated near water holes. Hayden recalls how
Haury had laughed at glass scrapers Hayden found at
Snaketown, calling them pedofacts. Hayden
remembers also having found an artifact that must have
been forced through a rock crusher but bore no recent
flaking. "Patterned flaking, as any knapper knows,
does not occur in concentrations in nature. This
applies to 'crudely flaked pieces' as well as to finely
pressure flaked points!"
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collections and the history of Pinacate fieldwork and
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