A HIGHLY CONDENSED, MODIFIED, UNEDITED, UNCITED VERSION OF THE
FALL 2007 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW PAPER
WRITTEN BY NUGENT BRASHER TITLED
Knowing that I explore for ancient trails, anthropologist Carroll Riley encouraged me to attend a presentation by Coronado Expedition experts Richard and Shirley Flint in September 2004. Although I knew nothing about Captain General Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, I attended the presentation and learned that the trace of the majority of the trail remains unknown. Motivated by this puzzle, I decided to explore for the Coronado Trail in general and for the undiscovered Chichilticale in specific.
The records utilized for my quest to discover Chichilticale were limited to a carefully considered selection of original source data. Richard and Shirley Flint designated the fourteen documents used in my exploration, and they sorted the documents chronologically. This inestimable contribution by the Flints satisfied the requirement of data acquisition and determination of the dataset to be used for exploration purposes. My prediction of the Coronado Expedition route reported herein is based solely upon these fourteen documents, which I read and studied in chronological sequence of date written. I respectfully avoided all published interpretations and analyses concerning the route of Coronado because I did not want to be influenced by modern scholars.
I read the Spanish version of the chronologically sorted data, in all but one case the transcriptions prepared and provided by the Flints, the exception being the 3 August 1540 letter written by Coronado to Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza, which I read in English as offered by the Flints. Although the translations provided by the Flints are excellent and absolutely suitable, I read the Spanish versions in order to form my own impressions of the language. All the translations presented herein are mine. This process provided the means for assimilation and synthesis of what is contained in the chronicles, and for making a preliminary prediction of the Coronado route. I then took several field trips to evaluate my preliminary predicted route. Afterwards, I again consulted the chronicles in light of what had been observed in the field. Finally, I made a firm prediction of the trace of the Coronado Expedition route and developed an exploration concept that identified specific locations where artifacts of the Expedition might be found, such locations becoming exploration prospects.
I identified a total of eighteen primary exploration prospects in the United States, each being a campsite of the expedition as it traveled from Ispa to Cíbola (Hawikku). In addition, I identified many secondary exploration prospects, these being specific locations where terrain forced the expedition to pass through. I then went to the field and reconnoitered the exploration prospects from a geological perspective. Such reconnaissance guided me in ranking each exploration prospect with respect to the probability of discovering identifiable artifacts of the expedition at that particular prospect.
Capt Gen Francisco Vázquez de Coronado and his advance party departed Culiacán on Thursday, 22 April 1540. This is the Julian calendar date equivalent to 2 May of the modern Gregorian calendar; all dates provided herein are Julian dates unless otherwise indicated. For purposes of this condensed version of my New Mexico Historical Review paper, it is sufficient to pick up the journey of the advance party of the expedition at Ispa in the modern Río Sonora Valley at the modern town of Arizpe in Sonora. From Ispa, Coronado and his expeditionaries departed for Chichilticale on 12 June 1540. Juan Jaramillo provides the only account of the journey from Ispa to Chichilticale:
From here we went about four days through unsettled land to another arroyo that we understood was called Nexpa, and some Indians came out to see the General with gifts of little value, with the pulpy leaves of roasted maguey and pitahayas. We went two days down this arroyo, and leaving the arroyo we went to the right to the foot of the mountains in two days of journey, where we had knowledge that it was called Chichiltiecally.
To interpret this description by Jaramillo I considered four possible routes. The Río San Pedro route is the best fit to the trail described by Jaramillo, and is the easiest, most direct passage to the north. This route follows the Río San Pedro downstream for two days to Lewis Spring. There the route turns to the right to follow Government Draw, located between the Mule Mountains and the Dragoon Mountains, to a camp at the headwaters of Whitewater Draw. This spot is near archaeological sites FF:6:1, FF:6:3, and the now-extinct spring called Soldier’s Hole. One day northeast of this camp are the archaeological sites FF:2:1, FF:2:2, and FF:2:6, all situated in an area with shallow water at the foot of the Chiricahua Mountains.
The advance party arrived at Chichilticale, the location of the Red House, on 19 June 1540. Map 1 illustrates my interpretation of the route of the expedition and the location of Chichilticale.
Most scholars consider Chichilticale to be a Nahuatl word meaning “red house.” Castañeda, who arrived at Chichilticale with the Following Army, describes the Red House. “Chichilticale consisted of a ruined house without a roof, although it seemed that in another time to have been a strong house, this at the time it was inhabited, and it was easily perceived to be made by a foreign culture of warriors from afar. It was of vermilion-colored adobe.” In a different passage Castañeda writes, “The house was of colorada or bermeja adobe. The house was big and it seemed clearly that it had been a fort.” Castañeda offers a clue as to the hue of “colorada or bermeja” when he reported that the advance party “…arrived at a river, because its water was turbia and bermeja, they called el Río Bermejo…” Notice that Castañeda associates turbia with bermeja. Turbia is derived from turbar, meaning to disturb or confuse, and when water is disturbed in a river, it becomes turbid and carries sediments that make the water murky or muddy. Castañeda implies that the turbid water was the color bermeja, that is, vermilion. The color of muddy southwestern rivers is often called colorada. Bermeja and colorada are shades of red, within the range of brownish-red to reddish-orange to bright red. The operative color is red.
To envision Chichilticale, imagine the ruins of a big adobe house, reddish in color, and without a roof. If one is willing to venture that the walls were like a fortress, then add that it had high, thick, reddish-colored adobe walls.
The advance party at Chichilticale consisted of at least one hundred to possibly more than one thousand people, plus livestock. They were present from the evening of 19 June until the morning of 22 June, a span including three nights, two days, and an evening. Coronado reported on events at the Red House. “At Chichilticale I rested for two days, and it was really necessary to have stayed longer, since we found the horses worn out at that point. But because the food supplies were short, it did not permit us to rest longer.”
Spaniards visited Chichilticale both before and after the advance party. Some of the explorers who could have preceded Coronado at the site include Cabeza de Vaca, Marcos de Niza, and Esteban the Moor. However, none of these travelers reported being at Chichilticale. Presence by Spaniards at Chichilticale after Coronado include visits by Juan de Zaldívar and Melchior Díaz, the four horsemen shepherding the livestock of the advance party, a visit by Melchior Díaz, Juan Gallego, and Marcos de Niza, a stop by the northbound following army, a visit by messenger Luis de Figueredo, two visits by Pedro de Tovar, two stops by García López de Cárdenas, and, finally, a stop by the southbound retreating army that represents the largest contingent ever present at a single time at Chichilticale. In summary, there occurred three visits to Chichilticale by large groups – the June 1540 advance party, the autumn 1540 following army, and the 1542 retreating army. At least eight visits occurred at Chichilticale between 1539 and 1542 by small parties.
The advance party departed the Red House on 22 June 1540. Jaramillo recounted the journey. “Past the mountain we went to a deep, high-banked arroyo where we came upon water and grass for the horses. From this arroyo, or from back at Nexpa, as I have said, we turned, it seems to me, almost to the northeast. From here, by the same path, we went, I believe, in three days, to a river that we named San Juan, because we arrived on that day.” Coronado provided a different temporal anchor for this stretch of the journey and thus overrode the admittedly shaky memory of Jaramillo by reducing his three day journey to only two days. “I crossed the boundary of the unsettled region on the eve of San Juan’s [feast] day.” Coronado considered the boundary of the unsettled region to be the 22 June campsite at the “deep, high-banked arroyo.” I interpret this arroyo to be Siphon Canyon, the drainage to the east from Apache Spring at Fort Bowie National Historic Site. The expedition could have utilized water from the spring, and grass was likely abundant in the triangular-shaped, open valley west of the arroyo and the spring.
The following morning, 23 June, the eve of San Juan’s feast day, the advance party departed the deep, high-banked arroyo and trekked to the next campsite. On 24 June, St. John’s Day, the advance party moved on, arriving at a river Coronado named the Río San Juan in honor of the day of that Saint. On the modern calendar, the date was 4 July, and the campsite was at the present-day Río Gila.
As part of the preliminary exploration leading to the Coronado journey, the Franciscan friar Marcos de Niza was sent north in 1539. Don Antonio de Mendoza, viceroy of New Spain, provided supplies for the Marcos de Niza adventure, and he also demanded that the French friar adhere to thirteen specific directives. A portion of the tenth directive reads “You will take great care always to ascertain whether there is knowledge of the seacoast, both in the northern direction and in the southern.” Marcos de Niza pursued his orders:
[I] found out that the coast turns to the sunset very suddenly, and because since the beginning of this first despoblado (unsettled region) that I crossed the coast always came inserting itself to the north, and since such a thing as the coast turning is so important, which I realized and understood, I went searching for it.
This abrupt turn in the coastline – a turn to the west from a northerly trend – was something that demanded reporting to the viceroy. The Coronado Expedition also recognized the significance of change in bearing of the coastline. The Spaniards believed that by observing where the interior mountains turned from a northerly trend to a westerly trend they could ascertain the latitude of where the coastline turns.
Chichilticale is a place where the mountains turn. Castañeda situates the Red House at a crook in the trend of the sierra, and he relates it to the coast of the Gulf of California: “The reason the mountains change is that the Sea of Cortés arrives as far north as this rest stop, and the coast turns, and likewise the chain of mountains turns.” I interpret the bend at Chichilticale to be where the north-trending Chiricahua Mountains turn sharply at Apache Pass to become the northwest-trending Dos Cabezas Mountains. Combining the account of Jaramillo with that of Castañeda, Chichilticale is at the foot of the mountains where the chain of mountains turns. This location is southwest of Apache Pass in Cochise County, Arizona.
After I was satisfied with a predicted route of the expedition and I possessed a visual image of Chichilticale and its setting, I had to determine the exact location of the Red House. Primarily, I needed to know where red adobe walls might exist along the predicted route of the expedition at the foot of the mountains southwest of Apache Pass. To help with this, Carroll Riley introduced me to Dr. John Ware, director of the Amerind Foundation, who very kindly made arrangements for me to access to the confidential site records at the foundation. On 3 January 2005, I found cards in the Amerind file indicating that two archaeological sites exist along the route I predicted to be that of Coronado. Independent of the Amerind Foundation site cards, former Amerind director Anne I. Woosley reported one site that sits on my predicted route. After careful consideration, I determined that the two sites described on the Amerind cards were truly the same site. This caused me to conclude that only two sites correspond with my predicted Coronado route where it approached the foot of the mountains south of Apache Pass. These are the Kuykendall Ruin – Light Gopherhole site and the FF:2:6 site. The Kuykendall Ruin is described as forty-five acres in size, and Site FF:2:6 as thirty-five acres in size. These two sites are within a half-mile of each other. I considered it reasonable to believe that a pueblo complex of this size might have at least a few adobe walls present at the time of Coronado.
Jack and Vera Mills began excavation of Kuykendall Ruin in 1951, completed their fieldwork in 1961, and published their findings in 1969, devoting ten years of their lives to outdoor exploration at the site. The Addendum to their report records the date of village abandonment: “Fire pit number one gave a date of 1385 plus or minus 23 years. One of the fire pits gave a date of 1375 plus or minus 18 years.” It is fair to hypothesize that Kuykendall village was abandoned between 1385 and 1450. This means that the ruins of the roofless red house called Chichilticale by the Coronado chroniclers could have been the remains of a house in the Kuykendall village, which was abandoned from 100 to 150 years before the arrival of the captain general.
The Mills describe the Kuykendall houses as being “built of adobe. Walls varied in thickness, from 6 in. to 18 in., the average being about 8 or 9 in.” Room Thirty-two, House Three, Compound One provided the Mills with an opportunity to calculate the wall height. “The south wall had fallen outward, into the courtyard. However, it had not fallen apart but simply laid down intact. A measurement of this wall gives an idea of the original height of the building, which would have been 6 1/2 to 7 1/2, possibly 8 feet, if the roof were included.”
With respect to wall size, one specific Kuykendall wall is of particular interest. Referring to House Eight, Compound One, the Mills write, “Between rooms 9 and 10 and rooms 13 and 14… there is an extra thick adobe wall.” This thick wall is twenty-one and a half feet long. Given that the walls are estimated to have been possibly seven and a half feet tall without a roof, this particularly high, thick wall might have prompted an observer like Castañeda to suspect that the ruins might once have been a fort.
For Castañeda, red is the central topic of Chichilticale. This color had such a profound impact on him that it dominates his physical descriptions of the fabled structure. The Mills found red color at Kuykendall and were impressed enough to record its presence and to explain its cause. Describing Kuykendall, Jack and Vera Mills comment: “This village had been burned. With only one exception, every house excavated had intense fire in some part of it. In some instances, falling roof structures had smothered the fire while in others the entire house was destroyed by the conflagration.” House roofs were built with juniper wood. “Roofs were constructed by placing large roof timbers across from wall to wall, or from one wall to a large central roof beam supported by large posts. Smaller roof timbers were laid across these.” The fires at Kuykendall village caused the roofs to be burned off the houses. The burning likely occurred after the village was abandoned, but before the arrival of the expedition. If Kuykendall and Chichilticale are the same place, then Coronado arrived at a burned village.
The Mills on four occasions describe specific burned rooms. Of Room Three, House Five, Compound One, they write, “The fire had been most intense here. Large masses of charred roof thatch and the adobe walls were burned to a brick red.” They describe Room One, House Ten, Compound Two as “The room had been burned with such intense heat the adobes were red.” About Room One and Room Three, House Fourteen, Compound Four, the Mills respectively record, “Plaster still remained on some parts of the walls. It was burned to a brick red,” and, “The fire was so hot [that] some of the pottery was ruined and the walls and roof were burned brick red.” Clearly, the Mills, like Castañeda, took note of the red color of the walls. Avocational archaeologists Jack Mills and his wife Vera contributed a most compelling observation. They attributed the eye-catching red color to the intense heat produced by the burning of the village. If this is the case, then the red did not originate from the color of the soil, rather it came from the interaction of the iron oxides in the adobe with heat. It follows that searching for red soil as the source of the red color of Chichilticale is misguided. The red of Chichilticale comes from heating an adobe that may, originally, have been much less red than the color seen by the Spaniards at the burned site. The Mills chose an interesting description for the red they witnessed at Kuykendall Ruins – brick red. Bricks are produced by the heating of building soil.
Given that the Mills describe Kuykendall Ruins as having high, thick, red walls, the site is an excellent prospect for Chichilticale. Therefore I determined who owned the property, contacted and interviewed the owners, and successfully obtained an exploration lease. In order to anticipate what artifacts I should expect to discover, I reviewed the findings of archaeologists at the five reported and accepted Coronado sites of Hawikku, Kyakima, Santiago Pueblo, LA 54147, and Jimmy Owens. During this evaluation I counted only artifacts that best represent possible Coronado-era material, so my tally of the total number of artifacts is sometimes at odds with those reported. These comparisons are shown in Table 1.
Based on these comparisons to other sites, I expected to find only a small quantity of artifacts at Chichilticale. Places of extended occupation have yielded relatively few artifacts; being as I calculated that Chichilticale did not experience extended occupation, I anticipated that even fewer artifacts are likely. The briefly visited Jimmy Owens Site, with its large number of artifacts, may perhaps be a special circumstance caused by a violent act of nature described by Castañeda as a torbellino ( possibly a tornado). Such a concentration of artifacts should not be expected to repeat itself at Chichilticale.
The types of artifacts I expected to find at Chichilticale include expendable and lost items. I suspected that few Expedition items were dispensable, thereby reducing the expected artifacts to lost objects. Further impacting what might be found, any item discarded or lost by the Spaniards was subject to being picked up by the Indians. Horseshoe nails were attractive to Indians as adornments. This idea is vividly illustrated by the fact that a companion of Cabeza de Vaca, traveling through northern Sonora in 1536, “saw an Indian wearing a necklace made from a swordbelt buckle, and on it was sewn a horseshoe nail.” This observation alerted the lost Spaniards that their countrymen were in the region.
Completing my analysis and concluding that I should expect only a few artifacts, I embarked upon the exploration of Kuykendall Ruins.
Exploration at Kuykendall Ruins
Exploration activity at the Kuykendall site was initiated in December 2005 by removing Russian thistle (tumbleweed). Our team took care that nothing below ground level was disturbed. Clearing the tumbleweed allowed a metal detector survey utilizing White’s MXT instruments along measured grid lines spaced one meter apart. This spacing ensured that surveying would overlap, guaranteeing that the greater part of the surface was explored. From late January through middle April 2006, a total of 16.1 hectares (39.9 acres) were surveyed by individuals working on foot operating handheld metal detectors.
The majority of found metal objects included modern materials like aluminum, tin and foil consumer items, expended modern lead bullets, discarded ammunition casings – especially shotgun shells – and fence and bailing wire. The bulk of recovered wire was in very small pieces visible only after being attracted by a magnet. Dozens of short pieces of rebar (metal reinforcing rods) were found and these appear to correlate with the edges of buildings excavated or recognized by the Mills.
Our metal detector surveys also discovered artifacts suspected to be associated with the Coronado Expedition. These artifacts were video recorded and photographed at their discovery site, described and collected, and the locations of these finds were GPS-positioned and marked with subsurface metal pins to ensure that the exact spot could be relocated. The collected artifacts were compared to similar artifacts in the collections at Zuni, New Mexico, and at the Floyd County Historical Museum in Texas. Afterwards, all artifacts were sent to the Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University for cleaning, x-rays, examination, sketching and scanning, and preservation.
Map 2 shows that exploratory metal detector surveys were conducted in five areas. One of these surveys was positioned to investigate east of the main ruins on the south side of the dry streambed. An iron crossbow bolthead was discovered near the streambed. The piece was originally recorded as a corroded, ferrous, projectile-shaped object. The ferrous object was cleaned and examined by Pearce Paul Creasman of the Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University. He described its poor condition, warning that “attempts at consolidation or corrosion removal will destroy most of the diagnostic features associated with the artifact.”
I knew that the projectile-shaped object found at Kuykendall Ruins was iron, and I understood that boltheads found at Fort San Felipe, occupied by the Spanish from 1566 through 1587, and located in modern South Carolina, also were iron. Archaeologist Stanley South described the Fort San Felipe bolts. “Eight iron bolt points from crossbow arrowheads, or quarrels, were recovered from inside Fort San Felipe. Note the contrast between those conserved and those still retaining their coating of corrosion from four centuries of oxidation.” A caption below six of the crossbow boltheads addressed their condition. “The three on the left (162H-91A) were conserved to bare metal. With those on the right an attempt was made to conserve the accumulated rust as well, but separation of the corrosion from the iron cores is taking place.”
I consulted with Paul Creasman, and we decided that x-rays of the Kuykendall object offered our best chance to see its true form. Creasman took numerous x-rays. “Several combinations of time (seconds) and power (kV) were attempted in order to produce the best quality and most analytical results. All images were taken at a set distance of 31 inches.” The efforts of Creasman successfully provided us with a picture of the corroded object. “X-rays revealed that a viable ferrous core exists.”
I desired to see x-rays of other iron crossbow boltheads. Dr. Chester DePratter of the Santa Elena Project at the University of South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology informed me that no x-rays of Fort San Felipe boltheads were taken. Dr. Donny Hamilton of Texas A&M University contributed several German iron crossbow boltheads of undetermined age, and Creasman placed these plus the Kuykendall ferrous object on the same tray and took x-rays of them together. This effort demonstrated that the Kuykendall object appeared to be a bolthead. Like the German boltheads, it possessed a ferrule in which to insert the bolt shaft and a diamond-shaped point. Figure 1 shows x-rays of the Kuykendall object, and Figure 2 illustrates the German boltheads.
I wanted to see a scale comparison of the Kuykendall object to iron boltheads from Fort San Felipe, so I produced Figure 3. The graphic demonstrates that the Kuykendall artifact is quite comparable in size and shape to iron boltheads from the South Carolina site. Crossbow boltheads are diagnostic of the Coronado Expedition. Prior to arrival of the expedition in the Southwest, crossbows were non-existent, and by the time that the Spaniards returned to southeastern Arizona after Coronado, crossbows had become outmoded as weapons for the Spanish military. I believe that the corroded, ferrous, projectile-shaped object found at Kuykendall Ruins is an iron crossbow bolthead. If I am correct, then this is the first object ever found in Arizona that can be confidently linked to the Coronado Expedition.
Map 2 shows that metal detector exploration occurred principally in the northwest half of the Ruins. Located here is Compound One. The Mills described the northeast corner of Compound One as where intense fire occurred and resulted in brick red walls. At this spot three suggestive artifacts were discovered, all situated within a few meters of one another. These include a copper bell, an awl or needle, and the shank of what might be a sixteenth century horseshoe nail.
The Kuykendall bell is a decorated Tarascan copper crotal. Jack and Vera Mills discovered two bells during their 1950s excavation. Copper bells were considered trade items. Typically, trade items are initially carried along trade routes. Along my proposed route of the Coronado Expedition, a number of bells have been found. In addition to the bells unearthed at Kuykendall, five total bells of at least three different types have been recovered from three of my predicted expedition campsites. A single unclassified bell was also discovered a few miles from one of these camps.
These bells were made by the Tarascans, the people of western Mexico famous for their copper metallurgy. The occurrence of Tarascan bells at Kuykendall and three other prospective camps, plus the presence of a bell near a predicted camp, suggests that the trail common to these bell locations was connected with the west coast of Mexico. Coronado traveled just such a route. The Flints have documented that Tarascans represented a significant human component of the Coronado Expedition. It is not unreasonable to suspect that Tarascan Indians accompanying the expedition were leading Coronado over a trail they had blazed with their bell trade, and that the anomalous prevalence of copper crotals found at Coronado campsites is evidence of previous commercial exchanges, as well as, perhaps, bells lost at camps by Tarascans in the Expedition.
Also diagnostic of the Coronado Expedition are caret-head horseshoe nails, or bi-facet horseshoe nails. Within a few meters of the Tarascan bell our team of metal detector experts found what is possibly the shank of such a nail. Although the critical and diagnostic part of the nail, the caret-head, is missing, when laid side-by-side with caret-head nails of the Coronado artifact collections at Zuni, New Mexico and at Floydada, Texas, the shank of the nail found at Kuykendall Ruins compares quite favorably in size, shape and construction (Fig.4).
Within a meter or so of the copper bell and the nail shank, we found an iron awl. Although awls are not diagnostic of the Coronado era, they existed in the expedition inventory and are present in Coronado collections. The close proximity of the awl to the suspected horseshoe nail and the bell is suggestive of a possible Coronado presence.
About seventy meters (230 ft) north of the discovery site of the bell, awl and nail, our metal detector team discovered a milled bust coin dated 1774. The coin sports a bust of Spanish king Carlos III, rendered in Latin on the coin as Carolus III. This particular coin was minted in Mexico City, where such coins were produced from 1772 until 1821. Bust coins were also minted in Lima, Perú and Potosí, Bolivia. The coin had a value of eight reales.
The 1774 bust coin suggests the presence of Spaniards at the ruins later on in the colonial period. Military reports from that era indicate that the Spaniards used Apache Pass, called Puerto del Dado . This ancillary evidence supports the contention that the trail followed by the Coronado Expedition passed through Kuykendall Ruins and Apache Pass, and that the Spaniards resumed use of this trail in later colonial times.
In addition to our metal detecting on the south side of the arroyo, two tracts on the north side of this streambed were explored. An awl was discovered. All four sides of the awl can be clearly seen and felt. This forged awl is quadrilateral in cross section and similar to one in the Coronado collection housed in the Floyd County Historical Museum.
In total, our metal detector team discovered six artifacts of interest at Kuykendall Ruins during the initial field season of January – April 2006. The iron bolthead provides compelling physical evidence of the presence of the Coronado Expedition. It may be the first and only artifact found in Arizona that can be linked to Coronado. The finding of just this single crossbow bolthead located along a well thought-out, very likely, and intentionally searched route is of paramount importance. Given that just a small portion of the site has been searched, resulting in only a few Spanish artifacts, it is likely that we have not yet found the Coronado camps. I anticipate that when our search resumes we will uncover additional artifacts.
In addition to the evidence of Coronado offered by the bolthead, the description by the Mills of red walls affirms the account of Castañeda. The nail, bell, awls and coin suggests that the Kuykendall site itself lay on a major travel route. Given this cumulative evidence, it is reasonable to conclude that Kuykendall Ruins is likely the site of the fabled Red House called Chichilticale.
Additional Prospects Explored
Exploration was also undertaken at the first campsite predicted north of Chichilticale. This is Camp 22 June, located at Apache Spring and the Fort Bowie National Historic Site. In addition, we conducted limited exploration at Camp 23 June, located on a private ranch north of Fort Bowie.
I first apprised Richard and Shirley Flint of my predicted Coronado route in early January 2005. We discussed the desirability of a metal detector survey at Fort Bowie, and they suggested that I contact National Park Service archaeologist Charles Haecker, who participated in the survey of Hawikku. I agreed to discuss my predicted route with Haecker so that he could secure the necessary permissions to facilitate a Fort Bowie metal detector survey.
Haecker successfully made arrangements and the Fort Bowie survey was conducted in early April 2005. No Coronado vintage artifacts were discovered at any of three sites surveyed.
We also investigated the predicted second campsite north of Chichilticale. This is Camp 23 June, located on a private ranch north of Fort Bowie. Over the course of several visits to the site, I surveyed a measured grid of 0.97 hectares (2.4 acres) and discovered a lead ball measuring 0.535 caliber. Charles Haecker recalled that researchers had studied lead ball composition to discriminate between American and Mexican militaries at a site in Texas. So Haecker obtained three lead balls that had been found at Hawikku (Zuni) and one lead ball found at Kyakima (Zuni) from Jonathan Damp of the Zuni Cultural Resource Enterprise for comparison purposes.
I arranged for a metallurgic analysis of the lead balls from Zuni and the one from Camp 23 June. Ellery Frahm conducted this examination at the University of Minnesota Electron Microprobe Laboratory in Minneapolis. Frahm provided data that I used to generate graphics useful for non-parametric comparisons of the five lead ball compositions. The lead ball from Camp 23 June (0.53 caliber) and Hawikku FS138 (0.48 caliber) correlate on individually measured metallurgic composition.
Exploration continues at Kuykendall and at Camp 23 June, as well as at several other prospective campsites and at specific places along the predicted trail.
I believe that the route followed by Coronado and his expedition was a very old trail that was used for centuries before Coronado and continued to be used after him. At the site I interpret to be Chichilticale, Jack and Vera Mills found St. Johns B/R, St. Johns Polychrome, Tularosa W/R, Maverick Mt. Polychrome, Pinedale Polychrome, Kinishba Polychrome and Salt Red trade ceramics that span a range of time from 1100 to 1450. Our metal detector experts discovered a copper bell dated within the time span 1200 to the Spanish contact, and a 1774 silver milled bust coin minted in Mexico City. These dates suggest that traders and travelers followed the trail for centuries before Coronado, that Indians likely continued to do so after Coronado, and that as soon as the Spanish returned in the 1600s they resumed use of the route. A large Mexican pack train traveled this trail on its way to Sonora as late as 1858. These events all point toward the trail being old and well established.I believe that our team has discovered Chichilticale. The iron bolthead offers strong physical evidence of the expedition and the nail shank suggests confirmation. The fact that application of my exploration theory successfully discovered artifacts that demonstrate use of the trail as early as the twelfth century and as late as the nineteenth century, as well as discovered at least one artifact dating to the Coronado Expedition, suggests that the site is on a major trail. The red adobe walls found by the Mills fits the description offered by Castañeda. The topographical setting of the site matches that reported by Jaramillo and Castañeda. All these factors suggest that the site is Chichilticale.