Dragoons Culture

Did you know?? In our history snippet, let me tell you a bit about the early Indians who lived here, about 1200 to 600 years ago, the Dragoons Culture. They were a bit like the Anasazi or the Hohokam tribes, but enough different that they merited their own name, the Dragoons Culture. They were agriculturalists, and lived in villages, one of which was about ¼ mile east of my house. We don’t know exactly where it was, because about 40 years ago the University of Arizona Archeology Department came and dug it out, took what they needed, and then buried it all again, so we can’t be sure. I like to think of them living here in their lovely world, without wires, technology, stomach ulcers, and the confusion of our world. On the other hand, they probably died at age 30 and I bet the women had to work mighty hard! We see evidence of their labors in the bed rock mortars, those deep, narrow holes in the granite, where they sat and ground corn and acorns to make flour for their meals. One wonders how long their teeth lasted, after they ate the tortillas with all that granite ground into the flour! But maybe if you died at 30, it didn’t matter?

They left here, suddenly and without any evident reason that we can tell. It might have been a 40 year drought, or it might have been the Apaches who were gradually moving down from the north. Who knows? One of the mysteries of history.

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2 Responses to Dragoons Culture

  1. Greg Corning says:

    I take issue with the image of pre-industrial life being short and harsh. When the Spaniards came to California, they reported many people who were, by the missionaries’ and the Indians’ best reckoning, in their 50s and 60s and sometimes 70s. To be 70 was certainly rarer than now, but then “civilized” Europeans of the time didn’t have lifespans all that different from those of the Indians!
    As to how hard it was to make a living, I remember a seeing a film in Anthropology 1 class in which the man doing the study (sorry; can’t remember who it was) said that he calculated that the “Bushmen” of the Kalahari were able to “earn” — gather, hunt, get — their sustenance in an average of two hours per day! This was in one of the harshest inhabited areas on earth! Those people had far more free time than we do in our world.
    The image of pre-industrial people just scraping to get by is not necessarily valid; it may in fact be quite wrong.

  2. Eve says:

    Hi Greg,

    My computer was out, so I have only just now been able to read your comment. I was not referring to the times when the Spanish came to California, but to a time around 800 AD. I certainly agree that people then had more time than we do, but I still hold to the idea that their life was hard. Just imagine this land if it didn’t rain for a season – no water to drink and no food grown – or if the animals on whom they depended for food died out. It sounds very romantic, looking at their life from our comfortable viewpoint, but I think it was far from easy. And, Eleanor of Aquitaine notwithstanding, I still think they died much younger than we do.

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