Where Did They Go?


Writing 101 Day 13
Assignment: write about finding something


In the final year of the Twentieth Century, April, Barb and I retreated into retirement. Climbing aboard a well used Suzuki 650F, we left our Oregon abode and headed south. We carried with us, a loosely defined goal of exploring Organ Pipe National Monument located on the United States/Mexico Border. However, before achieving that we met an archeologist who worked with Arizona State University. His task was to learn more about the ancient people occupying this area many centuries before our arrival. He invited us to join him.

About forty miles north of the border, he led us to a barren area on which little more than stunted greasewood plants survived. With a GPS in hand, he selected a place for a plastic bucket. From there, with his guidance, we marked off a square grid with sticks and string, and duplicated it on a sheet of graph paper. Each square was assigned an identity – 1a1, 1a2, etc.. Then we began our search for anything these peoples – Anasazi? for lack of a better name – might have left behind.

The rule: nothing may be removed from the site. Each find is plotted by exact location on the graph paper and then returned to the place where it was found.

We combed the area for eight hours on Saturday and another eight on Sunday. That evening, as we were collecting our stakes and string our archeologist leader summarized that we had found two items. A tiny black arrowhead that was in perfect condition, and a jade bead. The bead was pale green through which a hole had been drilled a bit off center.

When I asked the purpose of this search he told me it was the first of more grids to come. Eventually, the location of an ancient village would be determined. When that happens the university will fund a dig.

“The two items we located today have probably probably laid here at least nine-hundred years,” he told me.

“Who were these people and where did they go?” I asked.

Five years later, working only during the winter months both of these questions remained unanswered.