Cultural Roots Preserved at Trincheras

At the Tubac Presidio through September 30th

Prehistoric terraces with supporting rock walls where simple homes were constructed are preserved in northern Mexico and visitors interested in archaeology are welcome. That was the message given at a presentation on June 6 at the Tubac Presidio State Park.

The state park has an exhibit currently in the museum which provides an overview of the area called Cerro de Trincheras (hill of trenches or fortifications) which protects sites where early inhabitants lived and worked during 1300 to 1450 A.D.

It’s a fundamental source for understanding the creation of the cultural roots and the heritage of the people of Sonora, Mexico, according to information at the museum.

Adrian Sergio Lopez Davila, the archaeologist at Cerro de Trincheras, spoke to a group of about 60 people who participated in a reception in Tubac that was also hosted by the office of Jaime Paz y Puente, Mexican Consul who has an office in Nogales, Ariz.

Lopez Davila said that Trincheras, the first archaeological site opened in Sonora, Mexico, has been under investigation for more than 20 years. Visitors are welcome and there’s a museum and an archaeology lab.

The museum includes many pieces of pottery, examples from early agriculture, arrowheads, and other items of daily life found at the site. Walking paths lead to the terraces.


Research is under the auspices of INAH, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History. Lopez Davila said several groups are working cooperatively including the University of Arizona, State University of New York, and university students from Mexico.

A future goal is to develop a path toward an area of petroglyphs, symbolic pictures carved in rocks, of which there are about 300, Lopez Davila said.

According to a published report by Jim Griffith, former director of the Southwest Folklore Center at the University of Arizona, the hill is made of volcanic rock, covers over 230 acres, and stands about 450 feet above the valley floor.

Its north slope is covered with stone terraces, the walls of which are fairly low at the base of the hill, but rise to nine feet high towards the summit. The entire site contains more than nine hundred such terraces, Griffith wrote.

Cerro de Trincheras is about a two and a half hour drive from Tubac. To reach it, travel south on Mexican Highway 15 and turn west on Highway 2 at Santa Ana. The visitor center in the town of Trincheras is open daily except Mondays.

At the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, the exhibit consists of a 20-panel international display which shows photographs of artifacts, archaeological features, and reconstructions of what life was like from the Pleistocene to the present.

The exhibit will be on view
until Sept. 30.

The Tubac Park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Trincheras exhibit is included in the entry fee, which is $5 for adults and $2 for youth ages 7-13.

Information: 398-2252