Mimbres field houses were a cultural expression found during the Mimbres classic period where the majority of people inhabited large pueblo villages but maintained secondary structures some distance away by agricultural fields. These field houses were of less substantial construction containing less material goods and it is argued served as only part time residences.
Isolated masonry foundations are consistently found on the eastern bank of the San Simon along a stretch where drainage from Sulphur Canyon, an old branch of Cave Creek Canyon, and the San Simon Riverbed meet while masonry foundations/structures are not observed along the western bank, over the same stretch of riverbed. Although Mimbres pottery is reported from the west bank, no architectural features suggesting masonry construction typical of Mimbres were found. It is possible the San Simon Riverbed represents the western edge of the Mimbres culture during the classic/post classic period and the furthest western extent of Mimbres style rock art is found in the valley on the eastern slopes of the Chiricahua Mountains suggesting the valley also served as a De facto border between different cultural groups.
Although no diagnostic pottery was found, the presence of above ground masonry is consistent with a classic/post classic Mimbres site. The current lack of ceramics is also consistent with a Mimbres field house which would only receive use part time during the growing season as is the limited wear, about 1 inch, and somewhat irregular shape of the metate where less energy was expended in construction and on creating material goods at secondary sites.
Based on the observation that the metate was associated with collapsed masonry and the documented use of field houses by Mimbres, this find is tentatively identified as Mimbres in origin and would date to about the 12th century.
|Masonry foundation outline in the San Simon valley|
|Metate found in association with masonry (south of the location shown above)|