Evidence of prehistoric occupation around the Painted Pony Resort is widespread. Evidence of Mogollon (including Mimbres), Hohokam, Casas Grande, and possibly Trincheras cultures may be found throughout the San Simon valley. This intersection of cultural influences in the valley is reflected today in the native (Pima to the west, Zuni and Apache to the north), hispanic, and anglo cultures who now occupy the boot heel of New Mexico and southern Arizona. As an intersection of cultural groups through time the San Simon valley offers insights into cultural interactions not found in areas with a single predominant cultural group and thus offers unique perspective on prehistoric cultural interactions. While the Dynamics of Southwest Prehistory is a recent attempt to integrate information about prehistoric cultures of the southwest into an overall conceptual framework, the more localized approach such as the Malpi Borderlands is more appropriate for those trying to understand land use and occupation through time along the San Simon valley.
An example of documented land use in the San Simon valley, the graph below shows the distribution of pottery types on a large ruin in the San Simon valley versus time. Found along a north/south route through the valley, this ruin was part of a network of sites occupied in the past. Using a simplified contextual seriation technique allows the occupation to be dated from 1200 to 1350, a span of about 150 years which is consistent with ground stone wear patterns on metates found on the site. Beginning at the end of the Mimbres reorganization, or after, this Animas phase site demonstrates the cultural influence from from a number of surrounding groups as demonstrated by differing pottery types.
Although little painted pottery is found on the 320 acres of the Painted Pony Ranch (Gila black on white was documented from the property), the distribution of an abundance of stone tools found on the property suggest a number of small occupation sites existed during this late prehistoric period.
Cultural resource inventory III
Cultural resource inventory II
Cultural resource inventory I