The Sierra Ancha Project 1995 – 1996
The project sought to document cliff dwellings and other prehistoric sites in the Cherry Creek area of east-central Arizona. In 1995 and 1996, major expeditions were mounted to revisit all of the cliff dwellings and other sites recorded since 1981, and to conduct additional survey work to locate new sites in middle Cherry Creek. Four weeks were spent each fall with dozens of volunteers from all over the world. Over the two seasons, nearly 20 cliff dwellings were fully documented and more than 40 new sites were recorded. The documentation involved completion of more than 1700 forms, 40 rolls of black and white film, and over 20 rolls of color slide film. We now have a great dataset of site condition at this point in time, and learned a tremendous amount about the construction and remodeling of the sites. We also placed long-term temperature recording devices and have thousands of lines of data documenting diurnal temperature fluctuations in the sites and in the canyons. These data show the importance of passive solar heating in the siting of these villages.
“The project was made possible by the Tonto National Forest; Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona; Statistical Research, Inc.; Earthwatch; and Amaterra. Without the help of Amaterra, the field projects in 1995 and 1996 would not have been possible. Amaterra supplied a vehicle, a large tent, a generator, a camp kitchen with complete set of cooking and other supplies, water system, housing for participants, and the labor to put up and take down the camp each field season. These items and assistance made a very difficult and primitive camp situation bearable, and even enjoyable, for the staff and volunteers. The staff and volunteers offer their deepest thanks for the support. Your invaluable help made the project possible!”
-Rich Lange, Project Director
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