Workers plowing the land at a marijuana cultivation site in Amado this week found human remains and pottery that were later confirmed to date back to prehistoric times.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office received a call shortly before 8 a.m. on Tuesday from someone reporting that they had found remains at a marijuana field they were plowing on the 2700 block of East Frontage Road.
Sheriff’s Lt. Gerardo Castillo said that authorities initially contacted the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner for assistance. Given that apparently prehistoric artifacts were also discovered, the OME referred the Sheriff’s Office to the Arizona State Museum.
“We identified that the remains and objects were indeed archaeological, which we determined based on the condition of the remains and the presence of numerous Hohokam ceramic sherds (ancient pottery),” said James Watson, associate director of the Arizona State Museum.
In an email, Watson said that they did not find any previously recorded archaeological sites in the immediate area of the findings, but he added that the floodplain of the Santa Cruz River contains several sites along its corridor.
“This could have been an isolated occurrence or hints at the presence of an archaeological site in the vicinity,” he said.
Watson added that, out of respect for the descendants of tribal communities, the museum did not allow photographs of the site and would not provide further details about the discovery.
He said they had informed the potential claimant tribes in an effort to deliver the ancestral remains and artifacts.
Tuesday’s discovery was similar to one made in August 2019 by workers at the Kino Springs Golf Course, who uncovered ancient human remains while installing water pipes. The bones were subsequently determined to corresponded to the Hohokam community that occupied the present-day site of the golf course from roughly 640 to 1450 A.D.