Santa Barbara: Arroyo 5 Right

Santa Barbara Arroyo: 5 RIGHT

There is no art found in any of the structures visited in this arroyo. . . so far.

5 RIGHT starts at about 2.5kms from road at 26.702126, 111.929265 Altitude is 97 meters. Distances shown from now on are measured from the start of this tributary arroyo.

Well developed bench on the lower part of this arroyo that has many seed bearing trees. A fairly dense population of Organ Pipe, Pitahaya and other types of cactus that would be a good source of fruit.

Photo: View from Cave SB 5R C1 by author

Outcropping on right of the arroyo facing west at 0.2kms at 26.703571, 111.929558 about 40 meters off arroyo. This contained two visible caves that were checked out. SB 5R C1 at 26.70404, 111.92891 and 139 meters altitude was approached first.

Cave SB 5R C1

This cave faces southwest and is about 150 meters from the arroyo. Cave is about 18meters wide, 3 meters high and 4 meters deep at its deepest. The rear wall is volcanic tuft over a layer of smooth sandstone.
1 Metate was found here. No art of any kind. No shells, no midden.

The next cave closest to here was slightly higher up and to the right (south)
SB 5R C2 at 26.70372, 111.92873 and 142 meters altitude.

This cave faces more to west and is also about 150 meters from the arroyo. Cave is about 18 meters wide, 10 meters high and 10 meters deep at its deepest. The cave is exclusively volcanic tuft.

Cave SB 5R C2 by author

Cave SB 5R C2

There was one well formed metate on the floor. Some shells were evident and rock shards showing signs of knapping, but again, no art.

Knapped edges in SB 5R C2

Cave SB 5R C3 at 26.70596, 111.92932 and about 130 meters elevation. This cave is about 150 meters in from the arroyo, faces to the northwest and will offer good shelter from the sun.

SB 5R C3

This is a large compound cave at about 25 meters wide, 4 to maybe 9 meters high and about 15 meters deep at its deepest. The cave consists of a large central chamber and two smaller chambers or alcoves, one on each side.

SB 5R C3

SB 5R C3

There is a distinctive orange colouring to the rock at the right side of the main chamber. There is a water seep or Yani at the rear of the cave and high up close to the ceiling. This was wet at time of viewing in February. Lots of bat guano.

SB 5R C3

There were 3 Metates on the cave floor of SB 5R C3 and possibly matching Manos for two of them. One well formed rectangular Metate was found propped up against the rear wall of the cave and bore very recent present day markings or graffiti of a man with a spear.
Shells were evident in area but no art was found.

Cave SB 5R C4 at 26.70720, 111.92952 and altitude 142 meters. This cave is a little further north from C3 and is also about 150 meters in from the arroyo.

SB 5R C4 Metate

Cave SB 5R C4 consists of two well formed chambers and is large at about 30 meters wide, 10 meters high and about 5 meters deep. This cave faces about northwest and is approached up the nearby wash. This cave contained 1 metate, no shells and no art.

In the arroyo at this point 26.71075, 111.93503 and about 1.17km, there are very large house size rocks making travel harder.

About 200 meters north of the rocks there is another cave on the right. Cave SB 5R C5 at 26.71152, 111.93452 and about 135 meters altitude and about 20 meters off the arroyo.

Showing caves SB 5R C5 and C6

Two caves here: C5 -lower right. C6-higher left. This C5 is a large cave facing west. About 30 meters wide, 12 meters high and 10 meters deep at its deepest. This cave contained 3 Metates and countless rock shards showing knapping.

SB 5R C5
SB 5R C5 Metate 1
SB 5R C5 Metate 3
SB 5R C5 Metate 2

SB 5R C5 knapped shards

Some shards were close to being a feasible spear/dart point.

SB 5R C5: Almost but not quite?

Almost immediately above SB 5R C5 cave and slightly to the left (north) is another good size cave, SB 5R C6.

SB 5R C6

SB 5R C6 cave at 26.71166, 111.93438 and 140 meters altitude is quite large at about 20 meters wide, 10 meters high and about 8 meters deep. This cave also faces west. This cave contained 1 Metate and also had many rock shards showing knapping marks. No shells and no art.

SB 5R C6 Metate

Just past the C5 and C6 caves described above, and on the right side (east) of the arroyo at 26. 71358, 111.93088 and about 200 meters elevation above the arroyo and 300 meters in from the arroyo there is a large rock formation that when viewed from the arroyo resembled a scull or mask with two caves representing the eyes and a larger cave below representing the mouth. There is a recent rock fall to the right side of the mask, (south) that leaves a white gash on the side of the Mask.

R5 Mask: at 26.71379, 111.93158 and 282 meters elevation. And about 1.4km from the start of the arroyo. This is indeed a series of compound caves that resemble a mask or skull. There are two eyes that interconnect. Also a right and left nostril, although from the arroyo below, the nostril caves are not readily visible. Below is a single cave that would represent the mouth.

This is a view of the Mask from part way up the falda.

The view from the mask is to the west directly across the arroyo. Left eye (not the eye on the left) is about 12 meters wide, 4 meters high and 4 meters deep. Right eye is slightly smaller and is connected to the left eye by a passage that one can pass through while bent over. (That would be a sinus passage, right?)

SB MASK: Right ‘eye’

The left and right nostril caves, below the eyes, are smaller than the eyes and also connected from side to side. The cave that would represent the mouth is about 8 meters wide, 6 meters high and 5 deep. All of the caves were volcanic tuft and had dirt floors. There were smooth surfaced rocks that would have been a good painting surface but no art was found in the cave.

SB MASK: Left ‘eye’ with right ‘eye’ immediately behind me and one of the ‘nostril’ caves on left of photo.

Accessing the Mask caves from the arroyo was steep and slippery and took about an hour’s climb. Still, the concept of examining a compound cave that is visually similar to a large mask or scull was exciting. It would not be hard to imagine this location as having mystical properties for the Cochimi.
There were two other shelters about 75 meters below the Mask on the right (south) that were checked out and had nothing in them.

Continuing up the arroyo. . .

Cave SB 5R C7 at about 1.5kms and 26.71480, 111.93665 and 105 meters altitude is more of a shelter than a cave as it is quite open at the top. This shelter is about 100 meters away from the arroyo and only slightly higher. This shelter faces west and is about 60 meters wide, 25 meter high and 8 meters deep and would provide sun shelter only early and late in the day. 2 Metates were found here. Native Andesite outcropping at rear of shelter and extensive shards point to harvesting of material for points and edges. There were no shells and no art.

Photo Cave SB 5R C7-1 by author

One of the metates found in Cave SB 5R C7

photo SB 5R C7-5 by author

Slightly further north at 26.71593, 111.93527 and about 129 meters at the arroyo level and about 1.75kms from the arroyo junction, the arroyo narrows into a jumble of large car size and house size rocks and steep arroyo sides.

Rocks block the way

Hard to walk here without assistance or a ladder in climbing over and around rocks so turned back. I tried on two other occasions to pass this part of the arroyo without success.

Rocks with water worn chute

Proceeding on up the arroyo past the large rocks (if you can) you will find. . . .

Draw to left at 2.2kms and 26.720511, 111.935968 Fairly steep with large pinnacle shaped rocks at top where there appears to be a hanging valley heading northwest. Rock outcroppings at lip of this valley face north and are quite prominent. About 1km up this draw/valley there are two large outcroppings facing NW, one on each side of the arroyo at 26.725708, 111.943221 Might be worth while checking this out. . . . and there is more. . . There is about 3.5kms of arroyo past this point, plus washes, and many prospective cave locations.