Wed, June 26

1926: CAMP VERDE: Discovery of Ancient Miners, December.


"It is a considerable time since the Verde Copper News announced the finding of an ancient skeleton in the sodium sulphate deposit at Camp Verde. When the announcement was made, many geologists, biologists and antiquarians denied the possibility of such a find, claiming that the remains had slipped down a surface crack and, later become imbedded in the sulphate. The finding of several other traces of human operation of the deposit served to question the correctness of this assertation and it now seems certain that our predecessors searched for the rock salt many, many centuries ago and that the skeletons which have been unearthed represent the remains of a mighty ancient occupancy of the country."

"A curious fact was demonstrated during the present month, and that is that the ancient inhabitants were sufficiently advanced in civilization to run drifts into the sulphate deposit and to mine the halite or rock salt which is so common. The gasoline shovel opened a long tunnel at a depth of between 25 and 30 feet from the top of the deposit, and which had been run a considerable distance."

"Like all the ancient underground workings that have been opened in the state, this tunnel was very small, hardly three feet high and very narrow, affording but room for one man to work at a time. Its chief peculiarity is that the aborigines had a pretty fair idea of comfort, for the floor of the tunnel is completely covered with a fine and well made mat of fibers, small sticks and lashing. The old boys did not believe in wearing out their knees on the rough salt."

"MANY RELICS FOUND: Literally hundreds of broken stone picks and hammers have been taken out of this working and handles, simply to no end. Most of the relics, including the skeletons, have been sent to the state museum and there's a cartload of artifacts ready for inspection by Dean Cummings when he makes his next trip into the district."

"Like the roofing at the Montezuma Castle, the matting shows a well developed stage of civilization and a disposition to make working conditions comfortable. Most of the fiber appears to be from some such trees as the Yucca and no inconsiderable amount of skill is shown in its manufacture and its placing."

(Verde Copper News; Jerome; Tuesday, December 21, 1926; page 3, columns 1-3.)