Tucson construction site reveals over 2500-year-old human footprint

Archaeologists investigating a parcel near Interstate 10 discovered probably the oldest human tracks found so far in the American Southwest. The construction site just North of Tucson contains footprints of people, their children and even dogs. The fields appear to date to the Early Agricultural Period, a span between about 2500 BCE and 50 CE when some of the Southwest’s first farmers began cultivating crops.

A footprint of an ancient farmer found at the site (by Western Digs)
A footprint of an ancient farmer found at the site (by Western Digs)

The prints number in the dozens and depict the movements of several adults and at least one child. The barefoot tracks are distinct enough that the movements of specific individuals can be followed across the 15-meter-square field that’s been uncovered. The tracks were preserved in such pristine condition because of a sudden flood from a nearby creek.

The excavation site (by Western Digs)
The excavation site (by Western Digs)

In one case, a set of deep, large prints shows that a heavy adult male trod diagonally across the field, stopped and then took a different path across the field and over the ditch. Soon after the prints were made the creek overran its banks, covering them in its uniquely mica-rich sandy sediment, forming a kind of mineralized cast.

(after Western Digs)

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