Archaeologists churn up ancient tools, figurine near Prescott, AZ

Prescott Newspapers Online

Archaeologists uncovered one of the largest pestles ever found on the Prescott National Forest while excavating a site for the Gray Wolf landfill expansion last week.

A pestle is a long, conical grinding tool with a pointed end that ancient native people used to grind harder items such as nuts and minerals for paint. …

People of the Prescott Culture during the Chino phase, which dates between 1100 A.D. and 1300 A.D., used the site.

After that time, drier sites the Prescott Culture and others inhabited around the Southwest such as the Hohokam, Anasazi and Mogollon experienced widespread abandonment. They left during the “Great Drought of the Southwest.” Tree-ring dating shows the drought occurred between 1276 and 1299.

The Prescott Culture range covered much of western Yavapai County, especially in the Prescott Basin, as far back as 200 A.D. They had a strong Hohokam influence, in that the Hohokam settled the upper Agua Fria watershed around 750 A.D. to 850 A.D.

Archaeologists disagree about whether the Yavapai people are related to the Prescott Culture. Some theorize that the Yavapai came to this area after the Prescott Culture abandoned it.