Five Great Places to See Evidence of First Americans
Encounter the fossils and other remnants of the lives left behind by the continent’s original settlers
- By Guy Gugliotta
- Smithsonian magazine, February 2013
Sierra Vista, Arizona
This remote attraction in the eastern Arizona desert on the Mexico border is part of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Since the 1960s, archaeologists working here have uncovered thousands of stone artifacts and large mammal bones from the Pleistocene era 12,000 to 13,000 years ago—the largest Clovis cache in the Southwest. Researchers say it was a butchering site. Today the Murray Springs dig can be reached by a short but rugged walking trail. The site does not have exhibits or a museum. Consider stopping in Sierra Vista to check in with the Friends of the San Pedro River, a volunteer organization that leads hikes to Murray Springs. Bring your own water. Open year-round.