“A substantive contribution to understanding the archaeology of the Sobaipuri O'odham. Seymour has questioned the extant interpretations of both earlier scholars and herself and applied hard-won data and insights to produce a coherent reappraisal of the Sobaipuri on the southern Arizona landscape.”
—Rochelle Marrinan, Florida State University
“A major scholarly work and an important addition to the literature.”
—Todd Bostwick, Verde Valley Archaeology Center
The result of decades of research, A Green Band in a Parched and Burning Land presents a thorough and detailed understanding of the Sobaipuri O’odham—arguably the most influential and powerful Indigenous group in southern Arizona in the terminal prehistoric and early historic periods, yet one of the least understood and under-studied to have occupied the region. Deni J. Seymour combines historical sources with fresh archaeological data and oral history to reveal an astonishingly different view of, and revise conventional wisdom around, the native history of the region.
First and foremost irrigation farmers, the Sobaipuri O’odham permanently occupied verdant strips along all major rivers in the region—including the headwaters of the San Pedro and various other areas thought to be beyond their domain. Seymour draws on career-spanning fieldwork, conversations with direct descendants (the O’odham residents of Wa:k), and recent breakthroughs in archaeological, ethnographic, and ethnohistorical research to shed light on their unique forms of landscape use, settlement patterns, and way of life. She details the building materials, linear site layout, and other elements of their singular archaeological signature; newly established dating for individual sites, complex building episodes, and occupational sequences; and evidence of cumulative village occupation as well as the habitation of river valleys and other locales long after supposed abandonment. The book also explains the key relationships between site distributions and landscape characteristics.
Addressing some of the longest-standing archaeological and historical questions about the Sobaipuri O’odham, A Green Band in a Parched and Burning Land reorients the discussion of their crucial place in the history of the region in constructive new directions.