ABOUT THIS BOOK
In 1698, the Apache and their allies attacked a sleeping Sobaipuri-O’odham village on the San Pedro River at the northern edge of New Spain, now in southern Arizona. This book, about one of the most important Southwestern battles of the era in this region, reads like a mystery. At the same time, it addresses in a scholarly fashion the methodological question of how we can confidently infer anything reliable about the past.
Translations of original Spanish accounts by Father Kino and others convey important details about the battle, while the archaeological record and ethnographic and oral traditions provide important correctives to the historic account. A new battlefield signature of native American conflict is identified, and the fiery context of the battle provides unprecedented information about what the Sobaipuri grew and hunted in this out-of-the-way location, including the earliest known wheat.
That this tumultuous time was a period of flux is reflected in the defensive, communal, and ceremonial architecture of the O'odham, which accommodated Spanish tastes and techniques. Practices specific to the O’odham as they relate to the day’s events and to village life illuminate heretofore unexplained aspects of the battle. The book also records a visit by descendant O’odham, reinforcing the importance of identifying the historically documented location.
A Fateful Day in 1698 will be of significant interest to archaeologists and historians.