The University of Arizona
Arizona State Museum
Cerro de Trincheras with rainbow at sunset In Flight: Español   
Stone walls of a trincheras site from above
Adriel Heisey's Images of Trincheras Archaeology

An exhibition of Arizona State Museum
and the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History



In an ultra-light airplane of his own construction, nationally recognized photographer and author Adriel Heisey captures the essence of Southwest landscapes from a unique airborne perspective. Spectacular images of "trincheras" sites on their hilltop settings are the result of Heisey's collaboration with Arizona State Museum (ASM) and Mexican archaeologists in recentAdriel Heisey posing with his ultra-light and camera years. These images were on display in a compelling exhibition at Arizona State Museum opening in November 2001 and running through the end of May 2002.

Jointly presented by the prestigious Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the photographs are a unique meeting of time and space, as they explore ancient archaeological sites from the sky above. The exhibition focuses on trincheras sites in the Tucson vicinity and in northern Sonora. Archaeologists use the term trincheras (which literally means "entrenchments" - a term first used by the Spanish explorers to whom the walls resembled fortifications) to describe hilltop ruins of rock terraces, walls, and houses. Visitors will enjoy examining these intriguing prehistoric sites through Heisey's aerial photographs and through actual artifacts excavated from trincheras sites by ASM and INAH archaeologists.

"Trincheras sites were constructed as early as 3,000 years ago. The latest ones were still occupied during the century in which Columbus reached the New World," says Arizona State Museum archaeologist and trincheras expert, Suzy Fish. "Several large trincheras sites have proved to be villages with houses and public buildings." Some local trincheras sites are at Tumamoc Hill, Cerro Prieto in the Samaneigo Hills, and Los Morteros at the north end of the Tucson Mountains. Others are found not only in Sonora, but also in New Mexico and Chihuahua.

Hilltop trincehras siteExcavations at Cerro de Trinceras

Continue the Online Exhibit

About Adriel Heisey

Trincheras Bibliography

Aerial photos by Adriel Heisey. 
Photo of Heisey by Jannelle Weakly.

All images in this exhibition are protected by copyright.

Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona CONACULTA - INAH, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia

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