The Hohokam Los Robles platform mound is from the 13th century and is monitored by Arizona Site Stewards. Vandalism is frequently noted.
Three of us went to this site about 40 miles on the northwest side of Tucson.
One has to walk about 1000 feet through the desert to get to the mound. Unauthorized vehicles have driven in there so now there is a drive path to the base of the 2-meter high mound.
Even though it is a short walk we have all our desert paraphernalia with/on us: adorned hats, boots, backpacks with cameras, water, measuring tape - the works.
On this day we saw fresh boots and tire tracks in the path so we left the path and walked along side of it to preserve the prints if needed later for evidence.
At the mound several new and big holes had been dug. Plainware sherds stacked on top one another, presumably decorated ones gone. More boot prints - we were careful to not step on them.
We measured the holes, got GPS readings, took pictures and noted the soda can, tossed into the creosote bush (aha-good for DNA testing!).
Our work completed, we looked up and saw a vehicle approaching from the north. Dang! Could it be the perps returning?
“We better get back to the car,” someone called out.
The vehicle pulled in next to ours! No way could we get license number or other info on the vehicle we would need for our report. And how do we make a safe get-a-way?
Two people got out of the vehicle – man and woman.
They didn’t talk.
They headed towards us.
We left the mound and began a slow meander back to our vehicle. We spoke in loud voices pretending to notice flowers/plants along the way but whispered in clipped words the need of and how to get out of this possible dangerous situation we were in.
“He’s got a gun,” I whispered to my partners. Now we are scared, as we know pothunters can be very dangerous.
Nervously, we kept walking towards our vehicle. They kept walking towards us.
I noticed a logo over the left side of the man’s t-shirt and I was sure it read POLICE.
“Hey, you are Police. Whew! We are so glad you are here. The area has been hit again.”
He laughingly responded, “A BLM crew called in the vandalism report a few hours ago. We saw you drive up and thought you were going to resume pot hunting. We were sure you were the perps! We have been watching you from atop the hill. We saw the backpacks and flowers on the straw hat. Well, we have never seen a pothunter wear a flowered hat!”