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Tiny placer workings? WTH?


lotsa luck

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I have seen a lot of old workings but in this area that is new to me I keep finding the main washes devoid of any historic signs of working and when tested no gold at all even though they are all within known big gold producing areas. One thing that is constant is finding a very old road cut that is long forgotten or traveled but when followed closely ends up at some old hand stacked washes that are all less than 100 feet long or have only been worked every 30 feet or so leaving large areas undisturbed between workings on the same wash. Samples come up empty of those washes yet people clearly were mining there a long time for something.

The pics show some of the small washes that were scrubbed to clean bedrock and one of the large cabin ruins. This one measured 35' by 20' which is gigantic for an old prospector homestead here. There are some small hard rock diggings within a stones throw of the cabin also but no veins showing in them.

Strange little 1/2 circle stacked rocks around also. Not old enough to be native American but not modern either.

Any ideas are welcome to figure this area out before giving up on it.

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windbreak for sleeping ??? the last pic i am referring to.

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Late 1800’s & depression era in some area’s there were some very hard times.

Especially so for desert prospectors.

Water, food, shade & wood was scarce.

Some who could toiled like slave labor for a month, for $20 in gold.

Half circles are wind breaks.

If they kept moving & hand stacking cobbles.

They were getting some gold.

Otherwise, they would not have kept at it.

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Howdy Bob, there is a wash that I have found allot of nuggets in over the years South of here that was worked like that. Not sure if it was because there was not much in the way of fines and mostly nugget gold in the wash? We tested with a drywasher the areas they did not work and got only a few small specks, but hauled several ounces of nuggets from the same wash and same areas detecting. They were spotty but nuggets were there so the areas the old timers cleaned must have been pretty good since they were where gold would logically concentrate. I guess they just figured it was not worth moving the dirt in the other areas?

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Looks like a goat camp to me. At one time Angora goats were big

business in Arizona,and New Mexico. Goat and sheep herders had

lots of spare time,and for some reason they loved to stack rocks. A

lot of them prospected while the goats grazed too.

If those rock circles are on high ground,you can bet that they were

wind breaks for the herders. look around for horseshoe nails and old

charcoal near the rock circle.

The size of the cabin matches a typical goat camp. Actually they were

a combination herder shack and barn. The rock circles are where the

herder hung out while watching his herd graze,kind of like a guard post.

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The stone 1/2 circles are all in a tight little canyon where wind would be minimal. They look like fire breaks for bonfires, also not the norm then and there is no fire pits in them. Not country for grazing sheep by any means and the remnants of the cabin are clear that it was one large cabin that collapsed, all cut nails in the remains. I'm certain the place was all mining related and the best estimate is they were working small sections of feeder drainage's that were pretty rich, but they would clean it well for 30' then jump up another 50' or so in the same drainage and do the same thing. The untouched areas between show no workings at all and show no color at all. Never seen that in old working except this one and it seems to be the norm there for several square miles. The old cairns are very close indicating the claims were very old when claim sizes were tiny compared to today.

The area gets very few visitors and we didn't see even one old shotgun shell, let alone any beer cans or modern trash. On my to do list with a detector I guess. Thinking a day trip with Bill could be fun...

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wind patterns can change and these could also reflect the campfire heat as well as offer some protection from wildlife ..if you dig down a little in the open part of the circle you will probably find campfire remnants. At that time the walls could also have offered protection from arrows... especially if it was a spanish outfit. as their logic was not always spot on.... and depending upon the location maybe they were mining for other resources besides gold... just a thought.

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LL

I said GOATS not sheep,and that is perfect country for goats.

Also if those half circles are in a tight little canyon ,it is perfect for

salt licks and feeders.,hence the half circles. The lumber from that

cabin is common for the 1900's homestead era. Square cut nails

are no real indicator ,they can still be bought. Both the cabin and

road shows early 1900's and later.

I can show the same stuff on my claims,and it is documented as an

early goat ranch. Not everyone was looking for gold. There was just

as much or more interest in other minerals and even clay.

Why would a miner waste time stacking rock half circles ?

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The stone 1/2 circles are all in a tight little canyon where wind would be minimal. They look like fire breaks for bonfires, also not the norm then and there is no fire pits in them. Not country for grazing sheep by any means and the remnants of the cabin are clear that it was one large cabin that collapsed, all cut nails in the remains. I'm certain the place was all mining related and the best estimate is they were working small sections of feeder drainage's that were pretty rich, but they would clean it well for 30' then jump up another 50' or so in the same drainage and do the same thing. The untouched areas between show no workings at all and show no color at all. Never seen that in old working except this one and it seems to be the norm there for several square miles. The old cairns are very close indicating the claims were very old when claim sizes were tiny compared to today.

The area gets very few visitors and we didn't see even one old shotgun shell, let alone any beer cans or modern trash. On my to do list with a detector I guess. Thinking a day trip with Bill could be fun...

I'm in Bob... Got a new dog to break in Nugget will like him.

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The digging was in the washes I think guys... and stacking there with the other rocks stacked elsewhere in half circles nearer the home site if I read correctly. Cleaning and stacking in a wash to bedrock usually gets my blood pumping. Soooooo placer miners with goats? :D Mexican miners in days of old often indeed had goats for milk and food... Why else work so many washes?

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As soon as it cools down a little more Bill we will do it and I will pick up that detector from you. They were all mining claims by the tell tail cairns that are close together. The rock 1/2 circles could be grave marking of some type since they are a few hundred feet from the cabin and about the right size to encompass a body.

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Adam makes a good point , but it is entirely possible that there are remnants of multiple occupations at that location many years apart. County archives could possibly show some info ...Jiust don't upset any ghosts !!!!!

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Fellows

For anyone that wants to know the truth about ,the ground they are prospecting,

I will post a link to some facts that may get your attention.

www.prescottcorral.org/TT3/V2AngoraGoatRanching.htm. Hunt this up,and you

could be way ahead when looking over new ground.

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Sawmill ... Did I miss something here ... a link to goat herding? I know it took place in gold country and they (the goats) were great land clearers ... got that from some old western movies where the cattle ranchers fought against the sheep and goat herders. Iknow I am missing something here. Or maybe I need to reread after my second coffee instead of during my first! :)

Mike F

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Sawmill ... Did I miss something here ... a link to goat herding? I know it took place in gold country and they (the goats) were great land clearers ... got that from some old western movies where the cattle ranchers fought against the sheep and goat herders. Iknow I am missing something here. Or maybe I need to reread after my second coffee instead of during my first! :)

Mike F

Mike after all those years in real estate you should know not to try and solve anything before the fourth cup

of coffee :hmmmmm: :hmmmmm:

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Fellows

For anyone that wants to know the truth about ,the ground they are prospecting,

I will post a link to some facts that may get your attention.

www.prescottcorral.org/TT3/V2AngoraGoatRanching.htm. Hunt this up,and you

could be way ahead when looking over new ground.

Thanks for the article sawmill. It brings back a lot of memories. I spent summers in my youth on one of several family goat ranches in West Texas.

First of all goats are not grazers but browsers. That means they eat bushes, trees, bark, cactus and just about anything else that appeals to them at the moment. They quite easily live in desert environments. Central Arizona would have seemed like goat growers paradise compared to West Texas for my goat roping ancestors.

I spent a lot of time riding fence lines and checking for Angora hung up in brush as a kid. I saw the same semicircular rock structures and hand stacking in the washes there as you show in your pictures. West Texas has no gold.

The way my great Uncle explained it to me was, the rock semicircles were to protect the new born kids from the wind and snow. Kids are born in early spring. Sometimes new mothers are pretty clueless and the herders would have to care for the newborn until they could get them "mothered up".

The hand stacking was a way of keeping the occasional rain moving down the washes to catch basins. When raising goats in the open they prefer little water catch basins here and there so they don't have to travel miles just to get a drink at a stock tank. The herders would clear rock from any spot that tended to collect the water rather than letting it pass downstream.

I can't speak to what you are finding lotsa luck but it sure looks like the same goat herding structures I saw as a kid.

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Mike,

Well his post makes sense. The PDF i posted was in california i think so i figured it could apply here not knowing which state LL was talking about. The half circles are confusing because they can mean several different things. Some were just landmarks. I guess they meant different things to different cultures.

Rim

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Clay

I figured that someone would get it sooner or later. I didn't want to spill all the

beans,so some of these guys could do some research. Goats are just one part

of the history that can cause people to jump to conclusions. That land has been

used by all kinds of people for a hundred different reasons. That is why it pays

to research all history for a new prospect area. Not all diggings were for gold,

and rocks were tinkered with by lots of people for different reasons.

Plus several of those goat ranchers took over old mining areas,and several

mine owners also owned large herds of goats as a side business. My wife's

family has owned thousands of goats and several mines. Their ranch is covered

with kid shelters , salt licks and feeders built of stacked stone. There is several

kid shelters and herder shelters on my claims too. The herder shelters are all

on high ground ,so they could watch their goats without chasing through the

cactus ,boulders,and brush all day.

During the early year's there was people homesteading some of the most God

awful land in some of the most remote places that you can imagine,for different

reasons. I knew that the goat thing would raise some eyebrows. :ROFL:

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Thanks for the education sawmill... I have a question about a rock stack i found but will start a new thread as soon as i upload the pics to my photobucket... thanks again to all involved in this thread....

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