Culturally there is a long history of human activity here, beginning with the Clovis culture approximately 9000 BCE, and continuing through the pre-Columbian and early Spanish periods. Besides scattered petroglyphs and pictographs and adobe ruins, however, there's little from this early history for the traveler to easily appreciate. In contrast, the region's more recent Apache, Mexican, and American history is inescapable.
Clovis people, and possibly pre-Clovis cultures inhabited this land during the last ice age. Hunting mega-fauna and traveling with the seasons, they were expert creators of spear points and other stone tools that have been found throughout the Americas. The sky islands of southern Arizona were most likely actual islands during this time when a shallow sea covered the valleys. To look out across the landscape and imagine a blue sea with the prominet hills and mountains towering out of the water is magical to behold. Unfortunately there are no written records or oral traditions that have been handed down from these people and we are left wondering what histories they could have shared. However through DNA analysis we have confirmed that modern day native Americans are related to the Clovis peoples.
Apache Indians also made this there home and we do have many stories of their lives and history of the area. Cochise and Geronimo were some of the most famous natives to have traveled and lived on the Dragoon mountains. Cochise is buried among the rocks here in a hidden crypt as was his request. Stone mortars used to grind food and petroglyphs (rock paintings) are scattered throughout the mountain and have been preserved though the ages to give us a window in to how they lived. Many ancient sites in southern Arizona have been excavated and many artifacts are on display at the near by Amerind Museum (www.amerind.org/).
Even more recently this area was cowboy country. Wyatt Earp and company rode all throughout the area with the legendary Tombstone just a short drive away. Johnny Ringo's grave still rests across the valley at the base of the Chiricahuas. Ranchers brought cattle and settled the valley forever altering the landscape. The cowboy roots of much of southern Arizona is evident in the architecture and lifestyle of the southwest.