Kelley trenched this “mescal pit” at Loma Alta. Also known as “ring middens” or “roasting pits,” similar features were associated with several La Junta sites. Based on analyses of similar features at many sites in the American Southwest and the western half of Texas, these almost certainly represent earth oven facilities used to bake mescal (agave) and/or sotol, as Kelley surmised. He suggested that La Junta may have supplied baked mescal (presumably in the form of dried sugary cakes) to Casas Grandes, although there is as yet little real evidence to support this idea. It is perhaps more likely that baked desert succulents were simply part of the La Junta diet, as they were throughout the Trans-Pecos. From Kelley 1986, Figure 9.
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