The Discovery, Excavation, and Lessons of Ironwood Village, an Early Hohokam Ballcourt Settlement Near Tucson, Arizona

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

Encroached upon by the urbanization of the Tucson metropolitan area, what was thought to be a modest, nameless artifact scatter was archaeologically opened as part of a compliance-based mitigation project. What surprisingly emerged was Ironwood Village, a primary ballcourt community where hundreds of Hohokam lived, gathered around ballgames and communal feasts, and died between about A.D. 600 and 850. This remarkable site, the manner of its discovery, and treatment of its archaeological and consultative opportunities offer a variety of insights and lessons that aren't of the usual sort. This symposium views the rare discovery of Ironwood Village in its various contexts—prehistoric, archaeological, and methodological.

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  • Documents (4)

  • Digital Archaeology at Ironwood Village: A Model for Archaeology’s Paperless Future (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Thomas Motsinger. Shawn Fehrenbach.

    The particular challenges at the Ironwood Village excavations—time constraints, burgeoning data opportunities, and management of a complex array of excavation staff and machinery--begged for a modernized approach to data collection and workflow management. PaleoWest Archaeology’s digital workflow system—already four years in development—was customized for the project and implemented throughout. The result was one of the world’s first all-digital major excavation projects, the success of which...

  • Games, Feasting, and Trade Fairs: Assessing the Relationship between Ballcourts and Exchange at the Ironwood Village Site (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Andrew Lack. Todd Bostwick.

    A significant amount of research in Hohokam archaeology has been dedicated to understanding the structure of interaction and exchange. One particular model that has gained recent momentum is that of a marketplace economy revolving around ballcourt events that served as gathering points for social and economic interaction. These markets, or trade fairs, would have provided a reliable mechanism for the exchange of goods to spatially and socially disparate populations. Feasting also may have been...

  • The Ironwood Village Cemeteries: Exploration of Burial Customs at an 8th Century Hohokam Village (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Douglas Mitchell. Teresa Ingalls.

    Studies of burial practices in southern Arizona and the Tucson Basin have been limited to data from small scale excavations. Recent excavations were conducted at the Ironwood Village site, a late Pioneer and Colonial Period Hohokam village along the Santa Cruz River. Eleven cemeteries were identified surrounding a central ballcourt and plaza, which included over 250 cremations and 4 inhumations. This paper explores burial methods, physical anthropology, funerary accompaniments, and spatial...

  • An Overview of Architectural Practice at the Ironwood Village, Northern Tucson Basin, Arizona (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kye Miller.

    This paper provides a brief review of the Ironwood Village site structure, an overview of architectural styles observed at the site, a discussion of variation in architectural practice observed at the site, and a regional comparison of Hohokam pit structure architecture within the greater Tucson Basin. Data recovery at the Ironwood Village site resulted in the discovery of nearly a hundred Pioneer and Colonial period architectural features. The area investigated was centered around a large...