Granite Reef: A Study in Desert Archaeology

Editor(s): Patricia E. Brown; Connie L. Stone

Year: 1982


Under contract with the Under contract with the Bureau of Reclamation, the Office of Cultural Resource Management (OCRM), Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University conducted the Granite Reef Aquedcut archaeological project over a period of five years to mitigate the adverse effects of aqueduct and water control feature construction. The project was organized around a series of archaeological surveys, data recovery tasks, and problem-oriented analyses that were guided by a consistent research orientation. Project cultural resource investigations were organized according to the Granite Reef Aqueduct's individual units, or reaches, which were constructed in separate phases.

Archaeological investigations of the Granite Reef Aqueduct and Transmission System (GRATS) were initiated in 1968, the year in which construction of the Central Arizona Project was authorized by the Colorado River Basin Act (P.L. 90-537). As final construction specifications for the Granite Reef project were developed, substantial portions of the aqueduct and transmission line routes were realigned and numerous features were added. Because the actual area affected by the construction differed significantly from the original feasibility alignment, a resurvey of virtually the entire project area was required. The resurveys began in February 1976. By the spring of 1977, it was apparent that this segmented approach did not facilitate either the archaeological research or the construction schedule.

Thus, the Bureau of Reclamation and the OCRM devised an "on-call" contract to reconcile the requirements of project scheduling, compliance with federal and state regulations governing cultural resources, and standards of archaeological research. On October 7, 1977 the Granite Reef on-call Cultural Resource Contract Number 8-07-32-V0039 was awarded to the OCRM.

The final report of the Granite Reef Aqueduct cultural investigations summarizes the results of OCRM's cultural resource investigations along the realigned reaches of the aqueduct right-of-way and in the vicinity of aqueduct features. The project collected and examined cultural resource data from an area exceeding 13, 500 hectares (34,000 acres) in size.

The report presents cultural resource analyses and interpretations that convey the potential for interpreting the often enigmatic archaeology of the southwest deserts. It discusses the challenges inherent to studying the widely diverse and often minimal resources distributed along hundreds of kilometers of aqueduct and transmission line. The report chapters describe the project's efforts to integrate these resources into a meaningful regional framework through the use the of innovative and sometimes unconventional data recovery and analysis techniques. Realistically, it was not possible to explore all of the promising directions suggested by the data during the course of the project.

The final report includes the following chapters. Chapter 2 presents the research orientation that provided the basis for project analysis and archaeological interpretation. Chapter 3 reviews the project database, and describes site type information for the general region traversed by the Granite Reef system. This study used a general classification system based on the size and continuity of the distribution of cultural material and the classes of artifacts present. Chapter 4 discusses the ceramics recovered from Granite Reef sites and grapples with the problems of plain ware interpretation using discriminant analysis, a statistical classification technique, to evaluate conventional methods of ceramic analysis of three major wares in the region. The results of this multifaceted approach are used to illuminate patterns of interaction within the regional study area. Chapters 5 through 7 detail the analyses of the 20,000+ lithic artifacts recovered from the project area.Chapter 8 discusses the "architectural features found within the project right-of-way. These consisted solely of cobble rings, clusters and alignments. Chapter 9 presents a regional settlement model which examines patterns of desert resource use and interaction within the study area. The model is expressed in the form of computer-based, cartographic images which enable the simultaneous consideration of a large number of factors influencing hypothesized forms of settlement and provides a predictive basis for future research in the region. Chapter 10 gives an historical review of the study area. The concluding chapter seeks to reconcile the objectives of the project with the results, and to weigh the effectiveness of the conceptual approaches and methods which were used to extract understanding from the objects and information recovered from the study area.

Cite this Record

Granite Reef: A Study in Desert Archaeology. Patricia E. Brown, Connie L. Stone. 1982 ( tDAR id: 393083) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8NK3GX5


Hohokam Patayan Yuman

Building Materials Ceramic Chipped Stone Fire Cracked Rock Glass Ground Stone Metal

Site Name
AZ F:5:1(ASU) AZ F:5:2(ASU) AZ L:12:1(ASU) AZ L:16:2(ASU) AZ L:16:3(ASU) AZ M:13:1(ASU) AZ M:13:2(ASU) AZ S:1:1(ASM) AZ S:1:1(ASU) AZ S:1:2(ASU) AZ S:1:3(ASM) AZ S:1:3(ASU) AZ S:1:4(ASU) AZ S:1:5(ASU) AZ S:1:6(ASU) AZ S:1:8(ASU) AZ S:2:2(ASU) AZ S:5:1(ASU) AZ S:6:1(ASU) AZ S:6:2(ASM) AZ S:6:2(ASU) AZ S:6:3(ASU) AZ S:6:4(ASM) AZ S:6:4(ASU) AZ S:6:5(ASM) AZ S:6:5(ASU) AZ S:6:6(ASM) AZ S:6:6(ASU) AZ S:6:7(ASU) AZ S:7:1(ASM) AZ S:7:1(ASU) AZ S:7:10(ASU) AZ S:7:11(ASU) AZ S:7:12(ASU) AZ S:7:13(ASU) AZ S:7:2(ASM) AZ S:7:2(ASU) AZ S:7:3(ASM) AZ S:7:3(ASU) AZ S:7:4(ASM) AZ S:7:4(ASU) AZ S:7:5(ASU) AZ S:7:6(ASU) AZ S:7:7(ASU) AZ S:7:8(ASU) AZ S:7:9(ASU) AZ S:8:1(ASM) AZ S:8:11(ASU) AZ S:8:12(ASU) AZ S:8:13(ASU) AZ S:8:14(ASU) AZ S:8:2(ASM) AZ S:8:5(ASU) AZ S:8:6(ASU) AZ T:3:11(ASU) AZ T:3:12(ASU) AZ T:3:13(ASU) AZ T:3:14(ASU) AZ T:3:15(ASU) AZ T:3:16(ASU) AZ T:3:18(ASU) AZ T:3:19(ASU) AZ T:4:53(ASU) AZ T:5:1(ASU) AZ T:5:2(ASU) AZ T:5:3(ASU) AZ T:5:4(ASU) AZ T:5:5(ASU) AZ T:6:1(ASU) AZ T:6:13(ASM) AZ T:6:2(ASU) AZ T:6:3(ASU) AZ T:6:4(ASU) AZ T:6:5(ASU) AZ T:7:32(ASU) AZ T:8:53(ASU) AZ T:8:78(ASU) AZ T:8:79(ASU) AZ T:8:80(ASU) AZ T:8:81(ASU) AZ T:8:82(ASU) AZ T:8:83(ASU) AZ T:8:84(ASU) AZ T:8:85(ASU) AZ U:5:67(ASU) AZ U:5:68(ASU) AZ U:5:69(ASU) AZ U:5:70(ASU) AZ U:6:4(ASU) Show More

Spatial Coverage

min long: -114.147; min lat: 33.486 ; max long: -111.658; max lat: 34.334 ;

Record Identifiers

Bureau of Reclamation Contract No.(s): 8-07-32-V0039

Arizona State University Anthropological Field Studies No. (s): 3

File Information

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Contact(s): USDI Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix Area Office