A Synthesis of Tonto Basin Prehistory: The Roosevelt Archaeology Studies, 1989 to 1998
Part of the Roosevelt Platform Mound Study: Summary and Synthesis Reports project
Editor(s): Glen E. Rice
Between 1989 and 1993, the Bureau of Reclamation funded four archaeological projects in Tonto Basin of central Arizona, all associated with the modification of the Theodore Roosevelt Dam. The projects were assigned different research objectives and were conducted by separate research teams. The Roosevelt Bajada Survey (RBS) was a sampling survey by SWCA Inc. of portions of the bajada and foothills surrounding Tonto Basin. The Roosevelt Rural Sites Study (RRSS) conducted by Statistical Research focused on small agricultural and habitation sites in the rural areas away from the large settlements in the basin. Desert Archaeology Inc. of Tucson was responsible for the Roosevelt Community Development Study (RCDS), and their aim was to provide a longitudinal record of the history of occupation of Tonto Basin. The Roosevelt Platform Mound Study (RPMS), conducted by the Office of Cultural Resource Management at Arizona State University (ASU), studied the organization of Classic period platform mound complexes. As the study progressed, Reclamation modified the Platform Mound Study to include the investigation of a series of 44 sites on the bajada that had been identified in the survey conducted by SWCA.
This volume draws on the results of the various projects to test propositions about Tonto Basin prehistory and it identifies areas in which differences in analyses lead to incomparable sets of results. The emphasis is on empirically testing each proposition; analogy to historic and ethnographic examples is an excellent basis for suggesting hypotheses about the past, but it does not substitute for tests of archaeological hypotheses using archaeological data.
The Roosevelt archaeology projects amassed data on a truly remarkable scale, and those data were used to test a number of hypotheses about prehistoric society. Many of the hypotheses formulated to glide the research were rejected, and the results led to unexpected views on how the populations in Tonto Basin were organized and how they related to the populations of the surrounding regions. Several hypotheses, for instance, dealt with the degree of cooperation that ought to occur between settlements in trade or subsistence, positing there was either a lot or only a little cooperation. None of these hypotheses prepared us, however, for the finding that relationships among settlements were often highly competitive. People in Tonto Basin competed for agricultural land, trade contacts, and ultimately for occupancy of the basin itself.
This volume is written by members of the Platform Mound Study team but is intended as a summary of the results of all four Reclamation projects. There is, as a consequence, no stand-alone synthesis for the Platform Mound Study. Members of the research team have incorporated summaries of the results in the site description volumes for the study, and readers are referred to those volumes for summaries that pertain specifically to the RPMS.
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
- Roosevelt Platform Mound Study (RPMS): Summary and Synthesis Reports: Environment and Subsistence, Ceramics and Social Organization, and Synthesis of Tonto Basin Prehistory. Also four short articles on related topics •
- Theodore Roosevelt Dam Archaeological Project •
- Center for Archaeology & Society
Cite this Record
A Synthesis of Tonto Basin Prehistory: The Roosevelt Archaeology Studies, 1989 to 1998. Glen E. Rice. Roosevelt Monograph Series ,12. Tempe, Arizona: Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University. 1998 ( tDAR id: 394298) ; doi:10.6067/XCV81V5GRZ
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Architectural Documentation • Bioarchaeological Research • Collections Research • Data Recovery / Excavation • Environment Research • Heritage Management • Historic Background Research • Methodology, Theory, or Synthesis
min long: -111.288; min lat: 33.604 ; max long: -110.926; max lat: 33.805 ;
Individual & Institutional Roles
Lab Director(s): Arleyn Simon
Sponsor(s): USDI Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix Area Office
Repository(s): Center for Archaeology and Society, Arizona State University
Prepared By(s): Office of Cultural Resource Management, Arizona State University
Submitted To(s): USDI Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix Area Office
Anthropological Field Studies(s): 41
Bureau of Reclamation Contract No.(s): 9-CS-32-06230
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