Archaeology of the Salado in the Livingston Area of Tonto Basin, Roosevelt Platform Mound Study: Report on the Livingston Management Group, Pinto Creek Complex. Part 1

Part of the Roosevelt Platform Mound Study: Pinto Creek Complex, Livingston Area Sites, Pillar Mound, Pinto Point Sites, Pinto Point Mound (DRAFT) project

Editor(s): Glen E. Rice

Year: 1994


Platform mounds appeared about 100 years later in the Tonto Basin than in the more southerly parts of the Sonoran Desert (e.g., Hayden 1957:186-189; Fish et al. 1992). The first small mounds were built in the Tonto Basin in the decades following A.D. 1250, but the concept gained rapid acceptance, and by the mid-1300s, the 50-kilometer length of the basin was dominated by ten large, regularly spaced mounds (Wood 1989). The mounds and their associated communities were occupied until shortly after A.D. 1450, when the Salado abruptly left the Tonto Basin, apparently joining a general exodus from the Sonoran Desert during which the platform mounds of the Salt and Gila rivers were also deserted.

This volume is one in a series of reports by the Roosevelt Platform Mound Study dealing with the Salado platform mounds and communities of the Tonto Basin. It examines a cluster of 14 sites at the east end of the Tonto Basin which are referred to collectively as the Livingston Management Group sites because they lie in the vicinity of a briefly occupied, early twentieth century historic settlement of that name. The group includes two early Salado platform mounds and an associated cluster of nine other small Salado sites. The remaining three sites are also part of the ceramic-using period, but they predate the Salado occupations. In addition to the two platform mounds, the Salado sites include seven compounds, one room block lacking a compound wall, and one specialized work area associated with a nearby compound. The early sites include three specialized work areas, one possibly also a pit house village.

The Livingston platform mounds were among the earliest to be built in the Tonto Basin, but they were used for only a short period, possibly no more than a few generations. Sometime around A.D. 1330, the population at the eastern end of the Tonto Basin moved into a few larger communities slightly downstream, and almost all of the Livingston compounds and one of the two platform mounds were for the most part abandoned. (We equivocate because some of the Livingston sites appear to be sporadically revisited after A.D. 1330, or perhaps were occupied by single individuals.) This short term occupation of the Livingston sites has been beneficial to our research, since the sites provided information about early platform mounds without the complicating presence of later occupations.

The unusual setting of the Tonto Basin, a desert valley surrounded by the pine covered mountains of central Arizona, raises the question of its role in prehistory. Was it a pivotal area through which trade, ideas, and migrating peoples passed between the cultures of the mountains and the desert? Or was it a relatively isolated valley on the periphery of Hohokam (or for that matter, of Mogollon or Anasazi) developments? Since the first decades of this century, archaeologists have speculated on the relevance of the Tonto Basin to developm ents elsewhere in the Southwest. The purpose of this volume is to describe the archaeology of the 14 Livingston sites, and to help lay the foundation from which such issues can be addressed in subsequent volumes of the Roosevelt Platform Mound Study.

Cite this Record

Archaeology of the Salado in the Livingston Area of Tonto Basin, Roosevelt Platform Mound Study: Report on the Livingston Management Group, Pinto Creek Complex. Part 1. Glen E. Rice. Roosevelt Monograph Series ,3. Tempe, Arizona: Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University. 1994 ( tDAR id: 398709) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8HT2R9N


Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1200 to 1300 (Historic)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -111.007; min lat: 33.623 ; max long: -110.951; max lat: 33.671 ;

Record Identifiers

Anthropological Field Studies(s): 32

Bureau of Reclamation Contract No.(s): 9-CS-32-06230

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