The Prehistoric Archaeology of Heritage Square

Author(s): T. Kathleen Henderson

Year: 1995


Less than a decade ago, it seemed that the Hohokam had appeared out of nowhere. Here was a vibrant population of pottery making, irrigating, settled farmers, and the people before them: the nomadic Archaic tribes, who wandered the desert from one stand of ripening fruit to another in time with nature’s pulse. The one culture appeared so unlike the other that it seemed impossible to account for the sudden change in lifestyles. Then, in the 1980s, the first clues were found to bridge the gap between the earlier Archaic people and the later Hohokam. The place they were found: in downtown Phoenix at Pueblo Patricio, the prehistoric site which is the focus of this report.

Archaeologists excavating southwest of Heritage Square (the place of the excavations described herein), but still within the boundaries of Pueblo Patricio, uncovered a prehistoric house containing a small quantity of plain, brown pottery. A radiocarbon date from the house revealed it was built just after the time of Christ. Other houses, dating mostly to the 5th century A.D. were also found, along with artifacts that looked more like those of the Archaic culture than those of the Hohokam.

The Heritage Square excavations uncovered even more of these materials. Seventeen houses, some no more than traces of surfaces, date between the 1st and 4th century A.D. This brings to 25 the total number of early houses at Pueblo Patricio. Three other sites in die Salt River Valley are now known from this early time period (Hackbarth 1992b; Henderson 1989; Montero and Hackbarth 1992), but, to date, Pueblo Patricio is the largest.

The early period houses were not the only prehistoric remains encountered by the Heritage Square Archaeological Project. Ironically, three pithouses and a midden dating near the end of the Hohokam occupation in the Salt River Valley, ca. the mid-14th century A.D., were also found. Otherwise, only a smattering of artifacts documents activity at Heritage Square during the large spread of time—on the order of a thousand years—represented by the recovered prehistoric materials. This does not mean that Heritage Square or the larger site of Pueblo Patricio was abandoned. We know from nearby excavations that prehistoric inhabitants were residing in and using the general area, apparently for the principal purpose of growing crops (Cable et al. 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985).

It is the use of Pueblo Patricio through the centuries that is the focus of this volume. The results of the Heritage Square Archaeological Project are presented, and in concluding chapters integrated with what we know from other excavations to shed new light on the site of Pueblo Patricio and the activities that were conducted there. Some perspective is also provided on the earliest and latest periods of the Hohokam occupation in the Salt River Valley.

Cite this Record

The Prehistoric Archaeology of Heritage Square. T. Kathleen Henderson. Pueblo Grande Museum Anthropological Papers ,3. Phoenix, AZ: Pueblo Grande Museum. 1995 ( tDAR id: 398960) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8RV0QDW

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1200 to 1500 (Classic Period)

Calendar Date: 700 to 1000 (Colonial and Sedentary Periods)

Calendar Date: 1 to 700 (Pioneer Period)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -112.087; min lat: 33.429 ; max long: -112.057; max lat: 33.461 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): City of Phoenix Archaeology Office

Contributor(s): Jeffrey L. Eighmy; Dawn Frost; Mark R. Hackbarth; Gary Huckleberry; Johna Hutira; Steven R. James; Jason LaBelle; Charles Miksicek; John Rapp; Susan J. Smith

Project Director(s): Mark R. Hackbarth

Record Identifiers

Library of Congress Catalog Number(s): 95-73140


General Note: The curation of this report was supported by a Seed Grant from the Institute for Humanities Research, Arizona State University as part of the Digital Archive of Hohokam Archaeology (DAHA) Project.

Redaction Note: When this report was added to tDAR in 2015, a redacted version was prepared blacking out site maps in Figures 1.1, 2.4, 3.1, 9.3, 9.9, 9.11, 9.12, and 9.13. Upon further review in August, 2016, it was found that these figures did not need to be redacted and the redacted copy was removed. The full report was marked as publicly available. FPMcManamon, 26 August 2016

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