Archaeological Survey in Catalina State Park with a Focus on the Romero Ruin

Author(s): Mark D. Elson; William H. Doelle

Year: 1987


Catalina State Park is situated approximately 22 km (14 miles) north of Tucson, Arizona. Within this beautiful and pristine desert area lie a large number of relatively undisturbed archaeological sites. The park has witnessed a long and varied history. Sometime after 5000 B.C. Archaic period hunters and gatherers first roamed through the park area in their search for game and edible plants. During the following Hohokam period the park area was intensively occupied. A wide range of sites are present, including isolated bedrock mortars, rockshelters, and small sherd and lithic scatters, as well as major habitation and village sites with well-developed agricultural field systems. The Romero Ruin (AZ BB:9:1), which was settled early in the Hohokam Pioneer period, is the largest and most significant village site within the park, and one of the most significant sites within the Tucson Basin in general. The site contains two ballcourts, a large Classic period compound, and at least 17 trash mounds, some of which reach a height of more than two meters above the ground surface. Finally, during the historic period Francisco Romero built his ranch house on top of the remains of the Romero Ruin sometime around 1844, when Tucson and much of Arizona were still a part of Mexico, and raids by roving bands of Apaches were commonplace.

This report describes the results of an archaeological survey of Catalina State Park conducted by archaeologists from the Institute for American Research between February 16 and March 11, 1987. The survey intensively covered roughly 2.65 square miles, centering around the Romero Ruin. Twenty-nine previously unrecorded archaeological sites were discovered, while additional information was collected from thirteen known sites. These data were used in conjunction with the mapping and intensive surface collection of the Romero Ruin to reconstruct the settlement patterns within the park area.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Survey in Catalina State Park with a Focus on the Romero Ruin, 4. Mark D. Elson, William H. Doelle. Institute for American Research Technical Report ,87. Washington, DC: Institute for American Research. 1987 ( tDAR id: 399317) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8FX7C92

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Anglo Archaic Euroamerican Historic Hohokam Mexican Middle Archaic

Andesite Aravaipa Variety Buffware Azurite Basalt Black-on-Whiteware Bone Brass Brownware Buffware Building Materials Cañada del Oro Red-on-Brownware Ceramic Chama sp. Chert Chipped Stone Classic Redware Colonial Redware Decorated Ware Dragoon Ware Early Rincon Red-on-Brownware Estrella Buffware Galiuro Red-on-Brownware Gila Butte Buffware Glass Glycymeris sp. Gneiss Granite Grayware Ground Stone Igneous Rock Jasper Laevicardium sp. Late Rincon Red-on-Brownware Limestone Malachite Masonry Metal Middle Rincon Red-on-Brownware Mineral Papago Redware Phoenix Basin Buffware Pinto Polychrome Ware Pioneer Redware Plainware Polychrome Ware Pteria sterna Quartz Quartzite Red-on-Brownware Red-on-Buffware Red-on-Grayware Redware Reserve Black-on-Whiteware Rhyolite Rillito Red-on-Brownware Rincon Polychrome Ware Rincon Redware Sacaton Buffware Sacaton Red-on-Buffware San Carlos Red-on-Brownware San Simon Red-on-Brownware Santa Cruz Buffware Santa Cruz Red-on-Buffware Schist Sedimentary Rock Shell Silicified Limestone Snaketown Buffware Snaketown Red-on-Brownware Snaketown Red-on-Buffware Sweetwater Buffware Sweetwater Red-on-Grayware Tanque Verde Red-on-Brownware Tin Tucson Basin Red-on-Brownware Tucson Polychrome Ware Tularosa Black-on-Whiteware Vahki Redware Vesicular Basalt Whiteware Wood Show More

Site Name
AZ AA:16:187 AZ BB:9:1 AZ BB:9:120 AZ BB:9:121 AZ BB:9:122 AZ BB:9:191 AZ BB:9:192 AZ BB:9:193 AZ BB:9:194 AZ BB:9:195 AZ BB:9:196 AZ BB:9:197 AZ BB:9:198 AZ BB:9:199 AZ BB:9:200 AZ BB:9:201 AZ BB:9:202 AZ BB:9:203 AZ BB:9:204 AZ BB:9:205 AZ BB:9:206 AZ BB:9:207 AZ BB:9:208 AZ BB:9:209 AZ BB:9:210 AZ BB:9:211 AZ BB:9:212 AZ BB:9:213 AZ BB:9:214 AZ BB:9:215 AZ BB:9:216 AZ BB:9:217 AZ BB:9:218 AZ BB:9:45 AZ BB:9:48 AZ BB:9:49 AZ BB:9:52 AZ BB:9:60 AZ BB:9:61 AZ BB:9:62 AZ BB:9:96 AZ BB:9:97 AZ BB:9:98 Romero Ruin The Abused Ridge Site Valencia Site Show More

Site Type
Agricultural Field or Field Feature Agricultural or Herding Archaeological Feature Artifact Scatter Ball Court Bedrock Grinding Feature Bedrock Metate Bedrock Mortar Boulder Grinding Slick Boulder Mortar Cemetery? Check Dam Cobble Field House Cobble Terrace Cobble Wall Compound Corral? Cremation? Domestic Structure or Architectural Complex Domestic Structures Field House Fireplace Foundation Hamlet Hamlet / Village Homestead House Hunting Blind? Isolated Feature Lithic Scatter Masonry Compound Midden Milling Feature Non-Domestic Structures Petroglyph Pit House Pit House / Earth Lodge Pit House Depression? Plaza Ranch Resource Extraction / Production / Transportation Structure or Features Roasting Area? Rock Alignment Rock Art Rock Mound Rock Pile Rock Shelter Room Block / Compound / Pueblo Settlements Sherd Scatter Terrace Trash Midden Village Wall Water Control Feature Windbreak? Show More

Spatial Coverage

min long: -110.948; min lat: 32.399 ; max long: -110.918; max lat: 32.436 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Arizona State Parks

Contributor(s): Lisa G. Eppley; James P. Holmlund; Henry D. Wallace; Henry Wallace; Meg Burns; Kurt Dongoske; James Heidke; Annick Kaler; Penny Wamboldt; Allen Dart; Caroline Davis; William Doelle; Bill Grimes; Joan Lloyd; Woody McGinnis; Vince O'Callaghan; Donald Reser; Mary Bernard Shaw; Deborah Swartz; Cathy Wasmann; Sarah Tuttle; Linda Mayro; Jennifer Ballard; Michael Barton; Varrie Edwards; Tom Kolaz; Arizona Historical Society; Linda Gregonis

Field Director(s): Mark D. Elson

Sponsor(s): National Park Service; Arizona State Parks; ANL Foundation; Institute for American Research; Geo-Map, Inc.

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Figures 1.1-1.2, 3.1, 3.3-3.12, 4.1-4.2, 5.1-5.9, E.1-E.3, and E.5, and text on pages 30, 52-71, 116, 119-120, 124-125, 127, 130, and 134 of this file has been redacted.

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Contact(s): Arizona State Parks

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