Stabilization at the Romero Ruin (AZ BB:9:1 [ASM])

Author(s): S. Adrian White

Year: 1993


In March and April 1993, a preservation/stabilization assessment plan was developed and subsequent stabilization of the Romero Ruin (AZ BB:9:1 [ASM]) was conducted by Soil Systems, Inc. (SSI) under contract to the Center for Desert Archaeology and Catalina State Park. The architectural recording forms were completed in conjunction with minimal excavation from April 5 through April 23. The actual stabilization occurred from May 3 through May 14.

The Romero Ruin is a Hohokam site with an overlying historic component located in Catalina State Park, approximately 10 mi north of Tucson, Arizona. The site is on a northwest-to-southeast trending ridge of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

The prehistoric component of the Romero Ruin consists of a large (60,625 m²) Hohokam ballcourt village with 37 major cultural features. The main occupation of the ruin dates from the Estrella phase (A.D. 550-600) through the Tucson phase (A.D. 1300-1450). From before 1850 to about 1900 the site was occupied by Francisco and Victoriana Romero. Five historic masonry rooms are still visible. The dates that the Romeros inhabited the site are not well established.

From the 1900s onward the historic structures of the Romero Ruin were partially destroyed by pothunters. This was primarily due to folk tales associated with the legendary existence of the mission of Circú and gold mines that may have been exploited during the Jesuit period of Spanish occupation of the Tucson area.

The site was first mapped, photographed, and described by Ellsworth Huntington in 1910. In 1939 Arizona State Museum (ASM) site number BB:9:1 was assigned to the Romero Ruin by Emil Haury. At this point archaeologists became more interested in the site, resulting in additional photographs, surveys, and maps. By the middle 1980s, the site was being considered as a potential interpretive site. In 1988 the Romero Ruin was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. Two grants from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) resulted in prestabilization testing, an interpretive trail, and stabilization work at the site.

In the fall of 1990, a prestabilization testing program was undertaken at Romero Ruin by the Center for Desert Archaeology. This project was undertaken to obtain information on wall condition and construction for future reconstruction and stabilization purposes and, it was hoped, to offset adverse impact on archaeological deposits in the site. An interpretive trail alignment was marked before testing began.

In March 1993 three areas of the Romero Ruin were excavated prior to stabilization north of the interpretive trail through the site. Two areas were the east and west portions of the compound wall that encircles the prehistoric occupation. The third and largest area was a historic structure. These three areas were chosen to exemplify prehistoric and historic construction techniques and to further illustrate the interpretive signage along the trail.

Before the testing began, forms were designed to document the range of architectural styles of the site. An eight-page architectural documentation form was used during the testing. After the areas were completely excavated, a three-page condition assessment form was used. Each tested area was completely documented, which provided information for the assessment recommendations. Prehistoric mortar and stone also were collected during this phase. Replacement sediment samples were collected around the perimeter of the site.

Cite this Record

Stabilization at the Romero Ruin (AZ BB:9:1 [ASM]), 8. S. Adrian White. Soil Systems Technical Report ,93. Phoenix, AZ: Soil Systems, Inc. 1993 ( tDAR id: 399413) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8ST7RN3

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1850 to 1900 (Approximate years in which Francisco and Victoriana Romero occupied the site.)

Calendar Date: 550 to 1450 (Approximate years of main Hohokam occupation.)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -110.954; min lat: 32.408 ; max long: -110.921; max lat: 32.436 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Arizona State Parks

Contributor(s): Arizona Conservation Corps; Chuck Grymka; Kusando Howard; Victor Lucero; Kevin Stratton; Marian Rohmann

Field Director(s): Nathan Sayra

Sponsor(s): Jay Ream

Prepared By(s): Soil Systems, Inc.

Submitted To(s): Center for Desert Archaeology, Tucson, Arizona

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
Stabilization-at-the-Romero-Ruin.pdf 9.14mb Jul 1, 1993 Oct 5, 2015 10:49:37 AM Public
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