Research Design: Class II Cultural Resources Survey for the Gila Land Disposal Project, Yuma County, Arizona

Author(s): Jeffrey H. Altschul; Steven D. Shelley

Year: 1987


The Gila Land Disposal Cultural Resources Survey is a Class II survey of approximately 5,330 acres. The project area is located approximately 15 miles west of Yuma, Arizona, near the towns of Wellton and Tacna, Arizona. The project is designed to locate, describe and evaluate cultural resources on several parcels of land, prior to their disposal by the Bureau of Reclamation.

The Project Area lies south of the Gila River in a region which averages between two to four inches of rain per year, and is almost devoid of vegetation. Because water is scarce, it is the controlling factor in determining where plants and animals live. Not surprisingly, water is also considered the single-most important factor in determining the location of archaeological sites. Previous research in the area has shown that sites tend to be strongly associated with certain areas where water is likely to be found during at least part of the year. Because these locations are rare and are often very limited in size, the locations of sites tend to cluster in certain predictable locations. Since the entire project area is to be sampled, it was decided that a two part sample survey would be conducted. The first part will consist of a judgmental survey which will cover areas thought to have the highest probability of containing sites. This sample was drawn using aerial photographs to map the local geomorphology, in conjunction with soil survey data, and an examination of the location of plants using aerial photos.

To assess the accuracy of the judgmental survey, and to provide parameter estimates of the density of sites and numbers of sites, the remainder of the area was divided up into 1/8 by 1/2 miles transects (40 acres each). A 15 percent simple random sample of the area will be surveyed. This sample will consist of 15 sample units.

The project is designed to provide data relevant to a regional research design, originally developed by Doelle. By using a regional research design developed on previous research it is possible to study the project area in light of current research topics for the area. In this manner the project augments previous research in a more effective way, rather than being a small, self-contained study which would likely be primarily descriptive. The present research design makes full use of Doelle's research design, settlement models , and analyses. Some modifications have been made which reflect changes in the conduct of lithic analysis since 1980.

The research design is divided into five chapters. Chapter One is an introduction. Chapter Two presents the cultural and environmental background of the Project Area. Chapter Three outlines the regional model and research questions, while Chapter Four presents the field and analytic methods. The fifth, and final, chapter describes the plan of work. The document also contains an appendix on study area geomorphology by contributor Michael R. Waters.

Cite this Record

Research Design: Class II Cultural Resources Survey for the Gila Land Disposal Project, Yuma County, Arizona. Jeffrey H. Altschul, Steven D. Shelley. Statistical Research Technical Series ,7. Tucson, AZ: SRI Press. 1987 ( tDAR id: 400836) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8XK8J30

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -114.136; min lat: 32.602 ; max long: -113.849; max lat: 32.793 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): SRI Press

Contributor(s): Michael R. Waters; William H. Doelle

Principal Investigator(s): Jeffrey H. Altschul

Project Director(s): Steven D. Shelley

Repository(s): Arizona State Museum

Prepared By(s): Statistical Research, Inc.

Submitted To(s): USDI Bureau of Reclamation

Record Identifiers

Contract No.(s): 7-PG-30-07780

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