Archaeology at the Gillespie Dam Site: Data Recovery Investigations for the Palo Verde to Pinal West 500 kV Transmission Line, Maricopa County, Arizona

Editor(s): T. Kathleen Henderson

Year: 2011


In this report, the results of data recovery efforts conducted for the Palo Verde to Pinal West transmission line project at the Gillespie Dam site, AZ T:13:18 (ASM), in the Gila Bend area of the Gila River are presented. The site is a prehistoric Hohokam-Patayan settlement with an overlay of Historic era material. Fieldwork primarily occurred within the construction staging area of a transmission tower. Although covering less than an acre, the staging area contained surprising numbers of prehistoric features, including numerous pithouses, a cobble-buttressed adobe structure, ramadas, a storehouse/granary, and myriad other feature types typical of the range of outdoor activities that would be associated with a residential locus in a Hohokam village. Chronological evidence indicates the locus was occupied from the beginning of the Sedentary period, well into the Classic period, or from the tenth century to sometime after the thirteenth century A.D.

Three of the pithouses are among the largest ever excavated within the Hohokam cultural area; the adobe structure was also exceptionally large. The large structures formed a corridor through the center of the staging area, which was accentuated by a fronting, prepared caliche surface. It is these structures that are the essential project finding, providing important insights about village organization and activity at the Gillespie Dam site. In turn, the project results inform on larger prehistoric events occurring within the Gila Bend area.

Fieldwork also included sampling of a historic canal, AZ T:14:143 (ASM), which skirts the edge of the river terrace scarp in the southwestern portion of the Gillespie Dam site. Archival research identified this channel as the Wolfley, or original, Gila Bend Canal. It was the first of several historic canals built on the eastern side of the Gila River north of Gila Bend. The Wolfley/Gila Bend canal operated intermittently between 1892 and 1895, and possibly as late as 1905. The study of the canal during this project provided a rare opportunity to compare the archaeological record of a canal with its documented history of constructions, management, and natural events.

This document contains contributions by Jenny L. Adams, Elizabeth A. Bagwell, Tiffany Clark, Connie A. Darby, Michael W. Diehl, T. Kathleen Henderson, Gary Huckleberry, Christine H. Lange, Manuel R. Palacios-Fest, Stacy L. Ryan, M. Steven Shackley, Susan J. Smith, Pat. H. Stein, Sandra Wadsworth, and Joshua Watts.

Cite this Record

Archaeology at the Gillespie Dam Site: Data Recovery Investigations for the Palo Verde to Pinal West 500 kV Transmission Line, Maricopa County, Arizona, 06. T. Kathleen Henderson. 2011 ( tDAR id: 406074) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8406074

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Historic Hohokam Patayan

Adobe Agavaceae Agave Amaranthus sp. Ambrosia-Type sp. Amethyst Andesite Anodonta californiensis Argillite Argopecten circularis Artiodactyl Artiodactyla Asteraceae Atriplex sp. Basalt Bittersweet Black Mesa Black-on-Whiteware Black-on-Whiteware Boerhaavia sp. Bone Brassicaceae Buckwheat Buffware Building Materials Bursage Cactus Caliche Callinectes sp. Canis sp. Carnegiea gigantea Carnivora Carnivore Carnivore-Sized Mammal Carya sp Catcaceae Cattail Ceramic Cercidium sp. Cereus-Type Cactus cf. Plantago sp. Chalcedony Cheno-Am Chenopodium sp. Chert Chipped Stone Cholla Chrysocolla Cobble Cockle Common Bean Common Reed Cotton Crab Crustacean Cucurbita sp. Cylindropuntia sp. Cyperaceae Decapoda Desert Cottontail Desert Plantain Desert Tree Legume Diabase Dock Eriogonum sp. Euphorbiaceae Evening Primrose False Purslane Fauna Fire Cracked Rock Fouquieria sp. Four o'Clock Gastropod Globemallow Glycymeris gigantea Glycymeris sp. Gneiss Gossypium hirsutum Gramineae Granite Granodiorite Grass Ground Stone Helisoma sp. Hematite Igneous Rock Indian Wheat Jackrabbit Jasper Juniper Juniperus sp. Kalstroemia sp. Kana'a Black-on-Whiteware Laevidcardium elatum Lagomorph Lagomorpha Large Mammal Leporidae Lepus sp. Limestone Lower Colorado Buffware Macrobotanical Maize Mammal Mammalia Marine Shell Medium Mammal Mesquite Metasediment Mineral Mustard Nightshade Nyctaginaceae Obsidian Ocotillo Olivella dama Olivella sp. Olive Shell Onagraceae Paloverde Panic Grass Panicum sp. Pecan Pecten sp. Pectinidae Pelecypod Perognathus sp. Phaseolus cf. vulgaris Phaseolus vulgaris Phragmites sp. Phyllite Pigweed Pine Pinon Pinus edulius-Type Pinus sp. Plainware Plantago Plantago sp. Poaceae Pocket Mouse Pollen Polygonaceae Porous Wood Prosopis sp. Quartz Quartzite Rabbit-Sized Mammal Red-on-Buffware Redware Rhus sp. Rhyolite Rodent Rodentia Rosaceae Rose Saguaro Saltbush Sand Sandstone Scallop Sedge Sedimentary Rock Shell Silicified Limestone Skunkbush Sumac Small Mammal Solanaceae Sphaeralcea sp. Spiderling Spurge Squash Summer Poppy Sunflower Swimming Crab Sylvilagus audubonii Tidestromia sp. Trianthema sp. Tuff Tusayan Black-on-Whiteware Typha sp. Ungulate-Sized Mammal Vesicular Basalt Whiteware Wood Zea mays Zea sp. Show More

Site Name
AZ T:13:18 (ASM) AZ T:14:143 (ASM) Gila Bend Canal Gillespie Dam Site Wolfley Canal

Site Type
Adobe Structure Agricultural or Herding Ancient Structure Archaeological Feature Artifact Concentration Burned Surface Caliche Surface Canal Canal or Canal Feature Domestic Structure or Architectural Complex Domestic Structures Extramural Surface Granary Hamlet / Village Midden Non-Thermal Pit Oxidized Area Pit Pit House Pit House / Earth Lodge Post Post Hole / Post Mold Ramada Resource Extraction / Production / Transportation Structure or Features Roasting Pit Roasting Pit / Oven / Horno Rock Alignment Rock Cluster Rock-Filled Pit Settlements Shade Structure / Ramada Storehouse Structure Trash Midden Trash Mound Village Show More

Investigation Types
Data Recovery / Excavation Historic Background Research Site Evaluation / Testing

Andesite Hammerstone Andesite Polisher Argopecten circularis Pendant Basalt Flake Basalt Mano Basalt Metate Basalt Netherstone Basalt Polisher Bead Biface Bone (Artiodactyl) Bone (Artiodactyla) Bone (Canis sp.) Bone (Carnivora) Bone (Carnivore) Bone (Carnivore-Sized Mammal) Bone (Desert Cottontail) Bone (Lagomorph) Bone (Lagomorpha) Bone (Large Mammal) Bone (Leporidae) Bone (Lepus sp.) Bone (Mammal) Bone (Mammalia) Bone (Medium Mammal) Bone (Perognathus sp.) Bone (Pocket Mouse) Bone (Rabbit-Sized Mammal) Bone (Rodent) Bone (Rodentia) Bone (Small Mammal) Bone (Sylvilagus audubonii) Bone (Ungulate-Sized) Bowl Bracelet Ceramic Bowl Ceramic Disk Ceramic Jar Ceramic Scoop Charcoal Charcoal (Agavaceae) Charcoal (Agave) Charcoal (Atriplex sp.) Charcoal (Common Reed) Charcoal (Desert Tree Legume) Charcoal (Fouquieria sp.) Charcoal (Porous Wood) Charcoal (Saltbush) Chopper Chrysocolla Bead Claw Claw (Callinectes sp.) Claw (Crab) Claw (Crustacean) Cobble Hammer Core Hammer Core Tool Cranial Bone (Artiodactyl) Cupule Diabase Hammerstone Diabase Pestle Diabase Polisher Disk Disk Bead Figurine Flake Flake Debris Flaked Stone Debitage GBCC geomorphology Gila Bend Canal Company Gila River Irrigation Company Glycymeris Bracelet Glycymeris Flake Glycymeris gigantea Bracelet Gneiss Lapstone Granite Hammerstone Granite Handstone Granite Polisher Granodiorite Handstone GRIC Hammerstone Handstone Hematite Pigment Igneous Rock Lapstone Igneous Rock Pecking Stone Jar Laevicardium Bead Laevicardium elatum Zoomorphic Lapstone Lewis Wolfley Mano Maul Metate Netherstone Olivella Bead Olivella dama Bead Ornament Paleoecology Pecking Stone Pecten Pendant Pendant Pestle Phalange (Canis sp.) Phyllite Figurine Phyllite Tabular Tool Pigment Polisher Pollen (Ambrosia-Type) Pollen (Asteraceae) Pollen (Boerhaavia sp.) Pollen (Brassicaceae) Pollen (Buckwheat) Pollen (Bursage) Pollen (Cactaceae) Pollen (Cactus) Pollen (Carya sp.) Pollen (Cattail) Pollen (Cercidium sp.) Pollen (Cheno-Am) Pollen (Cholla) Pollen (Cucurbita sp.) Pollen (Cylindropuntia sp.) Pollen (Cyperaceae) Pollen (Eriogonum sp.) Pollen (Euphorbiaceae) Pollen (Evening Primrose) Pollen (Four O'Clock) Pollen (Globemallow) Pollen (Grass) Pollen (Indian Wheat) Pollen (Juniper) Pollen (Juniperus sp.) Pollen (Kallstroemia sp.) Pollen (Maize) Pollen (Mesquite) Pollen (Mustard) Pollen (Nightshade) Pollen (Nyctaginaceae) Pollen (Onagraceae) Pollen (Paloverde) Pollen (Pecan) Pollen (Pine) Pollen (Pinon) Pollen (Pinus edulius-Type) Pollen (Pinus sp.) Pollen (Plantago sp.) Pollen (Poaceae) Pollen (Prosopis sp.) Pollen (Rosaceae) Pollen (Rose) Pollen (Sedge) Pollen (Solanaceae) Pollen (Sphaealcea sp.) Pollen (Spiderling) Pollen (Spurge) Pollen (Squash) Pollen (Summer Poppy) Pollen (Sunflower) Pollen (Tidestromia sp.) Pollen (Typha sp.) Pollen (Zea sp.) Projectile Point Quartzite Chopper Quartzite Hammerstone Quartzite Handstone Quartzite Mano Quartzite Pestle Quartzite Polisher Rhyolite Hammerstone Rhyolite Lapstone Rhyolite Mano Rhyolite Polisher Ridgley Ceylon Powers Royal A. Johnson Salt River Project Sandstone Handstone Sandstone Mano Sandstone Polisher Scoop Scraper Seed Shell Bead Shell Bracelet Shell Pendant Shell Zoomorphic SRP Tabular Tool Tuff Handstone Uniface Volcanic Rock Netherstone Volcanic Rock Pecking Stone Volcanic Rock Polisher Zoomorphic Show More

Geographic Keywords
Arizona (State / Territory) Buckeye Hills Central Arizona Gila Bend, AZ Gila Bend Mountains Gila River lower Gila River Maricopa (County)

Temporal Keywords
Classic Period Early Classic Period Early Sacaton Phase Historic Late Sacaton Phase Middle Sacaton Phase Prehistoric Sacaton Phase Sedentary Period

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1892 to 1905 (Years of operation of the Wolfley/Gila Bend Canal, the historic component of the site.)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -112.763; min lat: 33.209 ; max long: -112.746; max lat: 33.239 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Salt River Project Cultural Resource Manager

Contributor(s): Richard Anduze; Jenny L. Adams; Elizabeth A. Bagwell; Tiffany Clark; Connie A. Darby; Michael W. Diehl; Gary Huckleberry; Christine H. Lange; Manuel R. Palacios-Fest; Stacy L. Ryan; M. Steven Shackley; Susan J. Smith; Pat H. Stein; Sandra Wadsworth; Joshua Watts; Bureau of Land Management; John Madsen; Dan Hawkins; Ray Kedrick; Tom Novy; Cheryl Blanchard; Ann Howard; Katie Bubnekovich; Patti Cook; Reese Cook; Ally Graver; Susan Hall; Kristen Higgins; Lance Holly; John Hooper; Mike Lindeman; Jason McInteer; Stephanie Ratcliffe; Will Russell; Jasper Shields; Jonathan Spiandorello; Homer Thiel; Mike Brack; Tyler Theriot; Jeffrey Eighmy; Henry Wallace; Masson Riddle; Mike Hughes; Darden Hood; Glen Rice; Chris Watkins; Sara Lely; Ted Oliver; Jen Kramer; Emilee Mead; Andrea Mathews; Donna Doolittle; Susan Hall; Catherine Gilman; Bill Doelle; Trish Castalia; Jeffrey Eighmy

Field Director(s): Greg Whitney

Lab Director(s): Lisa Eppley

Project Director(s): T. Kathleen Henderson

Landowner(s): Private Owner

Sponsor(s): Salt River Project; Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District

Repository(s): Arizona State Museum; Salt River Project

Submitted To(s): Salt River Project

Record Identifiers

Case File No. (s): AZA-32057

Decision No.(s): 67012

Arizona Repatriation Case No.(s): 07-52

Archaeological Resources Protection Act Permit No.(s): AZ-000357

Case No.(s): 124

BLM EA No.(s): AZ-020-2003-0045

ASM Accession No.(s): 2007-311

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Right-of-Way Grant Serial No.(s): AZA-32057

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