Investigations of the Baccharis Site and Extension Arizona Canal: Historic and Prehistoric Land Use Patterns in the Northern Salt River Valley

Author(s): David H. Greenwald

Year: 1988


This report presents the results of intensive data recovery through excavation of an early pre-Classic Hohokam site and an in-depth archival study of historic features, including the Extension Arizona Canal. The project was sponsored by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) with the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) serving as consultants to ADOT for these archaeological and historical studies. Field work was conducted during May and June, 1987.

Investigations of the Baccharis site, a late Pioneer/early Colonial period field house/farmstead site (ca. A.D. 600-800) located along New River, provided an opportunity to examine early Hohokam settlement and land use patterns in the northern periphery of the Hohokam region. The Baccharis site was used as a seasonally occupied site associated with agriculture and wild plant exploitation. Occupation was associated with a shifting residence pattern or seasonal round exploitation strategy.

An explicit research design provided the direction of study which focused upon topics related to site and regional questions. Topics at the site level were concerned with social organization through time, types of subsistence strategies employed, identification and determination of a site chronology, and burial practices. On a broader scope, questions concerned with how the Baccharis site fit into the settlement pattern of the northern periphery and how the site may have been related to the Salt-Gila core area and the Palo Verde Community were posed.

The Baccharis site was occupied during the Snaketown and Gila Butte phases and served as a field house/farmstead site for single families or small corporate groups. Radiocarbon dates, archaeomagnetic intervals and the ceramic assemblage provided, generally, complementary data. Botanical evidence supports both corn agriculture and wild plant procurement as subsistence strategies. The historic investigations represent the first detailed study of the Extension Arizona Canal, a segment of the Arizona Canal, dating to ca. 1893-1912, and examine the events leading to its construction, use and abandonment.

These investigations have provided the opportunity to study both historic and prehistoric land use patterns in the northern Salt River Valley. Hohokam subsistence strategies during the early pre-Classic period parallel strategies used in the core areas prior to extensive development of canal systems. Although corn agriculture was practiced, the means by which this was accomplished could not be determined with the narrow limits of the freeway corridor. Occupation of the Baccharis site may have occurred during a period settlement expansion into the northern periphery, at a time when permanent settlements had not yet been established along New River. The Baccharis site may have been used by groups who maintained ties with villages located along the Salt River, returning to the riverine villages as part of the seasonal-round subsistence pattern.

Cite this Record

Investigations of the Baccharis Site and Extension Arizona Canal: Historic and Prehistoric Land Use Patterns in the Northern Salt River Valley. David H. Greenwald. 1988 ( tDAR id: 428088) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8428088

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 600 to 800 (Dating for Baccharis Site based on radiocarbon dates, archaeomagnetic and ceramic analysis.)

Calendar Date: 1893 to 1912 (Dating for the Extension Arizona Canal)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -112.258; min lat: 33.614 ; max long: -112.223; max lat: 33.648 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Salt River Project Cultural Resource Manager

Contributor(s): James B. Rodgers; Laura A. Heacock; Dawn M. Greenwald; Patricia A. Ruppé; Linda S. Cummings

Project Director(s): David H. Greenwald

Sponsor(s): Arizona Department of Transportation

Prepared By(s): Museum of Northern Arizona

Record Identifiers

Arizona State Permit No.(s): 87-30

MNA Research Paper(s): 40

SRP Library Barcode No.(s): 00027831

Project No. (s): AZM-600-0-205

Contract No.(s): 87-10

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Contact(s): Salt River Project Cultural Resource Manager