Archaeological Investigations of Early Village Sites in the Middle Santa Cruz Valley: Descriptions of the Santa Cruz Bend, Square Hearth, Stone Pipe, and Canal Sites


As part of the archaeological mitigation program of the Arizona Department of Transportation's Interstate 10 Corridor Improvement Project, archaeological data recovery fieldwork was carried out from 1993 to 1995 at four prehistoric sites in the project right-of-way in Tucson. The sites included three early farming settlements occupied between about 800 B.C. and A.D. 550, and also having later occupations. The Santa Cruz Bend site (AZ AA:12:746, ASM) was occupied during the Cienega phase (ca. 800 B.C.-A.D. 150); the Square Hearth site (AZ AA:12:745, ASM) was occupied during the Agua Caliente phase (ca. A.D. 150-550); and the Stone Pipe site (AZ BB:13:425, ASM) was occupied during both phases. The Canal site (AZ BB:13:468, ASM) contained several prehistoric canals constructed and abandoned between about A.D. 1000 and 1450, and a historic canal built during the late nineteenth century. Located in the Tucson Basin reach of the middle Santa Cruz Valley, the three early settlement sites are buried in the floodplain on the east side of the Santa Cruz River, formed during the last several thousand years. Some of the canals at the Canal site are on the edge of the next oldest river terrace above the floodplain.

Together, the early settlement sites provide new information about the initial stages of several important prehistoric cultural changes in southwestern North America, including the shift to agricultural dependence, the transition to sedentism, the development of village communities, and the establishment of local and long-distance trade networks. The appearance of house groups, storehouses, and communal structures, and the changes from round to rectilinear architecture, and from houses in pits to "true pithouses" are also represented. Possible formal burial areas, a public "plaza," and ditches for water control were identified at the Santa Cruz Bend site. The prehistoric canals at the Canal site, among the few yet found in the Santa Cruz Valley, greatly increase our knowledge of the hydraulic engineering and irrigation practices of the prehistoric Hohokam culture outside its heartland in the Phoenix Basin. The historic canal provides archaeological evidence to supplement the documentary record of Euro-American irrigation development in the middle Santa Cruz Valley.

This volume includes a description of each site; its main periods of occupation or use; the cultural features that were identified and excavated; and the types, numbers, contexts, and densities of artifacts that were recovered. Also included are maps and photographs of the sites; plans and photographs of excavated features, and dating information based on apparent ages of carbonates, radiocarbon dates, and temporally diagnostic artifacts. Data recovery methods, site stratigraphies and spatial structures, architectural variability, mortuary patterns, and inferred site functions are described as well. Various analyses, comparisons, syntheses, and discussions of significance are presented in Anthropological Papers Number 19, Archaeological Investigations of Early Village Sites in the Middle Santa Cruz Valley: Analyses and Synthesis, edited by Jonathan B. Mabry.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Investigations of Early Village Sites in the Middle Santa Cruz Valley: Descriptions of the Santa Cruz Bend, Square Hearth, Stone Pipe, and Canal Sites. Jonathan B. Mabry, Deborah L. Swartz, Helga Wöcherl, Jeffery J. Clark, Gavin H. Archer, Michael W. Lindeman. 1997 ( tDAR id: 428096) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8428096

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Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: -800 to 150 (Cienega phase)

Calendar Date: 150 to 550 (Agua Caliente phase)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -111.017; min lat: 32.228 ; max long: -110.971; max lat: 32.274 ;

Record Identifiers

Salt River Project Library Barcode No.(s): 00090602

Contract No.(s): 94-46; 90-21

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