The Fairbank Data Recovery Project: Prehistoric and Historic Era Excavations along the San Pedro River

Editor(s): Patricia Cook

Year: 2007


The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and HDR Engineering, Inc., proposed a highway- widening project along State Route 82 (SR82) in Cochise County, Arizona. The proposed project included the addition of a turn lane and relocation of the entrance into the historic Fairbank Townsite, AZ EE:8:3 (ASM), an archaeological site and historic property administered by the BLM. The project was initiated for safety issues related to visibility concerns. The road-widening project was within the ADOT right-of-way on both the northern and southern sides of SR 82, an easement on land administered by the BLM. Results of the data recovery excavations conducted by Desert Archaeology, Inc., prior to the highway project are presented in this report.

The proposed project was expected to affect both the prehistoric and historic components at the site, as well as two historic era linear railroad sites located within the boundaries of the Fairbank Townsite: AZ EE:4:43 (ASM) and AZ EE:3:73 (ASM).The data recovery plan specified test trenching followed by excavation units and area exposures of selected features, such as pithouses, historic structures, pits, and privies (Cook 2002). The Arizona State Museum (ASM) site number EE:8:3 was assigned in 1937. The site was initially defined by its prehistoric component, but over the years, this designation has come to include the historic Fairbank Townsite as well. To avoid confusion, the Historic era site and features are referred to herein as the Fairbank Townsite, while the prehistoric component at the site, which underlies the historic occupation, is called Walnut Gulch.

The historic Fairbank Townsite includes two loci —the cluster of standing architecture north of SR 82 adjacent to the project area, and a depot and associated structures located south of the highway along the tracks of AZ EE:3:74 (ASM), the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad. The prehistoric component, Walnut Gulch, was initially identified by Haury, based on a pithouse eroding from the bank of Walnut Gulch, located south of the historic Fairbank Townsite. However, surface artifacts on both sides of SR82 indicated that subsurface deposits and features were present in the immediate vicinity of the townsite. This also minimizes confusion with the Late Archaic Fairbank site, AZ EE:8:1(ASM), which is located northwest of the confluence of the San Pedro and Babocomari rivers.

Cite this Record

The Fairbank Data Recovery Project: Prehistoric and Historic Era Excavations along the San Pedro River. Patricia Cook. 2007 ( tDAR id: 428791) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8428791

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1881 to 1973 (Historic occupation of Fairbank)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -110.213; min lat: 31.708 ; max long: -110.163; max lat: 31.738 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Salt River Project Cultural Resource Manager

Contributor(s): Jenny L Adams; Patricia Cook; Michael W. Diehl; John McClelland; Fred Niais; Alexa M. Smith; J. Homer Thiel; Arthur W. Vokes; Jennifer A. Waters; Joshua Watts

Repository(s): Salt River Project, Tempe, AZ

Prepared By(s): Desert Archaeology Inc.

Submitted To(s): HDR Engineering, Inc.

Record Identifiers

Salt River Project Library Barcode No.(s): 00090606

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
2007_Cook_FairbankData_OCR.pdf 153.31mb Sep 1, 2007 Apr 26, 2017 4:04:41 PM Confidential
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Contact(s): Salt River Project Cultural Resource Manager