Hohokam Irrigation and Agriculture on the Western Margin of Pueblo Grande: Archaeology for the PHX Sky Train Project

Editor(s): T. Kathleen Henderson

Year: 2015


The results of phased data recovery efforts for the City of Phoenix Aviation Department in advance of construction of the PHX Sky Train are presented in this report. Investigations were conducted within the Sky Train's 44th Street Station area, located immediately west of 44th Street and south of the Grand Canal in Phoenix, Arizona. Twelve medium to large prehistoric canals were encountered during the project, which was an anticipated discovery given the project's location northwest of the Park of Four Waters at Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park and in the trajectory of main canals that fed prehistoric Canal System 2. Unexpected was the discovery of prehistoric irrigated field systems comprised of ditches and field areas. This project provided the first plan exposure of such systems in the Salt River Valley. Also encountered during the project were several canal-side water catchment features and Hohokam habitation structures. The structures included pithouses, probably used a seasonal farm-houses, and a surface adobe structure, with associated pits, which was occupied more permanently as a farmstead. The ages of the archaeological remains ranged from the later Colonial period through the early Classic period, roughly AD 850-1350. The numbers and types of features documented by the project illustrate that people were using the canals and local terrain in a variety of ways, despite the intrusion of several large System 2 trunk canals through the area. Within the project area, land use, subsistence practices, and irrigation were inextricably intertwined. The results of the project reveal the Hohokam's intimate knowledge of their landscape and how to manipulate it to best advantage. The findings highlight why the study of the irrigated spaces between prehistoric settlements is crucial to fully understand how the Hohokam managed to thrive for so many centuries in their desert environment.

Cite this Record

Hohokam Irrigation and Agriculture on the Western Margin of Pueblo Grande: Archaeology for the PHX Sky Train Project. T. Kathleen Henderson. 2015 ( tDAR id: 435715) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8435715

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -112.038; min lat: 33.407 ; max long: -111.952; max lat: 33.449 ;

Record Identifiers

Arizona Antiquities Act Project Specific Permit No.(s): 2008-135ps

Pueblo Grande Museum Anthropological Paper No. (s): 19

Pueblo Grande Museum Project No.(s): 2007-46

Archaeology Southwest Anthropological Papers No. (s): 41

ASM Accession No.(s): 2008-711

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Contact(s): Salt River Project Cultural Resource Manager