Tonto Creek Archaeological Project - Artifact and Environmental Analyses, Volume 2: Stone Tool and Subsistence Studies

Editor(s): Jeffery J. Clark

Year: 2002


The Tonto Creek Archaeological Project (TCAP), funded by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), was conducted by Desert Archaeology, Inc., in advance of the 1994-1996 realignment of Arizona State Route 188 in the Tonto Basin of east-central Arizona. From 1992 to 1996, portions of 27 archaeological sites were investigated. Site components ranged in date from the Middle Archaic period to the Late Historic era. Most dated to the Colonial, Sedentary, and early Classic periods, circa A.D. 750-1325.

A total of 108 pithouse, pitroom, and mason surface structures were excavated, as well as numerous other cultural features. These are discussed in Anthropological Papers No. 22, which contains the site and non-mortuary feature descriptions as well as background information on project methods, chronology, and the local environment. More than 300 burials were recovered, with early Classic inhumations accounting for nearly 90 percent of the sample. The burial descriptions and analyses of osteodontic remains and artifact classes recovered primarily from mortuary contexts are presented in Anthropological Papers No. 24. The artifact classes include shell and ground stone jewelry, bone artifacts, wooden objects, and clay-lined painted baskets. Anthropological Papers No. 23 (Volume 1) reports on the various analyses conducted on the ceramic assemblage recovered from both domestic and mortuary contexts in the project area.

This volume, Anthropological Papers No. 23 (Volume 2) discusses the analyses of flaked and ground stone, pollen, botanical, and faunal remains. Among the important findings of the flaked stone analysis (Chapter 9) is the association of "high" side-notched projectile points with Miami/Hardt phase contexts. This point type is one of the few diagnostic artifacts from this pivotal and inadequately resolved interval. The proliferation of projectile points during the Classic period, in terms of both quantity and types, and potentially more lethal design suggests increased conflict shortly before final abandonment of the project area. The meager Classic period faunal assemblage (Chapter 13) is dominated by small animals, indicating the heightened interest in projectile points is not related to an increase in large game hunting.

Temporal trends in ground stone (Chapter 10) include an increase, over time, in the proportion of designed artifacts over expedient tools. The variety of tools and the range of activities in which they are utilized also increase. By the Classic period, a significant portion of the ground stone tool assemblage was used in nonfood-processing activities such as architectural construction, shaftsmoothing, hideworking, and woodworking. Several unique contexts are also described in detail, including a cache of ground and unworked stone items recovered from a floor pit in a small pre-Classic pithouse that may have been used as a sweat lodge. Sagebrush was the only economic pollen type recovered from this structure.

A large and varied collection of macrobotanical remains (Chapter 11) and pollen (Chapter 12) was recovered from the project area. The presence of maize in Early Agricultural contexts at the Boatyard site indicates this cultigen has a long history in the Tonto Basin, extending back at least into the first millennium B.C. Although maize continues to be an important resource throughout the prehistoric sequence, the TCAP macrobotanical record documents a dramatic increase in agave and wild grass exploitation during the perhaps "not-so" Sedentary period. Notable trends in the Classic period botanical assemblage include continued high maize and agave ubiquities and a substantial increase in cotton ubiquity. The latter may be related to an expansion of irrigation systems in the adjacent Tonto Creek floodplain as indicated by elevated Evening Primrose Family pollen counts.

Cite this Record

Tonto Creek Archaeological Project - Artifact and Environmental Analyses, Volume 2: Stone Tool and Subsistence Studies. Jeffery J. Clark. 2002 ( tDAR id: 436483) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8436483

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Archaic Hohokam Mogollon

Charcoal Chipped Stone Fauna Fire Cracked Rock Ground Stone Macrobotanical Pollen Wood

Site Name
AR-03-12-06-126 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1347 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1350 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1352 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1353 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1354 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1362 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1365 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1366 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1373 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1374 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1375 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1376 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1377 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1378 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1381 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-1387 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-199 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-202 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-203 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-204 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-2062 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-2064 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-2283 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-2284 (TNF) AR-03-12-06-332 (TNF) AZ U:286 (ASM) AZ U:3:222 (ASM) AZ U:3:223 (ASM) AZ U:3:224 (ASM) AZ U:3:273 (ASM) AZ U:3:274 (ASM) AZ U:3:275 (ASM) AZ U:3:276 (ASM) AZ U:3:277 (ASM) AZ U:3:278 (ASM) AZ U:3:279 (ASM) AZ U:3:285 (ASM) AZ U:3:287 (ASM) AZ U:3:288 (ASM) AZ U:3:289 (ASM) AZ U:3:290 (ASM) AZ U:3:291 (ASM) AZ U:3:294 (ASM) AZ U:3:296 (ASM) AZ U:3:297 (ASM) AZ U:3:299 (ASM) AZ U:3:300 (ASM) AZ U:3:301 (ASM) AZ U:3:302 (ASM) AZ U:3:352 (ASM) AZ U:3:5 (ASM) Boatyard Butcher Hook Casa Escondida Cerro Flojo Granary Row Heron Hatch Hodgepodge Ridge Las Tortugas Los Hermanos Middle of the Road Sliver Tres Huerfanos Vista del Puerto Show More

Site Type
Archaeological Feature Burial Pit Courtyard Cremation Domestic Structure or Architectural Complex Domestic Structures Funerary and Burial Structures or Features Hearth Inhumation Pit Pit House / Earth Lodge Post Hole / Post Mold Roasting Pit / Oven / Horno Trash Concentration Trash Mound

Spatial Coverage

min long: -111.572; min lat: 33.608 ; max long: -110.976; max lat: 34.246 ;

Record Identifiers

Anthropological Papers No.(s): 23

SRP Library Barcode No.(s): 00090600

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