Tracks through Time: Urban Archaeology along the METRO Light Rail Corridor, Volume I: Introduction, Background, and Preliminary Field Studies


This book presents the results of the archaeological investigations that were conducted along then Light Rail route before and during its construction. As with any project that receives federal funding, METRO was legally required to undertake archaeological investigations along the project corridor; but production of this volume reflects not only METRO's commitment to legal compliance with environmental laws, but also the commitment of the cities of Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa to preserve and protect the rich prehistoric and historic heritage upon which they are built— a heritage that is reflected in the very name of Phoenix.

As a result of our investigations, we encountered a wealth of archaeological materials, investigated 1,049 features, and recovered over a quarter of a million artifacts— not surprising given that the Light Rail route traverses numerous prehistoric villages that were occupied by the Hohokam about 1,000 years ago. While only a very few of these artifacts can be described in this volume, most of them are curated (stored under controlled conditions so they can be preserved for future generations of researchers) at three local museums— Pueblo Grande Museum in Phoenix, the Tempe Historical Museum in Tempe, and the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa. Here we discuss some of the more interesting prehistoric and historic artifacts and features that we found, and relate how their analysis has advanced what we know about the prehistoric and early historic occupations of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The Central Phoenix/East Valley Light Rail Transit Project (CP/EV) is a 31.85-km (19.8-mile) public transit project constructed by Valley Metro Rail, Inc. (METRO), a nonprofit corporation formed by the Cities of Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, and Glendale to plan, design, construct, and operate the light rail transit system. Archaeological Consulting Services, Ltd. (ACS) was responsible for conducting archaeological monitoring tasks at selected locations along the line throughout the construction phase of the project, and preconstruction testing and data recovery at the prehistoric habitation sites of Pueblo Grande and La Plaza. From February 2005 through February 2007, ACS provided these services under contract to PBS&J-PGH Wong Engineering, METRO’s Contract Administration Consultant (CAC); beginning in March 2007, ACS was under direct contract to METRO. The project was funded in part by the FTA and therefore was considered an undertaking subject to consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (as amended), and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Cite this Record

Tracks through Time: Urban Archaeology along the METRO Light Rail Corridor, Volume I: Introduction, Background, and Preliminary Field Studies. Allan J. Schilz, Margerie Green, Lourdes Aguila, Glennda Gene Luhnow. 2011 ( tDAR id: 440945) ; doi:10.48512/XCV8440945

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Historic Hohokam

Archaeomagnetic Sample Building Materials Ceramic Charcoal Chipped Stone Dating Sample Fauna Fire Cracked Rock Ground Stone Historic Artifacts Human Remains Macrobotanical Metal Pollen Rock piles Shell

Site Name
AZ FF:9:17 (ASM) AZ T:12:131 (ASM) AZ T:12:222(ASM) AZ T:12:224 (ASM) AZ T:12:235(ASM) AZ T:12:273 (ASM) AZ T:12:289(ASM) AZ T:12:291 (ASM) AZ T:12:293(ASM) AZ T:12:385 (ASM) AZ T:12:42 (ASM) AZ T:12:45(ASM) AZ T:12:62 (ASM) AZ T:12:70(ASM) AZ T:7:167 (ASM) AZ T:8:213(ASM) AZ U:16:299 (ASM) AZ U:9:1(ASM) AZ U:9:165 (ASM) AZ U:9:189(ASM) AZ U:9:2 (ASM) AZ U:9:211 (ASM) AZ U:9:214 (ASM) AZ U:9:285 (ASM) AZ U:9:286 (ASM) AZ U:9:298(ASM) AZ U:9:69 (ASM) Dos Casas Dutch Canal Ruin Grand Canal Hayden Canal Hotel Westward Ho (Roosevelt Hotel) La Plaza Las Acequias Los Muertos/Las Acequias Canal System Los Pueblos Arriba Maricopa & Phoenix & Salt River Valley Railroad (segment of Creamery Branch) Maricopa Canal Original Phoenix Townsite Park of Four Waters Patricio Canal System Phoenix Street Railway Pueblo Grande Pueblo Patricio Salt River Valley Canal Tumey 3 US 80/Bankhead Highway Show More

Site Type
Activity Area Adobe Room Adobe Structure Agricultural Field or Field Feature Agricultural or Herding air conditioning tunnel Animal Burial Archaeological Feature Artifact Scatter Borrow Pit Canal or Canal Feature Cesspit Cistern Concrete junction box Culvert Domestic Structure or Architectural Complex Domestic Structures drain/sewer vent shaft Drainage inlet drop inlet Fence Floor Foundation Hearth house-in-pit Lens light post Manhole Pipe Pit Pit House / Earth Lodge Post Hole / Post Mold Privy Refuse Pit Reservoir Roasting Pit / Oven / Horno rock-lined pit Septic Tank Sidewalk Storage Pit Survey Marker Utility Trench Wall Water Control Feature Well Show More

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 920 to 1410 (Dating Range of Ceramics for Pueblo Grande)

Calendar Date: 740 to 1340 (Dating Range of Ceramics for La Plaza)

Radiocarbon Date: 1390 to 410 (Dating Range of Radiocarbon for La Plaza)

Radiocarbon Date: 1260 to 1050 (Las Acequais)

Radiocarbon Date: 1390 to 980 (Dating Range of Radiocarbon for Pueblo Grande)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -112.119; min lat: 33.38 ; max long: -111.794; max lat: 33.455 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): City of Phoenix Archaeology Office

Contributor(s): Lourdes Aguila; Sean Bergin; Jennifer L. Bower; Jaimie R. Boyd; Michael Droz; Deborah L. Ferguson; Andrea Gregory; Emily A. Higgins; Thomas E. Jones; Glennda Gene Luhnow; Alex Miller; Walter R. Punzmann; E. Melanie Ryan; Allan J. Schilz; Scott Solliday; Quinlan Stefaniak; Glenn S. L. Stuart; Joanne C. Tactikos; Victoria D. Vargas; Jennifer L. Bower; Eric Dosh; Shawn Fackler; Paige B. Florie; J.C. Kliner; Alissa Letendre; Stanley Plum; Jonathan Spiandorello; Christopher Thompson; Linda M. Schilling; M. John Matirko

Prepared By(s): Archaeological Consulting Services, Ltd.

Submitted To(s): Valley Metro Rail, Inc.

Record Identifiers

Cultural Resources Report No.(s): 147

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
Light_Rail_Volume_1_OCR_PDFA_Redacted.pdf 315.02mb Apr 9, 2021 3:16:25 PM Public
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Light_Rail_Volume_1_OCR_PDFA.pdf 199.16mb Nov 1, 2011 Mar 13, 2018 11:59:36 AM Confidential
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Contact(s): City of Phoenix Archaeology Office

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