Archaeological Investigations at the Grand Canal Ruins: A Classic Period Site in Phoenix, Arizona Volume 1


This report presents the results of the archaeological excavation of a prehistoric Hohokam village known as the Grand canal Ruins (AZ T:12:14(ASU) and AZ T:12:16 (ASU)). Excavations were performed at the site in 1986 in advance of the Squaw Peak Parkway, a city-funded transportation project located in Phoenix, Arizona. The archaeological work was conducted by Soil Systems, Inc., for the City of Phoenix under Contract Nos. 41116 and 42877.

The Grand Canal Ruins represent a large Classic period settlement occupied from around A.D. 1100 to 1450. Over 200 features were identified in the portion of the site investigated and consisted of habitation features, large roasting pits (hornos), midden deposits, irrigation canals, and a large cemetery. The habitation features included pithouses, adobe-walled structures, and a compound. The cemetery extended over the entire project area and contained 79 inhumation and 22 cremation burials. Analysis of the site and its features focused on chronology and site structure, subsistence, mortuary variability, material culture, and settlement patterns.

Chronometric dates and ceramic seriation were used to identify periods of settlement occupation and growth. The site was initially established during the Santan phase (ca. A.D. 1075-1100), attained its maximum extent during the Soho and Civano phases (ca. A.D. 1100-1350/1375), and was abandoned sometime during the Polvorón phase (A.D. 1375-1450). Subsistence studies indicated reliance on domesticated (corn, cotton, bean, and squash) and nondomesticated resources (cactus, agave, mesquite, and small mammals). Irrigation canals in the vicinity probably supplied local agricultural fields. The investigated large cemetery provided abundant information on Hohokam burial practices, osteology, and material culture. Unequal distributions of grave goods were used to examine Classic period social organization. Osteological analysis was used to examine the health, biology, demography, and cultural affinity of this population. Material culture studies focused on the nearly 400 ceramic vessels recovered as well as a variety of stone, shell, and bone artifacts.

The Grand Canal Ruins represent the northernmost settlement within Canal System 2 and the site is discussed in terms of settlement hierarchies and irrigation community organization. This settlement was part of the La Ciudad occupation zone, which may have been administered by a lineage-based authority. It is proposed that the occupation zones were under independent jurisdiction and acted cooperatively to regulate and maintain the large irrigation systems.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Investigations at the Grand Canal Ruins: A Classic Period Site in Phoenix, Arizona Volume 1. Douglas R. Mitchell. ,12. Phoenix, Arizona: Soil Systems, Inc. 1989 ( tDAR id: 4413) ; doi:10.6067/XCV88K778K

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1100 to 1450

Spatial Coverage

min long: -112.063; min lat: 33.469 ; max long: -112.018; max lat: 33.51 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): J. Michael Bremer; John S. Cable; T. Michael Fink; Suzanne K. Fish; Dale M. Fournier; G. Timothy Gross; J. Holly Hathaway; Gary Huckleberry; Joel D. Irish; Steven R. James; Scott Kwiatkowski; Daniel G. Landis; Karl J. Reinhard; David M. Schaller; M. Steven Shackley; R. Ted Steinbock; Anne Marie Lane; Christy G. II Turner

Record Identifiers

City of Phoenix Contract #(s): 41116; 42877

File Information

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