Archaeological Investigations at the Dutch Canal Ruin, Phoenix, Arizona: Archaeology and History Along the Papago Freeway Corridor


This report presents the results of combined archaeological testing and excavation conducted at the Dutch Canal ruin site within the Interstate 10, Papago Freeway corridor, Phoenix, Arizona. The project was sponsored by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) was contracted by HNTB Engineers, consultants to ADOT, to complete the archaeological studies. Field work was conducted during May, June and July, 1986.

Prehistoric resources identified during the testing consisted of two canal alignments and habitation features which date to the late Pioneer and Colonial periods of the Hohokam culture, ca. A.D. 600-950. The remains are located within the boundaries of the large Classic period village mapped by Midvale as the Dutch Canal ruin. Classic period remains found during this project, however, were limited to only two redware sherds.

The research design was structured towards identifying temporal and functional aspects of the canals and domestic features, and the relationship between the canals and domestic features. Various chronometric methods, including the experimental dating of canal sediments by archaeomagnetic techniques, were successfully used in determining the age of features. Botanical data was used to assess feature and site function and to reconstruct the general vegetation patterns and the resources which were exploited.

A reconstruction of prehistoric land use patterns indicates that this area of the first terrace of the Salt River during the late Pioneer and Colonial periods was a specialized agricultural work station. The structures were used as field houses in association with irrigation agriculture. Three canals date to the late Pioneer and early Colonial periods and may be part of the earliest canal system built along the north side of the Salt River.

In addition, a significant historic study was completed which focused on the historic Dutch Ditch and later use of the first terrace. Numerous historic features associated with early housing developments were encountered during testing and excavation. A history of land ownership and development was compiled and Berney Park, a municipal facility established by Leo S. Berney, was researched.

Due to the obvious early nature of the canals and associated habitation features, research focused on documentation of Hohokam land use and chronometric studies. These investigations serve to document the presence of intact, buried remains on the first terrace of the Salt River associated with early Hohokam occupation. These studies have served to broaden understanding of Hohokam land use patterns and the development of canal irrigation.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Investigations at the Dutch Canal Ruin, Phoenix, Arizona: Archaeology and History Along the Papago Freeway Corridor. David H. Greenwald, Richard Ciolek-Torrello. ,38. Flagstaff, Arizona: Museum of Northern Arizona. 1988 ( tDAR id: 4419) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8J38R5Z

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1000 to 1450

Spatial Coverage

min long: -112.062; min lat: 33.419 ; max long: -112.025; max lat: 33.454 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): James B. Rodgers; James Lombard; Patricia A. Ruppé; Linda Scott Cummings; Gary Huckleberry

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