Early Farmers of the Sonoran Desert: Archaeological Investigations at the Houghton Road Site, Tucson, Arizona


The following report presents the results of archaeological testing and data recovery at the Houghton Road site (AZ BB:13:398 [ASM]). These investigations provide important new insights into a virtually unknown time in Tucson Basin prehistory. The Houghton Road site represents a seasonally or semipermanently occupied hamlet that dates primarily to the Plain Ware horizon, the first period of Formative culture in southern Arizona.

Excavations at the Houghton Road Site (AZ BB:13:398) add to the growing body of new information concerning the Archaic-Formative transition in the Southwest. Archaeological testing and data recovery investigations resulting from modifications to Houghton Road provide unique insights into this critical period that until recently was virtually unknown in Tucson Basin prehistory. Absolute dates indicate that between 7 and 14 houses at this site date to a time between the Late Archaic period and the Hohokam occupation, which began at the end of the Pioneer period in the Tucson Basin. Most of the houses were small to moderate-sized habitations, several of which contained plastered pillars flanking the entryways and creating a distinctive bean shape. Statistical Research, Inc. (SRI), was authorized by Pima County (Work Order 4BHTVC) to carry out these investigations after the county moved Houghton Road about 100 feet east from its existing alignment between Speedway Boulevard and Tanque Verde Road.

Most distinctive was a much larger bean shaped house with pit walls more than 1mhigh. This house is morphologically identical to Mogollon Early Pit House period communal houses. These houses were associated with 33 extramural features, including bell-shaped pits, roasting pits, and pits of unknown function. In addition, two middens and other pit features were apparently associated with a Colonial period use of the site area that spread a thin veneer of Hohokam refuse over the southern portion of the site.

Cite this Record

Early Farmers of the Sonoran Desert: Archaeological Investigations at the Houghton Road Site, Tucson, Arizona. Richard Ciolek-Torello, Jeffrey Altschul, Dale Brenneman. Statistical Research Technical Series ,72. Tucson, AZ: SRI Press. 1998 ( tDAR id: 441972) ; doi:10.48512/XCV8441972

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -110.843; min lat: 31.752 ; max long: -110.548; max lat: 31.985 ;

Record Identifiers

Work Order(s): 4BHTVC

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