Archaeological Testing and Data Recovery at the Florence Prison, Pinal County, Arizona: The SMU (Special Management Unit) Project

Author(s): Richard V. N. Ahlstrom

Year: 1994


Between February 10 and 16, 1994, archaeologists from SWCA, Inc., Environmental Consultants conducted testing and data recovery at three archaeological sites, AZ U:15:234 (ASM), AZ U:15:235 (ASM), and AZ U:15:236 (ASM), located near Florence on Arizona State Trust land. The work was carried out under Project-Specific Permit No. 94-14, granted by the Arizona State Museum (ASM), and in accord with a mitigation plan prepared by SWCA (1993) and approved by the Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) and State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The project was carried out in preparation for construction of a new facility at the Florence Prison, the Arizona State Prison Complex (ASPC)-Special Management Unit (SMU) and was initiated at the request of Mr. Lynn Arrington of The Benham Group, Phoenix.

Field procedures included mapping, surface collection, and backhoe trenching. Of the three sites, AZ U:15:236 (ASM) yielded the most interesting and valuable archaeological data. Specifically, a buried roasting pit was uncovered that produced samples suitable for radiocarbon dating and botanical (pollen and flotation) analysis. The feature probably dated to the late Pioneer or Colonial period. A second feature at the site proved to have been badly disturbed, probably by burrowing animals. This feature, which may have been a roasting facility, probably dated to the Sedentary period, Sacaton phase. Few artifacts were recovered at the site. Site AZ U:15:234 (ASM) produced an assemblage of surface artifacts, consisting primarily of flaked stone debitage and plainware ceramics. No subsurface cultural deposits or materials were encountered, and the site proved to be considerably smaller than originally recorded. The site dated to the Classic period, Soho phase. Investigation of the third site, AZ U:15:235 (ASM), produced minimal data. Excavation demonstrated that a cluster of rocks recorded on survey and interpreted as a probable roasting pit was restricted entirely to the ground surface. Only a few artifacts were recovered, all from the ground surface.

The mitigation plan identified two possible stages of fieldwork. During Stage 1, backhoe trenching would determine the number and distribution of subsurface features or deposits and would sample the surface features. If only a limited number of features were discovered, including no structures, it would be possible to complete data recovery at this stage, and no further work would be necessary. If Stage 2 research were to prove necessary, it would involve the excavation of a representative sample of cultural features and deposits.

In SWCA’s opinion, the data potential of the three sites was adequately sampled during Stage 1 fieldwork, and therefore, no additional (Stage 2) fieldwork was required at the sites. On this basis, SWCA has recommended that archaeological clearance be granted for construction of the ASPC-Special Management Unit.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Testing and Data Recovery at the Florence Prison, Pinal County, Arizona: The SMU (Special Management Unit) Project, 141. Richard V. N. Ahlstrom. 1994 ( tDAR id: 446156) ; doi:10.48512/XCV8446156

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -111.38; min lat: 33.002 ; max long: -111.276; max lat: 33.074 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): SWCA Environmental Consultants

Contributor(s): R. Scott Anderson; Susan B. Bierer; Mark L. Chenault; Jo Anne Miller; Thomas Motsinger; David A. Phillips, Jr.; Heidi Roberts

Field Director(s): Richard Ahlstrom

Principal Investigator(s): Richard Ahlstrom

Project Director(s): Thomas Euler

Landowner(s): Arizona State Trust

Permitting Agency(s): Arizona State Land Department; State Historic Preservation Office

Prepared By(s): SWCA Environmental Consultants

Submitted To(s): Arizona State Land Department; The Benham Group

Record Identifiers

Arizona State Museum Project-Specific Permit No. (s): 94-14

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94-141_OCR_PDFA_Redacted.pdf 2.82mb Feb 10, 2021 11:09:59 AM Public
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94-141_OCR_PDFA.pdf 3.68mb Nov 1, 1994 Jun 5, 2018 10:03:35 AM Confidential
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Contact(s): SWCA Environmental Consultants

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