Archaeological Investigations at the Tanque Verde Wash Site, A Middle Rincon Settlement in the Eastern Tucson Basin

Author(s): Mark D. Elson

Year: 1986


Excavations by the Institute for American Research at the Tanque Verde Wash site (AZ BB: 13:68 [ASM]) uncovered a nearly complete segment of a single component Middle Rincon subphase (A.D. 1000-1100) hamlet. The site was located along Tanque Verde Wash, the largest permanent drainage within the eastern Tucson Basin. Nineteen pithouses, three trash mounds, and 66 extramural features were recovered within a 2500 square meter area, The excavation methodology, which involved the complete excavation of all major features and the stripping of large areas of extramural space, allows for a detailed investigation into Hohokam settlement of this area.

The site contained a wealth of cultural remains. Approximately 70 percent of the structures burned, many with complete floor assemblages. Numerous whole vessels, chipped and ground stone tools, shell and ceramic jewelry, and over 250,000 seeds and other ethnobotanical remains, were recovered. A single storage structure, feature 19, contained the majority of the ethnobotanical material, along with 18 reconstructible vessels, basket and matting fragments, several palettes, and other artifacts.

The recovery of a large number of Middle Rincon sherds and whole vessels allowed for a refinement of the 100-year Middle Rincon subphase into three periods through the use of multidimensional scaling techniques. These data are used in conjunction with other chronological indicators to structure the site into contemporaneous sets of courtyard groups or pithouse clusters. A wide range of extramural activities are also documented.

The nearly complete excavation and data recovery, along with detailed petrographic analysis of the ceramic assemblage, also allows for an in-depth examination of trade and exchange within the Tucson Basin. The data indicate that the majority of the Tanque Verde Wash ceramics were not manufactured locally but instead were imported from the Santa Cruz River area in the western Tucson Basin. A flow-rate analysis is conducted on the ceramic assemblage.

As a related analysis, settlement patterns within the eastern Tucson Basin are examined through a detailed investigation of all eastern Basin sites recorded to date. This study represents the first in-depth synthesis of this material. Several models for settlement are presented and the data are compared with previous settlement models developed for the Santa Cruz River area in the western Tucson Basin.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Investigations at the Tanque Verde Wash Site, A Middle Rincon Settlement in the Eastern Tucson Basin. Mark D. Elson. 1986 ( tDAR id: 448027) ; doi:10.48512/XCV8448027

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Archaic Historic Historic Native American Hohokam Huichol Late Archaic Maya Navajo Patayan Pueblo Tarahumara Yuman Zuni

Ceramic Chalcedony Chert Chipped Stone Chrysocola Clay Copper Dating Sample Fauna Feather Gravel Ground Stone Hematite Human Remains Macrobotanical Malachite Mica Muscovite Obsidian Ochre Pyrite Quartz Schist Shell Turquoise Wood

Site Name
AZ BB:10:3 (ASM) AZ BB:13:123 (ASM) AZ BB:13:146 (ASM) AZ BB:13:224 (ASM) AZ BB:13:225 (ASM) AZ BB:14:1 (ASM) AZ BB:14:2 (ASM) AZ BB:14:22 (ASM) AZ BB:14:24 (ASM) AZ BB:14:3 (ASM) AZ BB:14:4 (ASM) AZ BB:9:101 (ASM) AZ BB:9:14 (ASM) AZ BB:9:143 (ASM) AZ BB:9:33 (ASM) AZ BB:9:44 (ASM) AZ BB:9:54 (ASM) AZ BB:9:58 (ASM) Bosque site Converse site Emkay site Freeman site Hardy SIte Observatory Site Pithouse Village Tanque Verde Ruin Turner site (no Number) University Indian Ruin Vista del Rio Whiptail Ruin Show More

Site Type
Agricultural Field or Field Feature Agricultural or Herding Ball Court Domestic Structure or Architectural Complex Domestic Structures Farmstead Great House / Big House Hamlet / Village House Mound / Earthwork Non-Domestic Structures Pit House / Earth Lodge Resource Extraction / Production / Transportation Structure or Features Settlements

Spatial Coverage

min long: -110.806; min lat: 32.203 ; max long: -110.652; max lat: 32.303 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.

Contributor(s): Gwen L. Brown; Kurt Dongoske; Lisa G. Eppley; Suzanne K. Fish; James Heidke; James Lombard; Charles Miksicek; Christine R. Szuter; Arthur Vokes; Henry D. Wallace

Sponsor(s): Fairfield Communities, Inc.

Prepared By(s): Institute for American Research

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Contact(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.

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