Archaeological Investigations at the Yuma Wash Site and Outlying Settlements Part 1

Author(s): Deborah L. Swartz

Year: 2016


The Yuma Wash site was a permanently occupied large Classic period village situated in the northern Tucson Basin at the juncture of the eastern bajada of the Tucson Mountains with the Santa Cruz River floodplain. The site area was also intermittently used on a much smaller scale during the rest of the Hohokam sequence and during the Early Agricultural and Early Ceramic periods, as well as during the Historic era. The project was conducted by Desert Archaeology, Inc., for the Town of Marana. The initial data recovery was conducted by Old Pueblo Archaeology Center (OPAC). OPAC personnel investigated five sites and completed data recovery at AZ AA:12:313 (ASM). Three of the remaining four sites were separated solely by modern channels of Yuma Wash, and for the Desert Archaeology project, were considered loci of the Yuma Wash site, although they retained their original ASM site numbers: AZ AA:12:122 (ASM), AZ AA:12:311 (ASM), and AZ AA:12:312 (ASM). The last site, AZ AA:12:314 (ASM), was situated at the southern end of the project area with only a small portion of it within the right-of-way. A canal site, AZ AA:12:1047 (ASM), likely dating to the Classic period, was discovered during the Desert Archaeology investigations. The historic occupation of the Yuma Wash site includes the Bojorquez-Aguirre Ranch structures that dated to the late 1800s. Data recovery of the historic occupation was covered during the OPAC investigations.

Desert Archaeology recorded 1,168 cultural features at the Yuma Wash site and AA:12:314, including 303 human mortuary features. The vast majority of the features dated to the Classic period, and the site was intensively occupied during both the Tanque Verde (A.D. 1150-1300) and Tucson (A.D. 1300-1450) phases. Occupation prior to the Classic period is difficult to characterize due to the paucity of features; in all, 235 structures have now been identified at the Yuma Wash site and AA:12:314, but fewer than a dozen of these have been found, through testing or excavation, to date prior to A.D. 1150. The early occupation was likely intermittent and of varying function, with the site sometimes permanently inhabited for a few years, sometimes seasonally inhabited, and sometimes likely vacant.

The Area of Potential Effect (APE) for the Yuma Wash project was irregular and consisted largely of a small, primarily linear slice of the site. Consequently, site structure could not be clearly determined. However, several observations could be made for the Classic period occupation. Locus AA:12:122 was occupied only during the Tanque Verde phase (A.D. 1150-1300), and showed clear pithouse courtyard groups with cemeteries to the east or southeast. This pattern was much less visible in the other loci due to the shape of the right-of- way and the dynamic nature of the natural sediments, allowing for Classic period features to originate at numerous levels.

The following report contains results from the Desert Archaeology excavations conducted in 2007 and 2008. Whenever possible, previous work by OPAC is also included to provide a more complete understanding of the site.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Investigations at the Yuma Wash Site and Outlying Settlements Part 1. Deborah L. Swartz. 2016 ( tDAR id: 448037) ; doi:10.48512/XCV8448037

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Archaic Historic Historic Native American Hohokam Huhugam Late Archaic Middle Archaic

Argillite Pendant Basketry Building Materials Caliche Ceramic Chalcedony Charcoal Chert Chipped Stone Clay Copper Dating Sample Fauna Fire Cracked Rock Glass Gravel Ground Stone Hematite Human Remains Lithic Macrobotanical Metal Mica Mineral Muscovite Obsidian Ochre Pollen Quartz Schist Shell Textile Turquoise Wood Show More

Site Name
AZ AA:12:1047 (ASM) AZ AA:12:122 (ASM) AZ AA:12:305 (ASM) AZ AA:12:311 (ASM) AZ AA:12:312 (ASM) AZ AA:12:313 (ASM) AZ AA:12:314 (ASM) AZ AA:12:968 (ASM) Yuma Wash Site

Site Type
Agricultural Field or Field Feature Agricultural or Herding Ancient Structure Archaeological Feature Artifact Scatter Brush Structure Burial Pit Canal or Canal Feature Cemetery Commercial or Industrial Structures Domestic Structure or Architectural Complex Domestic Structures Fish Trap / Weir Funerary and Burial Structures or Features Hamlet / Village Hearth Historic Structure House Isolated Artifact Isolated Feature Midden Mill Non-Domestic Structures Pit Pit House / Earth Lodge Plaza Post Hole / Post Mold Resource Extraction / Production / Transportation Structure or Features Roasting Pit / Oven / Horno Room Block / Compound / Pueblo Settlements Storage Pit Structure Terrace Trash Midden Water Control Feature Show More

Spatial Coverage

min long: -111.385; min lat: 32.334 ; max long: -111.039; max lat: 32.769 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.

Contributor(s): Deborah L. Swartz; Jeffrey P. Charest; Chance Copperstone; Susan D. Hall; Gary A. Huckleberry; April Kamp-Whittaker; Michael W. Lindeman; Michael Margolis; Stacy L. Ryan; CaraMia R. Whitney

Prepared By(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.

Submitted To(s): Town of Marana

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
ap49_part1_final_OCR_PDFA_Redacted.pdf 479.10mb Oct 21, 2020 1:38:41 PM Public
This file is the redacted version of the resource.
ap49_part1_final_OCR_PDFA.pdf 359.12mb May 1, 2016 Feb 5, 2019 2:02:58 PM Confidential
This file is the unredacted version of the resource.

Accessing Restricted Files

At least one of the files for this resource is restricted from public view. For more information regarding access to these files, please reference the contact information below

Contact(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.