Archaeological Investigations at AZ AA:8:350 (ASM) and AZ AA:8:351 (ASM), Along State Route 79, Pinal County, Arizona

Author(s): Deborah L. Swartz

Year: 2016


Archaeological investigations were conducted along State Route 79 northwest of Oracle, Arizona, prior to rebuilding the Coronado Wash Bridge by the Arizona Department of Transportation. Desert Archaeology subcontracted with AZTEC Engineering to perform the investigations. Two sites were included in this project, AZ AA:8:350 (ASM) and AZ AA:8:351 (ASM), the Coronado Wash site. AZ AA:8:350 (ASM) was tested for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) and is not thought to be eligible because it contained few surface artifacts and no subsurface cultural deposits. The Coronado Wash site, AZ AA:8:351 (ASM), was previously determined to be eligible for the National Register (Tweedy and Woodall 1977). Therefore, phased data recovery was conducted at the site and is the focus of this report.

The project area encompassed only a small portion of the Coronado Wash site, AZ AA:8:351 (ASM), along the northeastern margin of the surface scatter. Forty-five features were discovered: 10 pithouses, 1 inhumation, and 33 other extramural features. The site occupation dated from the Agua Caliente phase (A.D. 50-500) to the Classic period (A.D. 1150-1450), with the densest occupation during the Agua Caliente and Tortolita phases (A.D. 500-700). Based on the excavation data, there was little evidence for agriculture, the pithouse construction was expedient, and the artifacts lacked diversity, indicating this portion of the site was occupied on a temporary or short-term basis. Artifact analyses suggested reuse of the site during the early time periods and single short-term occupation during the Sedentary and Classic periods. The percentage of sherd disks was relatively high compared with other sites in the Tucson Basin, which may indicate an emphasis on fiber production, or it may be fortuitous due to the small and peripheral area of the site that was sampled.

In sum, the prehistoric inhabitants of this portion of the site seem to have been a local group who selected this location to collect wild resources, likely on a seasonal basis. Most of the evidence suggests these people were fairly self-contained and made their own artifacts from local materials, although non-local ceramics, flaked stone, and shell were also recovered. Indications of ceramic production and the high percentage of ceramic disks suggest the unexcavated portion of the site was probably more permanently occupied. Due to the small size of the project area, the interpretation of the site occupation in this volume may be quite different from the interpretation of the entire site occupation if one could include what is lying unknown in the unexcavated portion of the site.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Investigations at AZ AA:8:350 (ASM) and AZ AA:8:351 (ASM), Along State Route 79, Pinal County, Arizona, 01. Deborah L. Swartz. 2016 ( tDAR id: 448375) ; doi:10.48512/XCV8448375

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -111.117; min lat: 32.634 ; max long: -110.964; max lat: 32.73 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.

Contributor(s): Jenny L. Adams; Michael W. Diehl; James M. Heidke; Darden Hood; Stacey Lengyel; Michael W. Lindeman; Mary F. Ownby; R. Jane Sliva; Susan J. Smith; Deborah L Swartz; Christine H. Virden-Lange; Jennifer A. Waters; James T. Watson; Patricia Castalia

Prepared By(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.

Submitted To(s): AZTEC Engineering

Record Identifiers

Agreement on Burial Discoveries(s): 2013-014

Arizona Antiquities Act Project Specific Permit No.(s): 2013-080ps

Federal Project No. (s): BR-STP-079-A(205)T

TRACS No.(s): 079 PN 101 H8075 01C

ADOT Permit No.(s): 1210849

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Contact(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.

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