Archaeological Testing Within the Upper Tonto Basin the Rye Creek Project

Author(s): Mark D. Elson; Deborah L. Swartz

Year: 1989


The archaeological testing of 19 sites within a 5.4 mile (8.7 km) stretch of State Route 87 in the Upper Tonto Basin of central Arizona provided a wealth of new and significant information on the prehistory of this little known area. The testing was undertaken to determine the cultural significance of the 19 sites prior to an Arizona Department of Transportation road widening and realignment construction project (ADOT Project Number F -053-1-315PE ).

Investigated site types include small temporary use locales, field houses, farmsteads, an agricultural field system, and two small villages. Sites with both masonry architecture and subsurface pithouses are present within the project area. The pithouse sites appear to be slightly earlier than the pueblo sites; the pithouse sites date between A.D. 750-1100 while the pueblo sites date between A.D. 1000-1400. Most significantly, however, is the fact that there does not appear to be a hiatus in the settlement of the area. Occupation was continuous from at least A.D. 750 until abandonment sometime in the 15th century. A preliminary analysis of the settlement patterns suggests that the sites were hierarchically arranged. A working hypothesis is presented that proposes that an initial site hierarchy was present during the pithouse occupation of the area, but that it was not until the subsequent pueblo occupation that it reached its full expression. This is believed to be related to the growth of Rye Creek Ruin, a large village containing over 200 masonry rooms and a platform mound situated approximately 500 meters east of the project area.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Testing Within the Upper Tonto Basin the Rye Creek Project, 2. Mark D. Elson, Deborah L. Swartz. 1989 ( tDAR id: 448445) ; doi:10.48512/XCV8448445

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Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 750 to 1100 (Occupation)

Calendar Date: 850 to 1300 (Occupation)

Calendar Date: 1000 to 1220 (Occupation)

Calendar Date: 1000 to 1400 (Occupation)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -111.375; min lat: 34.073 ; max long: -111.342; max lat: 34.1 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.

Contributor(s): James Heidke; Gary Huckleberry; James Lombard

Prepared By(s): Institute for American Research

Submitted To(s): Arizona Department of Transportation

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
tr89-02_final_OCR_PDFA_Redacted.pdf 99.87mb Nov 30, 2020 1:49:46 PM Public
This is the redacted version of the resource.
tr89-02_final_OCR_PDFA.pdf 87.41mb Jan 1, 1989 Apr 15, 2019 12:14:16 PM Confidential
This file is the unredacted version of the research.

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Contact(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.

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