Archaeological Test Excavations in Sunset Park, Tucson, Arizona

Author(s): J. Homer Thiel

Year: 1995


The City of Tucson has plans to renovate and re-landscape Sunset park, located in downtown Tucson. The park, which was built between 1904 and 1909, lies over a portion of the Spanish/Mexican period Presidio. A portion of the Presidio wall is purported to run north-south through this location. Concern over the potentially destructive impacts resulted in revisions to the architect's plans. Impacts were expected in two areas, and archaeological testing was recommended. Archaeological test excavations were conducted by Desert Archaeology in July, August, and September 1995.

Trenches 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 were located in a gravel-covered portion of the park. An east west rock wall foundation is present about 21 inches below the modem ground surface in Trenches 1, 5, and 6. An outhouse pit, depicted on the 1883 Sanborn map, was located in Trench 6. The wall is believed to date to before 1862. Construction of a parking area at this location would destroy this wall and any other cultural resources above grade in this area. The outhouse pit originates at the approximate depth of the proposed construction. Once the parking area has been paved, it should be protected from impacts related to this project.

Trench 2 was excavated in the grass lawn along the west side of the park, where a light pole will be placed. Intact cultural resources, which are believed to include a floor, sheet trash, and a courtyard surface, were located in this area. Placement of the light pole in the excavation unit will prevent damage to the cultural resources present.

Desert Archaeology recommends that the gravel park area be stripped of dirt down to the level of the rock foundation, that the rock foundation be mapped, and that the remaining sediments be stripped down to the level shown on construction plans. An archaeologist would then map any additional features uncovered, collect diagnostic artifacts visible in the upper fill of the features, and record the features on forms. These measures will mitigate impacts to the cultural resources in this area of Sunset Park.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Test Excavations in Sunset Park, Tucson, Arizona, 15. J. Homer Thiel. 1995 ( tDAR id: 448583) ; doi:10.48512/XCV8448583

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -110.987; min lat: 32.2 ; max long: -110.954; max lat: 32.235 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.

Principal Investigator(s): William Doelle

Prepared By(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.

Submitted To(s): City of Tucson

Record Identifiers

Contract No. (s): 051-94-1

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
tr95-15_final_OCR_PDFA_Redacted.pdf 3.13mb Dec 4, 2020 10:37:51 AM Public
This file is the redacted version of the resource.
tr95-15_final_OCR_PDFA.pdf 2.72mb Sep 1, 1995 May 1, 2019 7:51:28 PM Confidential
This file is the unredacted version of the resource.

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Contact(s): Desert Archaeology, Inc.