Message #422:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Hohokam Observatory
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 96 09:29:00 MST
Encoding: 45 TEXT


Ruins need to be protected from vandals, group says
By Mike Padgett, Staff Writer, Page B1,  Arizona Republic, Monday December 
23, 1996

Six days a week, Tom Mildebrandt hikes past an ancient Hohokam observatory 
hidden in the North Mountain Preserve.  "A lot of people walk by it every 
day and don't even know it's there, " he said.  That's good, Mildebrandt 
says, becauseit means the centuries-old ruin will remain unchanged. 
 However, leaving the ruin unprotected exposes it to vandalism, which, he 
says, already has begun.  That's why Mildebrandt, Phoenix archaeologist todd 
Bostwick and others are asking the city to protect the site by posting signs 
around it that explain its importance.  Mildebrandt , a retired Department 
of Public Safety officer, found out about the circular ruin in June.  On one 
of his hikes, he went to investigate a car parked partway up the hillside. 
 There he met Bostwick, learned the history of the 70-foot diameter ruin and 
volunteered to help protect it.  The ruin dates to the 1100s or 1200s A.D. 
and has been known to non-Indians since the late 1800s.  But only recently 
did a three-year study reveal that sunlight patterns during summer and 
winter solstices hit specific petroglyphs on central stones.  The Study was 
completed by Bostwick and Stan Plim, a US West 
technician-turning-archaeologist.  Plum said there are similar rock rings in 
northern and southern Arizona, but this is the first of its kind found in 
metropolitan Phoenix. "That's the good, the bad and the ugly of it," Plum 
said.  "There's already been some vandalism."  He and Mildebrandt declined 
to give its exact location in the preserve, which is near Seventh Street and 
Thunderbird Road.  Bostwick is out of the country and could not be reached 
for comment.  In a paper they wrote this year, Bostwick and Plum said they 
have determined "that this site was a prehistoric solar observatory." 
 Mildebrandt said in a few months he's known about the ruins, he's noticed 
the disappearance of a few rocks etched with petroglyphs.  Because it's 
impractical to fence off the ruins and post a guard, the City could add 
signs and recruit volunteers to watch for vandalism, said Roger Lidman, 
director of Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park, 4619 E. Washington St. 
 Lidman said the ruins could be monitored by volunteers in a program run by 
the State Historic Preservation Office.  Ann Howard, Public-archaeology 
programs manager for the office, said there are about 400 volunteers, called 
site stewards, across the state.  The stewards regularly check on more than 
100 archaeological sites that aren't fenced or guarded.  If vandals are 
seen, police are called.  Howard prefers to have the ruins open to the 
public, but protected.  "There needs to be some information available to 
these folks, either through signage or visitor logs present at the site 
where they can pick up information," she said.