Message #249:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Mammoth Find 
Date: Sat, 05 Jul 1997 12:59:05 -0700


A mammoth find in Valley 

It could have been an Ice Age barbecue or evidence that Chandler was
once a Stone Age hangout. Thursday's discovery of woolly mammoth remains
beneath a UDC Homes construction site near Chandler Boulevard and
Gilbert Road may turn out to be one of the state's more significant
archaeological finds, said Brad Archer, an Arizona State University
geologist. Mammoths became extinct more than 10,000 years ago. 

A mammoth find in Valley
By Edythe Jensen The Arizona Republic
July 4, 1997 

It could have been an Ice Age barbecue or evidence that Chandler was
once a Stone Age hangout. Thursday's discovery of woolly mammoth remains
beneath a UDC Homes construction site near Chandler Boulevard and
Gilbert Road may turn out to be one of the state's more significant
archaeological finds, said Brad Archer, an Arizona State University
geologist. Mammoths became extinct more than 10,000 years ago. Archer
was called by Chandler officials when city building inspector Bernard
Schuster noticed some odd-looking white objects stuck in brown clay soil
on the sides of a newly dug sewer trench. He figured they were bones.
"You dig around long enough, and you're bound to run into a grave
someplace," Schuster said. His supervisor advised him to contact ASU.
Archer credits the inspector with saving rare evidence of the Ice Age
East Valley and the most complete woolly mammoth skeleton ever found in
Maricopa County. Grazers accustomed to cooler climates, mammoths roamed
Arizona when it was lush, green and cool, Archer said. The one unearthed
Thursday belonged to a variety called Mammuthus, which was smaller than
an African elephant but with an elephantlike appearance and long fur, he
said. "I'm sure there were many more sites like this that were just
covered up because construction crews don't recognize them," he said. By
the time Archer arrived, the Chandler mammoth remains had been broken by
excavation equipment that dug a trench through the middle of the bones,
chipping some of them into small pieces and tossing their ancient white
particles atop piles of dirt next to the trenches. A tusk was sliced in
half. Archer said only two other partial mammoth remains have been
discovered in the Valley -- one excavated by Archer 12 years ago in
Chandler in what is now the Springs housing development. The other was
discovered more than 20 years ago in Scottsdale. The earlier finds
included only a few bones or teeth. What appeared to be charcoal and
unrelated bones at the Chandler site may make it even more significant,
Archer said. The charcoal and haphazard arrangement of the mammoth bones
could signify an Ice Age "kill site" where man hunted mammoth for food.
If it is, this will be the first evidence of man in the Valley more than
10,000 years ago, Archer said. Evidence of human life during that era
has been discovered in Tucson, but not around Phoenix, he said. Brushing
dirt from bones and painting them with preservatives in the afternoon
sun, Archer and volunteer archaeologist John Babiarz labored under
intense heat in a narrow trench. They expected to spend their three-day
holiday weekend getting the mammoth remains out because excavating crews
for the new Dobson Place subdivision are scheduled to cover the sewer
lines Monday. Construction crews had planned to cover them after
Schuster's 10 a.m. inspection but stopped at his request. The buried
lines soon will be covered with asphalt for a yet unnamed neighborhood
street. If excavation of the mammoth takes longer or if other rare finds
are unearthed, Chandler spokesman Dave Bigos said the city will ask UDC
to delay this portion of the project and excavate another area of
development first. "Who knows, when it comes time to name the street, we
may be driving down Woolly Mammoth Boulevard," Bigos said. Efforts to
contact UDC officials were unsuccessful Thursday. 

[photo/caption Mark Henle/The Arizona Republic: Volunteer archaeologist
John Babiarz holds a piece of hardened clay that contains the tooth of a
woolly mammoth -- the black triangular object. More information on the
mammoth and a map of the find site:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/0704mammap.shtml.