Message #29
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: View From The Trenches, Vol. 1, No. 1, January 1998
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 19:23:10


[ AzTeC / SWA SASIG ] :

From: Laurie Slawson

VIEW FROM THE TRENCHES
The Quarterly Newsletter of Belagana Research Institute
Vol. 1, No. 1, January 1998

Welcome to "The Trenches"

Grab a hard hat and jump right in! We're glad you're going to be
joining us on our first dig into the rich stratum that is public
correspondence. The goal of this newsletter is to inform, update,
and educate you with accounts of projects and products of both
Belagana Research Institute and Aztlan Archaeology, Inc. We hope
you enjoy our efforts! And, by the way, that hard hat I asked you
to grab, in this case, isn't to protect your head from falling
debris, it's just to let your family and friends know that you're
in the process of excavating the pages of "The Trenches!"

--Jennifer K. K. Huang, editor

Archaeological Investigations in the Historic Townsite of Florence,
Arizona

by Laurie V. Slawson, Ph.D., Aztlan Archaeology, Inc.

Florence, which is situated on a terrace overlooking the Gila River
in central Arizona, has a colorful history. The town was settled in
1866; two years later, a formal townsite was laid out by Levi
Ruggles, the local Indian agent. By 1875, population was almost 300,
and the town became the county seat. That same year, mining played
an important role in the subsequent growth of Florence with the
discovery of silver ore deposits at what later became the Silver
King Mine near present-day Superior. Within five years, the
population of the town had increased to almost 1,000 residents.
Along with this growth came an increase in the number of business
establishments, most notably the 28 saloons that lined Main Street,
including the Tunnel Saloon, where on May 31, 1881, a gunfight
took place between Sheriff Pete Gabriel and his former deputy
Josephus Phy. The latter lost.

In March and July 1996, archaeological investigations were conducted
within the original Florence Townsite by Aztlan Archaeology, Inc.,
prior to the construction of the new Florence post office at the
north end of town. The property consists of Historic Blocks 65 and
66, and which are bounded by Main Street on the west, Pinal Street
on the east, and Ruggles Avenue (formerly 5th Street) on the south.
On the north, the property is bounded by what originally was the
north side of 4th Street. The original historic blocks of the
Florence Townsite were 125 feet square, with 60-foot-wide streets.
Sometime between 1910 and 1914, 4th Street was vacated and the
easement was added to both blocks. Bailey Street was similarly
vacated at some point after 1914.

In 1882, Block 65 contained only one building--an adobe on the
southwest corner. At some point between 1897 and 1910, the adobe
building was removed and replaced by a large, north-south-oriented,
wood frame building on Bailey Street that had an adobe dwelling on
its east side. The frame building is labeled Blsm, or Blacksmith,
on both the 1911 and 1915 Sanborn maps.

Between 1897 and 1910, another adobe house was built in the
southeast quarter of Block 65. This building was demolished
shortly before testing could begin.

Whereas the east half of Block 65 belonged to the White family, the
west half of the block was associated with the Gay family. Sometime
between 1897 and 1910, Alejandro A. Gay set up his blacksmith shop
at Bailey Street and Ruggles Avenue. He was a local character
and inventor in Florence, who was well known for his various
exploits, many of which followed the excessive use of alcohol. One
incident began with his announcement that, "Alex Gay will fly
today." He climbed to the top of his blacksmith shop, strapped on
a pair of homemade wings and jumped off. Although he survived, he
gave up flying after that attempt.

In 1882, four adobe buildings were standing on Block 66. A small
adobe blacksmith shop was located on the northwest corner of the
block, a larger adobe was on the southwest corner, another adobe
was situated on the southeast corner, and on 4th Street, near the
northeast corner of the block, was a very small rectangular building.
The latter is the only one of the four that does not appear on the
1890 Sanborn map.

Two of the buildings on the 1890 map had disappeared, or were
abandoned, by 1897. At this time, the blacksmith shop was labeled
Ruins, and the building in the southwest corner, which was labeled
Chinese in 1890, had been demolished. This building was Chinese-
owned from at least 1883, and possibly as early as 1877.

By 1910, the blacksmith shop ruins had been removed and a small
wood frame building or shed was built just east of it on 4th
Street. Also, the house on the southeast corner had been remodeled.
In 1936, the house was being used as a mortuary.

The 1880 census lists Jim Sam, a Chinese man, as a resident of
Florence who worked as a cook in a hotel. His age is given as 33
years; he had a wife and son. The 1882 townsite map of Florence
indicates that Jim Sam owned Block 66. He also owned Block 36, on
which two buildings had been built. In addition to his Florence
property, he bought and sold mining claims in the area.

It is not known how long Jim Sam lived in Florence; he was there
as early as 1877 and had moved to Casa Grande between 1890 and
1896. His three-room adobe "One-Bit Bar" on the northeast corner
of Main Street and Ruggles Avenue was built in 1877. The bar was
in operation from at least 1877 to 1878.

On Block 65, on the east side of the post office property, the
focus of the testing program was on the dwelling on the southwest
corner that is shown on the 1882 Cox map and the four Sanborn maps,
and on the adjoining blacksmith shop of Alexander A. Gay that
appears on the 1911 and 1915 Sanborn maps.

On Block 66, testing focused on the area of the One-Bit Bar and
Jim Sam's house on the northeast corner of Main Street and
Ruggles Avenue and the blacksmith shop north of the bar that is
depicted on the 1890 Sanborn map. The area of the dwelling that
appears on the southeast corner of the block on the 1882 Cox map
and the four Sanborn maps also was tested.

Twelve trenches were excavated in Block 65, and 16 in Block 66.
Five historic features were located during the week-long testing
program. Feature 1 was a cobble foundation and trash deposit,
whereas Feature 3 was a large trash pit within a thin trash
deposit. Both features, located within 40 feet of each other in
Trenches 9 and 11, contained a notably higher percentage of
Chinese artifacts than the remainder of the site, particularly
Feature 3. In contrast, Trench 10, situated between Trenches 9 and
11, was almost completely sterile. The other three features were
small pits. All five features contained ash and burned wood,
possibly from the discarding of materials from heating or cooking
stoves.

Data recovery excavations of Features 1 and 3 were conducted in
July 1996; an additional trash concentration, Feature 29, was
found in association with Feature 1 at that time. Artifacts
recovered from Feature 1 provide a date range of 1886 to 1890; all
of the artifacts from Feature 29 date to 1890. No diagnostic
artifacts were found in Feature 3.

Of all the artifacts collected during the excavations of Blocks
65 and 66, perhaps the most interesting are several Chinese opium
pipe bowls and opium cans. Four complete and one fragmented opium
pipe bowl were collected during trenching in the vicinity of
Feature 3. One of the complete bowls has five characters incised
around the neck that read Yun Shen Bu Zhi Chu or "when the clouds
are thick, you lose track of where you are."

Parts of three rectangular brass opium cans also were recovered
near Feature 3. Affixed to one can fragment is a partial, legible
paper label. The lettering, "...(o)pium/...PAT(NA)/HON(G KONG),"
is unique. Of the hundreds of whole and fragmentary opium
containers found in archaeological contexts in Arizona over the
past 29 years, none has had a legible English text label. In the
case of this artifact, the label advertises that the raw opium
originated in the Patna area of India, which was a favorite
British source for high quality opium.

Research questions that were asked concerned ethnicity, gender,
and age of the blocks' residents; sources and types of food
consumed; changes in use of artifacts and buildings over time; and
types of construction methods employed. With the exception of the
Chinese-related items, sufficient quantities of artifacts in good
enough contexts were not obtained to fully address these research
questions in terms of specific households. However, information was
obtained that is applicable to understanding the history of Blocks
65 and 66, and the town of Florence in general. Of particular
interest are the artifacts that reflect the presence of Jim Sam,
an early Chinese resident of Florence, and later, Casa Grande,
who served in Florence in a number of roles, including as laborer,
businessman, landowner, and speculator in mining properties. Also
of note is the curious lack of blacksmith shop-related artifacts,
given that there were two such shops on Blocks 65 and 66, one of
which was in operation for almost 50 years.

Aztlan Currents

by Joseph Howell, Aztlan Archaeology, Inc.

Hello! Welcome to the first Aztlan Currents. In this column, we
will be reviewing the progress of AAI projects that are currently
ongoing or have been completed recently. For this edition, I'll be
reviewing three of our recent major projects. Hopefully, in the
future I'll be able to prevail upon some of the other Project
Directors at AAI to contribute to this column!

Tucson Museum of Art

Those of you who spend time in the downtown area may have noticed
recently that the Tucson Museum of Art is in the process of
expanding its facility. AAI's primary fieldwork at the site was
completed in late November of last year.

Part of the site is the former location of the Jacobs House, a
once well-known Tucson landmark that faced Alameda Street. This,
along with the fact that the site is situated within the old
Presidio, makes it hardly surprising that a large collection of
historic artifacts was recovered. Some of the more interesting
items include Tohono O'odham ceramics and projectile points,
Majolica ceramics, several musket balls, glass and bone buttons, a
glass salt holder, and a variety of bottles. At the lower levels of
the excavation, a considerable amount of prehistoric material was
found, as well. Items of note include an unusual red-on-black
variety of ceramics, a ground stone pestle, and a few spindle
whorls.

City of Tucson Historic Neighborhood Inventory

Jennifer K. K. Huang and I, under the direction of Morgan Rieder,
are currently conducting historic research for the City of Tucson
which is updating its historical assessment of three of Tucson's
oldest neighborhoods:  Sam Hughes, Dunbar/Spring, and Barrio Anita.
Many buildings in these areas were not eligible for nomination to
the National Register of Historic Places (that is, were not over
50 years of age) at the time of the last assessment. The research
being done will bring the information up to date, as well as allow
for a possible expansion of the currently established historic
districts within the neighborhoods. The research into Barrio Anita
is proving to be the most exciting, since it (unlike Sam Hughes
and Dunbar/Spring) does not presently possess a formal historic
district and appears not to have been previously studied
historically to any great extent.

One of the first stages in our research involves delving into the
old Tucson city directories that were published for each year prior
to 1948, and ascertaining who lived at each address throughout the
years. Most of the occupations of the tenants are listed in the
directories, and it is fascinating to watch a pattern emerge: in
the late 1920 and 1920s, employment with the Southern Pacific
Railroad is common (especially in Barrio Anita, through which the
railroad ran and still runs). In the mid- to late 1930s, during
the Depression, employment with Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works
Projects Administration is seen to increase. Then, with the onset
of America's involvement in World War II, enlistment in the Armed
Forces becomes commonplace.

Watch this column for further developments on this interesting
project.

The Uncompahgre Plateau/Gunnison Basin Survey

This project involved a survey of more than 4,000 acres of land
in western Colorado for the Bureau of Land Management. Under Mark
Sullivan's and my direction, fieldwork was conducted in two phases,
beginning during the autumn of 1996 and ending in the early summer
of 1997. The report was finalized this last November.

One of the objectives of the survey was to check for any indication
of the "Gateway Tradition," a semiagiculturalist tradition found
in eastern Utah and western Colorado in the region east of the
Uncompahgre River. No clear evidence of the Gateway Tradition was
found during the survey; instead, most of the sites found fit well
into the Uncompahgre Complex, a hunter-gatherer tradition of the
Uncompahgre Plateau, first defined by Robert H. Lister and H. M.
Wormington in 1956. The Uncompahgre Complex spans a time frame
beginning in the Archaic period and ending with the Ute Indians.

Particularly interesting was the Cebolla Creek region, near
Gunnison. This area had a fairly dense number of sites consisting
of scatters of lithic tools that were largely manufactured from a
unique butterscotch-colored chert that is endemic to the area.
Several historic sites were recorded, as well. Most of these were
the remnants of livestock herding and mining camps, but a small
historic cabin (actually, "storage shed" might be a better
description) also was discovered. This cabin possibly was
associated with gold mining activities in the northern Cebolla
Creek area.

And on a personal note, I saw my first bear in the wild!

Well, that's it for the first Aztlan Currents column. Next time
I'll try to include news of some of our smaller projects in
addition to our major ones. Until then!

In the Next Issue

The ongoing project adjacent to the Tucson Museum of Art in
downtown Tucson is producing some surprising discoveries, and
some interesting trenches. The arc shown in this photo is a result
of following architectural plans; that curve at left-of-center
will one day be part of a massive circular planter.

Coming Events

March 14-15, 1998
Archaeology Expo at the Deer Valley Rock Art Center in Phoenix

March 20, 1998
Aztlan Archaeology, Inc., will be hosting an Open House in honor
of Arizona Archaeology Awareness Month

March 25-29, 1998
Aztlan Archaeology, Inc., will have a booth at the Society for
American Archaeology annual meeting in Seattle

April 3, 1998
Belagana Research Institute Open House featuring a publications-
oriented exhibit: "An Illustration is Worth a Thousand Photographs"

April 4, 1998
Belagana Research Institute will have a booth at the Arizona Book
Festival in Phoenix

Available Publications

Ayres, James E., and Laurie V. Slawson
1996	Archaeological and Historical Investigations of Blocks 65
and 66 in the Florence Townsite, Arizona. Archaeological Series
No. 1. Aztlan Archaeology, Tucson (163 pages, $16.00).

Rieder, Morgan
1997	Historic Resources Evaluation and Eligibility Survey of
the Post-1916 Railroad Route and Associated Navy Track Within the
Naval Ordnance Center, Pacific Division, Fallbrook Detachment, San
Diego County, California. Technical Report No. 97-19. Aztlan
Archaelogy, Tucson (80 pages, $8.00).

Slawson, Laurie V.
1997	The 1994 Archaeological Testing Program at AZ AA:12:285 (ASM),
the Dairy Site. Archaeological Series No. 3. Aztlan Archaeology, 
Tucson (127 pages, $13.00).

Slawson, Laurie V., and Mary Ellen Thompson (editors)
1997	Tucson Basin Archaeology, 1985-1994:  An Annotated
Bibliography. Monograph No. 1. Belagana Research Institute,
Tucson (262 pages, $22.00).

Sullivan, Mark, and Joseph Howell
1997	A Cultural Resource Survey of Approximately 4,155 Acres in
53 Parcels of Bureau of Land Management Land on the Western Slope
of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Technical Report No. 97-17.
Aztlan Archaeology, Tucson (141 pages, $12.00).