Message #177 From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG To: "'Matthias Giessler'" Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 16:51:11 Subject: BRI's "View From The Trenches" Vol. 1 No. 2 [ AzTeC / SWA SASIG ] : [ SASIG Ed. Note: See Also Vol. 1 No. 1 ] From: Laurie Slawson firstname.lastname@example.org VIEW FROM THE TRENCHES The Quarterly Newsletter of Belagana Research Institute Spring 1998 Vol.1, No. 2 Editor’s Note by Jennifer K.K. Huang, editor Although this is the second issue of The Trenches, some of you are receiving it for the first time, and I would like to welcome you to this newsletter on behalf of both Belagana Research Institute and Aztlan Archaeology, Inc. Through this newsletter we hope to inform you of our current projects, and also entertain you with our irrepressible archaeological wit. I believe that this issue offers a good portion of both information and entertainment. Our front page story explores the history of what is really only a small section of land in downtown Tucson. But our investigations have revealed that the cultural activity on this tiny piece of ground runs deep--evidence of a prehistoric Hohokam occupation, artifacts of the historic Presidio period, and many 19th century European goods were unearthed. It is truly an amazing testament to the commonality of our human nature regardless of time constraints or cultural boundaries. On the lighter side, we’ve included another edition of Joe Howell’s Currents column, a piece of Mark Sullivan’s poetry collection, and Bob Rowe’s personal account of our trip to Seattle. Good digging! Downtown Tucson Site Uncovered in Museum of Art Expansion by Morgan Rieder, M.A., Senior Archaeologist/ Historical Architect, Aztlan Archaeology, Inc. In October and November of 1997, Aztlan Archaeology conducted archaeological testing and data recovery at the Tucson Museum of Art in downtown Tucson. The Museum had undertaken a program of expansion that included construction of a new wing and a sculpture patio in place of a parking lot on the east side of the existing building, within the area bounded by Alameda on the south and the historic Córdova House on the north. The construction site was within the former presidio of Tucson, dating from the Spanish Viceregal and Mexican Republic periods, which overlay the remains of Hohokam settlement on the terrace above the Santa Cruz River. Later, during the U.S. Territorial period, the site was graced by a two-story adobe house built in the Italianate Style for the Jacobs Brothers, early Tucson merchants and bankers. Aztlan Archaeology was selected by the Museum to conduct archaeological monitoring during construction. Despite the site’s rich cultural associations, few--if any--intact cultural deposits were expected to have survived the extensive disturbance of the archaeological record that occurred when the Museum was originally built in the 1970s. However, excavation for the new construction soon uncovered intact deposits from the prehistoric and historic occupations of the site. After testing to determine the extent of the deposits, Aztlan Archaeology recommended mitigative data recovery within the areas that would be directly impacted by construction; wherever possible, intact deposits were to be preserved in place and the locations recorded for future reference. The Arizona State Museum assigned this site the same number--AZ BB:13:9--as the site located a block east that was excavated in 1954 and found to contain a Hohokam pit house and what appeared to be a portion of the presidio wall. Archaeological excavations for data recovery began in mid-October and continued to the end of November. Prehistoric remains consisted of a hearth and refuse deposits that yielded Hohokam ceramics, flaked stone, ground stone, and worked shell. Dating from the presidial era was an extensive refuse deposit beneath the sidewalk along Alameda containing multiple ash lenses, charcoal, and bone. Native ceramics recovered from this deposit consisted of sherds of Papago Plain and Papago Red, representing storage and cooking vessels produced by Tohono O’odham potters and used by the inhabitants of the presidio. Ceramics brought from Mexico consisted of a relatively large number of sherds of majolica, as well as sherds of Mexican lead-glazed red ware. Majolica types recovered from the deposit represented the Puebla Blue-on-white and Aranama Polychrome traditions. Excavated refuse deposits dating from the U.S. Territorial period yielded a variety of ceramic, glass, and metal artifacts. Fragments of French porcelain, champagne bottles, and elegant stemware may have come from the Jacobs house. A fragment of a stone masonry wall uncovered in the middle of the site was identified as a portion of the foundation of the house (demolished in 1968 in the course of urban renewal) and was excavated during data recovery. After complete artifact analyses, a full report will be published and made available by Aztlan Archaeology. Arizona Book Festival Review by Mark Sullivan, Senior Archaeologist, Aztlan Archaeology, Inc. Belagana Research Institute’s booth at the (first annual?) Arizona Book Festival was well situated; we had an excellent view of the central stage and the new Phoenix Central Library, and our location on the midway gave the strolling bibliophiles easy access to our stall. Although our selection was small and its subject matter specialized -- we were the only archaeological institute, company, or gang in attendance -- several of our original volumes generated enough interest that we sold a number of copies. Especially popular were the Hohokam Coloring Book and The Relics of Scorpion Village. It was a warm and breezy day and the crowd was large and in good humor. Joe Howell (who manned the booth with me) and I took turns visiting the other booths: publishers, used-book sellers, authors signing their latest work, and bookbinderies all vied for their share of attention. I even got to shake hands with Quentin Crisp! Belagana Research Institute extends a sincere "thank you" to the Arizona Humanities Council for the grant that made our attendance at this pleasant, worthwhile, and interesting event possible. Aztlan Goes to Seattle by Bob Rowe, Archaeologist/Paleontologist, Aztlan Archaeology, Inc. Four members of Aztlan’s staff (Laurie Slawson, Webster Hansen, Jenny Huang, and I) attended the March 25-29 annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Seattle, Washington. Our schedule was jammed; between the four of us we had two papers and two posters to present, a booth to be manned, and sight-seeing, not to mention enjoying the cool weather. Our first big dilemma was trying to fit all of our luggage and the large box containing the display board (which we came to fondly call "the Behemoth") into the rental car. You know, it is amazing how much stuff you can get into a Plymouth Breeze when you have to! The Behemoth stretched from the trunk through the inverted back seat, the suitcases were stacked to the ceiling, Laurie was sitting the best she could against it all in the back, Webster was driving, Jenny was sitting on the console, and I was in the passenger seat, navigating. We looked like a can of sardines on the go! We were definitely ready to abandon the car when we arrived at the meeting’s host hotel after a long 25-minute drive. The bellhops just stood there in amazement as we pulled all the stuff out, kind of like a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat. Later that afternoon we set up our display in the hall of the Washington State Convention Center and took the evening off. Thursday, March 26, was the first actual day of the meeting. The Aztlan/Belagana booth was manned throughout the meeting by the four of us in various combinations according to the sessions we wanted to attend. The booth was in an ideal location, situated on a corner across from the SAA booth. We had the Behemoth set up with pictures of various projects that we have done in the last few years. We also had copies of various reports, the coloring books, and t-shirts for sale. The Aztlan/Belagana booth was the only booth of a CRM firm; the other booths were various governmental agencies, tool-making companies, or publishing houses. Of the four of us, Jenny’s poster was the first to be presented on the afternoon of the 26th. It was entitled Cruel Irony: Prehistoric Freshwater Sources in the American Southwest Contaminated with Naturally Dissolved Arsenic. She was cool, calm, and professional; you would have had a hard time believing that this was her first paper. Her poster was set up logically and was an eye-catching presentation. It was Webster’s turn on Friday afternoon. His poster session was entitled The Skyborne Witness: The Use of Blimps for Aerial Photography at Archaeological Excavations. Webster was a little nervous, but quickly settled into the routine of explaining his poster to what seemed to be a very eager crowd. The aerial photos of various sites were very informative, and people went away convinced that blimps are a viable and steady platform for aero-photos in archaeology. Saturday afternoon was Laurie’s and my turn to present our papers. I found out that my paper, which was designed to be presented right after Laurie’s, was actually scheduled to go an hour before hers. After a quick rewrite of the introduction it was ready to fly. My paper, entitled The Ceramic Disks of Scorpion Village: Not Just for Spindle Whorls Anymore, was presented with no problems. The paper was well received with several individuals requesting a copy. Laurie’s presentation of The Turquoise Traders of the Silver Bells had a rough start. A few minutes after she began, the bulb in the slide projector blew out. She had to stop until a replacement bulb was located, and then she began all over again. This time the presentation went off without a hitch; he didn’t even trip over the tongue twister in her paper ("Encinitas culture scoria discoidal"). We dismantled the Behemoth that evening, giving us the remainder of the weekend to see some of the sites of Seattle. We visited the Space Needle and the Pike Place Market, where Laurie and Jenny couldn’t resist the fresh salmon and halibut. The meeting was a great opportunity for the company to get its name out. We made good impressions with our four papers, met new contacts, and learned that archaeologists do clean up well! All of the abstracts for our papers, and the entire contents of Laurie’s and my papers, are on-line at the Aztlan Archaeology homepage at www.rtd.com/~aztlan. Aztlan Currents by Joseph Howell, Senior Archaeologist, Aztlan Archaeology, Inc. Hi, everyone! Welcome to another Aztlan Currents, the column that keeps you up to date on AAI’s current projects. Data recovery in Hieroglyphic Mountains During the week of April 20, Jenny Huang, Bob Rowe, and I, under the direction of Mark Sullivan, completed the first phase of data recovery at six prehistoric sites in the Hieroglyphic Mountains, not too far from the Lake Pleasant Recreation Area in central Arizona. This project is being conducted as part of the required environmental assessment relating to a land exchange for the Bureau of Land Management. The fieldwork is being completed in stages, the first of which involved mapping the sites and preparing them for excavation (establishing grid systems, ascertaining surface artifact distributions, and so forth). We expect to move on to the next phase (surface collection and excavation) in about a month. Right now is a great time of the year to be in the field; it’s not too hot (yet!) and the desert is in bloom and very beautiful. Everything except the saguaros seemed to be flowering, from the saltbush to the cholla to the palo verde trees (the down side of this was that it wasn’t too good for Mark’s hay fever). The desert animals were out and about, too. Aside from what is certainly the biggest black-tailed jackrabbit I’ve ever seen (it looked liked it could give an adult javalina a run for its money), we observed about a dozen wild burros in the area around the sites, an uncommon and special treat. The six sites are quite interesting. There is one rather large site on a knoll around which four other, smaller, sites are clustered; one more site is located a couple miles away from this small throng. All appear to be Hohokam, except possibly one site that may date from Archaic times (it consists of just a low-density lithic scatter). The large site on the knoll has two pit houses with basalt masonry foundation walls. These houses, one of which is rectangular, the other more circular, overlook a wide valley toward the northeast. Another site, situated on the side of a hill that lies a short distance to the west of the knoll, consists of a large number of lithics, many of which are tools that appear to be unfinished. This may have been a lithic tool manufacture area that is probably contemporaneous with the site on the knoll. The analysis of the "proto-tools" from this site may perhaps shed some insight into the stone flaking techniques that were used in the area. The other sites orbiting the knoll (besides the potentially Archaic site and the lithic tool site) each lie roughly an eighth of a mile away and are pretty standard Hohokam lithic/sherd/ground stone scatters. The site mentioned above that is distant from the "cluster" has a masonry foundation structure, but this structure is smaller than either of the two on the knoll, and is perhaps better defined as a "field house," although it is similar in design to the rectangular house on the knoll. The next Aztlan Currents will detail the excavation of these sites, which should prove very exciting. We’re all looking forward to the next phase of the project, despite the fact that the weather probably won’t be nearly as cool. Until then!