AAC 2010 Fall Conference Program

"The Application of Archaeological Sciences in Arizona"

October 29th & 30th, 2010 - University of Arizona, Tucson




» Jason Windingstad, Robert M. Wegener, and Jesse A. M. Ballenger
» Marijke Stoll and James T. Watson
» David R. Abbott, Sophia E. Kelly, Andrew Lack, and Margaret Beck
» William A. White, III
» Ted Roberts
» Robert Mark & Evelyn Billo
» Sara Wolff, Paul Fish, Suzanne Fish, James Watson, Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman, and Rachael Byrd
» Stacy L. Ryan
» Audrey Copeland, James Watson, and Jay Quade
» Elizabeth J. Miksa and Mary F. Ownby
» Mary F. Ownby and Elizabeth J. Miksa
» James M. Heidke
» Chris Loendorf and Craig M. Fertelmes
» Rachael Byrd, James T. Watson, Suzanne Fish, and Paul Fish
» Maren Hopkins
» Lawrence Conyers
» Andrew D. Lack, Sophia E. Kelly, David R. Abbott, Joshua Watts, and Pamela Cox
» Erik Steinbach
» David E. Doyel and M. Steven Shackley
» Thomas Fenn
» James Schoenwetter
» Daniel Dybowski

2010 AAC FALL CONFERENCE — ABSTRACTS

Sourcing Patayan Pottery from Las Colinas with Electron Microprobe Assays
David R. Abbott, Sophia E. Kelly, Andrew Lack, and Margaret Beck

An unusual concentration of Patayan buff ware ceramics in a full suite of vessel forms suggests the presence of a Patayan enclave at the Hohokam village of Las Colinas. Some authors have proposed that the Patayan buff wares could have been made locally with riverine clays and presumably with locally available sand that contains phyllite. We investigate if the Patayan pottery was locally made by chemically assaying temper particles of phyllite with an electron microprobe and comparing them to the chemical signatures of bedrock phyllite from the nearby Phoenix Mountains. Our findings demonstrate unambiguous differences between the temper fragments and the raw Phoenix Mountains samples, suggesting that the Patayan pottery was not made at Las Colinas.


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Architecture and the Afterlife: A Spatial Analysis of Mortuary Behavior at University Indian Ruin
Rachael Byrd, James T. Watson, Suzanne Fish, and Paul Fish

Much attention has been paid to Hohokam mortuary features but the diversity of patterns outside of the Phoenix basin continues to be defined. Significant differences in these patterns exist between south-central and southern Arizona and are especially evident during the Classic period (A.D. 1150-1450). In this paper we describe the mortuary spatial patterns observed at the platform mound site of University Indian Ruin (AZ BB:9:33 [ASM]), how it compares to contemporaneous sites, and suggest that burial location and type varies in relationship to architecture. In addition, a spatial analysis was conducted that utilizes previously documented burials and the distribution of cremated human bone on the site surface to construct a predictive model.


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Advances in Ground-penetrating Radar Exploration and Mapping in the Tucson Basin
Lawrence Conyers

Ground-penetrating radar surveys in the Tucson Basin have successfully identified buried cultural features where there is little or no surface expression or artifacts. Earthen floors and walls, composed of adobe, are typically difficult to differentiate in GPR profiles as they are similar to the matrix. But comparisons of GPR data to excavations at a number of sites shows that intact walls are visible as homogeneous non-reflective areas, bounded by reflections from layers of adobe melt and aeolian sand. These complex features have been identified at the Marana, University Indian Ruin and Los Robles. Compound walls at Marana visible within a matrix of alluvium as distinct reflection hyperbolas. Readily visible in profile and amplitude maps are baking ovens and horizontal floors composed of compacted and baked earth. Agricultural features such as distribution canals, feeder channels, "waffle beds" and sediment layers associated with agricultural fields are readily mapped at Rillito Fan and Las Capas.


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Radiocarbon Dating Terrestrial Gastropods in Prehistoric Irrigation Canals
Audrey Copeland, James Watson, and Jay Quade

Canal irrigation is one of the defining characteristics of Formative period adaptations in the Sonoran Desert and numerous archaeological studies have endeavored to better understand their significance to both subsistence and social systems within the region. Terrestrial gastropods from canals have traditionally been used to reconstruct microenvironments; specifically salinity and flow rates. In this paper we demonstrate that terrestrial gastropods can also be used to radiocarbon date canal use and contribute another dimension to the reconstruction of irrigation technology. This proves a reliable technique but some carbon correction is required and certain species are unreliable.


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Late Formative Period Exchange Systems in the Phoenix Basin
David E. Doyel and M. Steven Shackley

Elemental analysis of hundreds of samples of obsidian by x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) from southern Arizona provide insights into exchange and procurement strategies in the Santa Cruz phase and mostly the Sacaton phase of the Hohokam chronology. New data from multiple sites in the Phoenix Basin and Globe Highlands are reported that tend to support some existing interpretations but also add new points of discussion.


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PXRF/WDXRFS Inter-Unit Comparison of Arizona Obsidians
Daniel Dybowski

This paper focuses on two separate x-ray fluorescence methods to see whether or not trace elemental readings between them are comparable. Seven varieties of obsidian from Arizona are used in this study. The first PXRF method is a non-destructive fluorescence method using the NITON XLt handheld analyzer, housed in the archaeology laboratory (ARL) at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM). The second method is the wavelength dispersive x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (WDXRFS), a destructive powder method. The NITON (PXRF) XLt is a mobile handheld device that can be used in the field, whereas the fixed stationary WDXRFS model canno t. This technological development provides an opportunity for scientists to obtain rapid feedback of elemental compositions for raw materials in the field. However, the comparability of these two methods is relatively unknown.


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Prehistoric Glaze Paints from Central Arizona: Raw Material Provenance, Social and Economic Networks
Thomas Fenn

Individual and group identities are hot research topics at present. Several recent research efforts have been made to elicit this type of information concerning prehistoric potters and pottery communities in Pueblo III/IV contexts in the American Southwest. This study examines isotopic ratios of lead used in the manufacture of glaze paints on a sample of previously studied White Mountain Red Ware ceramics (chemical composition analysis) from the Mogollon Rim in order to better understand social and economic contacts and technological information exchange as we ll as to further understand the groups and possible individuals involved. Results suggest a multiple sources were utilized. Lead isotopes from some glazes correspond with ore deposits in the Socorro region of central New Mexico, while isotopic values from other glazes may be from eastern Arizona. These data suggest a mixture of local and long-distance contacts were utilized to procure the necessary raw materials.


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The Element of Surprise: Relating the Social to the Science
James M. Heidke

Nearly a quarter century ago the petrofacies approach to ceramic provenance determination was introduced to AAC members attending the Second Tucson Basin Conference (1986). A preliminary assessment of early and middle Sedentary period Hohokam ceramic production and exchange was presented as well as evidence regarding stylistic variability that covaried with production source. In the intervening years intra-regional, temper source-related stylistic variability has been documented in many collections of middle Sedentary period Hohokam red-on-brown pottery from Tucson area sites, with some of the strongest evidence coming from a careful review of geometric element distributions. Element distributions inform on a wide variety of anthropological topics including, but not limited to, community development, the definition of supra-village social units, learning frameworks, marriage practices, trade partnerships, and consumer preference. Here the utility of the petrofacies approach for addressing those topics with archaeological data is reviewed.


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Protein, Phytolith, and Organic Residue Analysis of Stone Comb Tools from Upper San Pedro Village
Maren Hopkins

In the 1940s, Amerind Foundation archaeologists William Shirley Fulton and Carr Tuthill identified a strange artifact type at two prehistoric sites in southeastern Arizona. These unusual tools were a thin, elongated form similar to a tabular tool, but with hafting modifications similar to a 3/4-groove ax. The use-edge of the tool was coarsely serrated on a single margin, but did not extend across the entire edge. Fulton and Tuthill called these artifacts "stone combs," although they made only minimal speculation as to their function. In 2008, data recovery excavations at Upper San Pedro Village, a prehistoric habitation site located in southeastern Arizona on the international border, recovered several more of these unique artifacts. This time the tools were submitted for protein, phytolith, and organic residue analysis. The results not only provided greater insight into the utility of the stone combs, but also proved to be valuable in the overall interpretation of the site.


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Identifying and Charting the Rise of Specialized Red-on-Buff Production along Queen Creek, Phoenix Basin
Andrew D. Lack, Sophia E. Kelly, David R. Abbott, Joshua Watts, and Pamela Cox

Recent studies have identified intensive Hohokam Red-on-buff pottery production along the middle Gila River in the southern Phoenix Basin. In this paper, we present new evidence demonstrating that villages in the vicinity of Queen Creek were also important production locales. Utilizing ceramic petrography and low-powered optical techniques, we present data confirming that 1) production of buff ware did occur in the Queen Creek area, 2) production occurred over several centuries, and 3) production increased most significantly in the late Sacaton/Soho phases, coinciding with the increased social fra gmentation that accompanied the collapse of the ballcourt system. These results allow us to explore the connection between the organization of pottery production and other socio-historical changes that occurred among the Hohokam.


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Obsidian Source Analysis Using a Bruker Tracer III-V Portable EDXRF
Chris Loendorf and Craig M. Fertelmes

This investigation evaluates the precision and accuracy of the Bruker Tracer III–V portable Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) spectrometer using data collected as part of the Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project. The precision of the instrument is assessed in two primary ways. First, through repeated analysis of a single artifact, and second by analyzing multiple artifacts derived from the same obsidian source. Because obsidian is a chemically homogeneous material, these readings should be uniform and any significant deviations suggest instrument or other error. The accuracy of the analyzer is assessed by comparing previously determined geochemical data to the Tracer III-V results. This study indicates the Tracer III–V has sufficient precision to reliably characterize geochemical variation among obsidian sources; however, it is difficult to determine the accuracy of the device as a result of the range of variation in the previously reported data.


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Using Super-high Resolution Panoramas (Gigapans) to Document and Study Rock Art Panels
Robert Mark & Evelyn Billo

Relatively new robotic hardware and associated software permits capture and stitching of hundreds of telephoto high-resolution images into a large panorama file, the order of a gigabyte or more in size. Theses images can be examined in programs such as Photoshop or exported into formats that permit panning and zooming in a browser, such as Zoomify. Examples will be presented from rock art sites in the Southwestern United States.


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Status Update on Petrofacies Modeling with examples from Classic Period Hohokam sites: Part I
Elizabeth J. Miksa and Mary F. Ownby

Petrofacies modeling in Arizona has moved forward at a steady pace over the last 25 years. Since the first petrofacies model was created for the Tucson basin in 1986, petrographers based at Desert Archaeology, Inc. have devoted considerable effort to collecting a robust network of sand samples so that one of the most common resources employed by the Hohokam can be mapped at a scale that captures the common resource use patterns of prehistoric ceramic specialists in Arizona. As of 2010, we have nine petrofacies models covering a wide swath of central and southern Arizona. Principles of petrofacies modeling are presented, along with details of the statistical analysis and degree of coverage available in each basin. Criticisms of the petrofacies model are addressed, along with a discussion of both the limitations of petrofacies modeling and its most appropriate applications.


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Status Update on Petrofacies Modeling with examples from Classic Period Hohokam sites: Part II
Mary F. Ownby and Elizabeth J. Miksa

The utilization of sand temper by prehistoric potters provides a unique opportunity to identify production locations based on the development of petrofacies models. As previously explained, this methodology is now well developed for nine basins in Arizona and allows a more complete understanding of changes in ceramic production and distribution both chronologically and spatially. To illustrate this ability, two case studies will be presented. Application of the petrofacies model to Tanque Verde Red-on-brown and associated plain wares from two sites in the northern Tucson Basin reveals at least two main production locations. However, changes in technology were also noted, involving the utilization of either fine sands or clays naturally containing fine sands. Petrographic analysis of Gila Polychrome sherds from the Tonto Basin identified three production locales. Both of these examples highlight aspects of ceramic specialization in the Classic to Late Classic periods throughout Arizona.


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Using XRF to investigate Archaic period toolstone procurement patterns in Northern Arizona
Ted Roberts

Hunter-gatherer lithic procurement is investigated through a study of obsidian source use. X-ray Fluorescence analysis was performed on 271 Archaic Period projectile points recovered as surface finds in Northern Arizona. Thirteen obsidian and fine-grained volcanic (FGV) toolstone sources were analyzed and used to build upon regionally specific source standards. The geochemical analysis revealed highly patterned and selective obsidian procurement behavior. To investigate such behavior, I adapted a model used to explain the overwhelming reliance on only a handful of the lithic options available within the research area.


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Obsidian Distribution in the Tucson Basin: XRF Source Studies from the Honey Bee and Yuma Wash Sites
Stacy L. Ryan

Recent x-ray fluorescence obsidian source analyses have added to the growing body of data from Hohokam sites in the Tucson Basin, offering an opportunity to examine spatial and temporal patterns on a regional level. This report summarizes the obsidian artifacts and sources from pre-Classic contexts at Honey Bee Village and from the Classic period Yuma Wash site. Results are compared with new and previously documented patterns from the region, revealing differences in procurement and exchange behaviors during the Sedentary period and increased access to a diverse set of sources through the Classic period. The current evidence suggests that circulation of certain sources increased during the Tucson phase (A.D. 1300 – 1450), possibly providing insights into the changes that occurred during the late Classic period.


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Impressions and Implications: Some Thoughts on Archaeological Pollen Analysis
James Schoenwetter

By means of a brief history of archaeological pollen study and its relationship to CRM I arrive at the suggestion that application of archaeological sciences will begin facing serious limitations in the near future...probably within the professional lifetimes of the members of this audience. I predict the necessity for change in the character of archaeological work if the discipline is to evolve to fulfill its anthropological potential.


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Rediscovering Midvale's Platform Mound at Las Canopas
Erik Steinbach

In an attempt to relocate Frank Midvale's "Cottonwood Ruin", a large mound at the site of Las Canopas in South Phoenix, his field records were reviewed and compared to historic aerial photographs maintained by the Flood Control District of Maricopa County and SRP. The fortuitous timing of two sets of aerial photographs of exceptional quality taken in 1930 and 1934, the years before and after Midvale's test excavation, allow his notes and sketch to be seen in the context of the geography of 1930s South Phoenix. By using GIS software to geo-reference the photographic evidence it can be shown that in the 1930s a large, well preserved mound existed at Las Canopas in the exact location illustrated in Midvale's sketch map. Unfortunately, the geo-referenced aerial photographs also reveal that Midvale's mound was located outside modern Esteban Park on a parcel of land recently developed as apartments.


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Logistic Mobility among Farmers of the Sonoran Desert
Marijke Stoll and James T. Watson

Archaeological evidence suggests that early farmers in the Sonoran Desert practiced a mixed subsistence strategy in which foraging and farming were of equal importance. Patterned differences in subsistence activities in archaeological populations, the result of habitual behaviors, can often be extrapolated by comparing cross-sectional geometry in long bones. We compare the cross-sectional geometry of femur dimensions by archaeological period and between males and females from a series of skeletal samples representing the Early Agricultural period (1,600 B.C.-A.D. 150), the Hohokam cultural sequence (A.D. 150-1450), and the Spanish Colonial period (A.D. 1450-1840) to test the hypothesis that males maintained greater mobility than females during the foraging to farming transition in the Sonoran Desert, and that mobility decreased with greater agricultural investment and eventually missionization.


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"Just What the Doctor Ordered:" Mass Spectrometry Analysis of Historical-Period Medicines in Tucson
William A. White, III

The rare discovery of two sealed medicine bottles with their contents intact from the Joint Courts Complex project area in Tucson provided an opportunity to analyze medicinal products from bygone days. The contents were analyzed by several mass spectrometry instruments to reveal the ingredients of the medicines. Preliminary results indicated that an array of compounds were employed in the manufacture of both medicines. The results also prompted questions about how historical-period organic compounds, like medicines, decay after deposition and how modern chemicals can be absorbed by artifacts after deposition.


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Evidence for the expansion of cienegas during the late Altithermal in SE Arizona from a multi-component prehistoric site along the U.S.-Mexico border
Jason Windingstad, Robert M. Wegener, and Jesse A. M. Ballenger

Christiansen Border Village (AZ FF:9:10 [ASM]) is a multi-component prehistoric site (San Pedro through late Formative) on the United States–Mexico border be¬tween Naco and Douglas in Cochise County, Arizona. Data recovery efforts by Statistical Research, Inc. (SRI), were sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and were initiated in an attempt to mitigate current and future impacts to the site as a result of existing road improvement, road maintenance, and border fence construction. The site is located on a low late Pleistocene terrace on the east side of Christiansen Wash (a tributary of White Water Draw). Subsurface testing quickly revealed the presence of a buried dark, organic rich, cienega deposit adjacent to an abandoned channel on the eastern side of the terrace tread. In order to place this deposit and any associated cultural occupations in a paleoenvironmental context and incorporate it into a regional geomorphic frame¬work, radiocarbon dates were obtained from the shells of the minute gastropod taxon Succinea sp. along with bulk soil humate dates from the cienega proper. Cienega formation began around 4900–4720 and continued to 3630–3370 cal B.C. (Middle Archaic). The cor¬relation of these dates with other paleoclimatic proxies in southeastern Arizona such as White Water Draw, the San Pedro River, and pluvial lake Cochise, suggests a regional increase in moisture during the late Altithermal. Riparian communities likely expanded at this time providing additional subsistence opportunities for Middle Archaic groups.


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A Preliminary Analysis of Bison Remains at University Indian Ruin
Sara Wolff, Paul Fish, Suzanne Fish, James Watson, Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman, and Rachael Byrd

Recent excavations at the Hohokam Classic period (A.D. 1150-1450) platform mound site of University Indian Ruin (AZ BB:9:33 [ASM]) uncovered remains of Bison bison from a room neighboring the central platform mound. The material is fragmented, partially burned, exhibits cut-marks, and is part of a larger assemblage of artifacts that, by analogy with contemporaneous contexts at the Marana platform mound site, could correspond to formal 'closure' of the room. Remains of bison have been documented from a several other contexts in southern Arizona, but the historic natural range is often cited as not having extended much past the border with New Mexico, almost 100 miles to the east. Both the presence and specific contexts in which bison have been found in Classic period Hohokam sites is significant.


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2010 AAC FALL CONFERENCE — POSTER ABSTRACTS

Sourcing Homol'ovi I and Grasshopper Pueblo Turquoise through Lead and Strontium Isotopic Analyses
Saul L. Hedquist, Alyson Thibodeau, E. Charles Adams, David Killick, and J. Jefferson Reid

High-precision measurements of lead and strontium isotopes have been shown to discriminate between turquoise sources in the American Southwest. This study employs a recently developed geochemical and geological framework of paired isotopic measurements to determine the source(s) of turquoise recovered from Homol'ovi I and Grasshopper Pueblo in an effort to better understand processes of turquoise procurement and exchange during late prehistory. Selected turquoise samples are analyzed to investigate 1) if one or multiple geologic sources are represented at Homol'ovi I and Grasshopper Pueblo, 2) if intrasite dispersal patterns are evident, and 3) the associated implications regarding regional patterns of interaction and exchange in the American Southwest.


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Ranching, Rendering, and Regional Economies in the North American Southwest
Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman

Introduced Eurasian livestock played a central role in colonial-period interactions between European and Native peoples. In the Southwest, Spanish colonialism was dependent upon Native labor and the successful introduction of Eurasian domestic animals and ranching practices. Successful ranching enterprises at missions ensured support for later colonial enterprises, and ultimately supported the emergence of global economic interactions. Zooarchaeological and ethnohistorical evidence from two eighteenth-century missions in the Pimería Alta (southern Arizona and nor thern Sonora) demonstrate that Native labor supported a mission-based ranching and tallow rendering enterprise that supported the expanding regional colonial economy.


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Human Predation and Lagomorph Populations at Chevelon Pueblo
Stephanie Reyes

This research explores the possible consequences of human predation on lagomorph populations around Chevelon Pueblo (1290-1400 C.E.), a part ofthe Homol'ovi site cluster in northern Arizona. We hypothesize that pressure from Chevelon hunters may have caused an evolutionary shift in the main prey base—cottontails and jackrabbits—towards faster individuals better able to evade predation. Cottontail and jackrabbit bones from Chevelon Pueblo that are indicative of size and speed were measured and compared through time. Preliminary results do not indicate a significant change for any element except the cottontail mandible, which was significantly smaller in the Early period than in either the Middle or Late periods. This shift could be due to a number of factors, including hunting practices or anthropogenic landscape changes.


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Lead and Strontium as Isotopic Tracers of Turquoise: An Example from the Tucson Basin
Alyson M. Thibodeau, John T. Chesley, David Killick, and Joaquin Ruiz

Despite many decades of research, there remains no consensus regarding how to best identify the geologic source of turquoise recovered from archaeological sites in the Southwest U.S.A. and Mexico. Using over 200 lead and strontium isotopic measurements on turquoise from over a dozen deposits across the Southwest, we present what we argue is a robust geochemical and geological framework for discriminating between important turquoise sources. This framework has the potential to be widely applied across the Southwest and Mexico to answer questions relating to turquoise procurement and exchange. To demonstrate the efficacy of this technique, we also present lead and strontium isotopic measurements of turquoise artifacts found at Redtail Village, a Hohokam site in the Tucson Basin occupied during the Colonial Period (~AD 750-1150). Redtail Village is a significant site because it may have been a locus for the manufacture and distribution of turquoise objects in the Hohokam region at an early date. We identify the Silver Bell Mountains as the probable (and single) source of the turquoise at Redtail Village.


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