Oct 31

Historical Archaeology Halloween: The Burials under the Bank

Homer Thiel presents the story of two forgotten burials from the abandoned Court Street Cemetery north of downtown Tucson. In 2012, Desert Archaeology was contracted by the City of Tucson to examine a parcel of land located at the southwest corner of N. Stone Avenue and W. Speedway Boulevard. At…

Desert Archaeology research on the Early Ceramic period Sep 29

Time of Transition: The Early Ceramic Period in the Tucson Basin

Homer Thiel discusses the state of our knowledge—and lingering questions—about the Early Ceramic period. Around AD 50, the lives of the Native Americans living in the Tucson Basin began to dramatically change. This was the start of what archaeologists call the Early Ceramic period (also known as the Agua Caliente…

Desert Archaeology illustration by Robert Ciaccio Sep 15

Hohokam Ceramic Studies: Past, Present, Future

This week's blog is written by James Heidke, Desert Archaeology’s senior ceramic analyst. Archaeologists have been studying Hohokam pottery for about 100 years. One might think that we would know everything there is to know about the subject by now, but new discoveries are being made in both museum collections…

Sep 8

Funeral Bills and Coroner’s Inquests: The Other Block 92 Scandal

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel continues the story of 19th-century Tucson’s scandalous Block 92. A previous blog post chronicled the scandalous history of Block 92 resident Jack Boleyn. As a historical archaeologist, I use documents (deeds, court records, maps, photographs, newspaper articles, etc.) along with archaeological features and artifacts to reconstruct…

Jul 28

The Early Agricultural Period Construction Boom

Homer Thiel discusses architecture and recounts the Desert Archaeology investigations he has led that encountered Early Agricultural period pithouses in the vicinity of downtown Tucson.  A construction boom is currently underway in downtown Tucson and in the area west of the Santa Cruz River as new housing and businesses—including the…

Hohokam flake tool excavated by Desert Archaeology Jun 16

Hohokam Flake Tools and the Eye of the Beholder

RJ Sliva is Desert’s senior flaked stone analyst. Think about the last time you used a metal tool. Maybe you sliced up a peach to make your yogurt palatable or fired up a Dremel to carve some stone beads for your Etsy shop. Now think about performing those tasks without…

Jun 9

The Archaeology of Children in Territorial-era Tucson

Historical archaeologist Homer Thiel is back with more insights into life in 19th century Tucson--this week, about the kids. What was life like for the children who lived in Tucson during the American Territorial Period, from 1856 to 1912? Surviving documents—newspaper articles, school records, and censuses—can tell us some basic…

Jun 2

Native American Pottery in Historic Period Tucson

Desert Archaeology’s ceramic analyst Jim Heidke writes this week’s blog. In 1958, four graduate students (Bernard Fontana, William Robinson, Charles Cormack, and Ernest Leavitt, Jr.) took a seminar from Dr. Emil Haury at the University of Arizona. They chose to study historic period Native American pottery, specifically, Papago ceramics. At…