|16 November 2008
Ancient village discovered in Arizona
In 2004, voters approved bonds to upgrade and expand the wastewater facility in Tuscon (Arizona, USA). But before anything new can be built, the state and county require a dig for any archaeological ruins. While digging around the wastewater facility they discovered an ancient village which archaeologists estimate is 3,500 years old.
Fred Nials, one of the archaeologists excavating at the site, says "It's really neat because we can put a trowel point exactly on the surface of where people were living." Dirt levels show agricultural fields, irrigation canals and evidence of floods.
In August, scientists from Desert Archaeology started digging 54 trenches on the site where Pima County plans to add facilities. In January the archaeologists plan to start digging horizontally to reveal more detail. Bill Doelle says, "[At] This spot we're about 3,500 years ago. There were people out here farming. 30 to 50 people at any one time probably. They lived in what we call pit houses, small excavations down into the ground with a brush superstructure." Jim Vint climbs into a trench and starts scraping its sides. He says, "Along here we have what is probably a burned pit house. This is the level of the floor." Several feet away, Vint says, "We have a number of storage pits. And here in profile we have what's called a bell shaped pit." Vint stops at a third spot in the trench and says, "This is a shallow roasting pit for cooking meat or other food."
Among the artifacts taken out of the trenches so far are stone darts that were put onto the heads of spears and a chipped rock that was used as a knife. Archaeologists also have collected pieces of shell from a 2,800 year old turtle. Nials says, "I've looked at agricultural systems in North and South America and in the Mediterranean. And this has some of the best preserved evidence that I've ever seen."
Source: KVOA (11 November 2008)
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