Archaeological Investigations within the Escalante Ruin Group, Florence, Arizona for the Florence Copper Project

Presenters:  Dr. J. Simon Bruder and Daniel Sorrell, Western Cultural Resource Management, Inc.

In summer 2017, Western Cultural Resource Management completed archaeological data recovery field efforts at portions of site AZ U:15:27 (ASM), a substantial Hohokam habitation known as Las Casitas. Absolute and relative dating techniques indicate use of the site area under investigation during the Santa Cruz, Sacaton, and Soho phases, with an occupational hiatus of more than 100 years during the latter part of the Sacaton phase; this hiatus might have been prompted by drought conditions that arose during the early A.D. 1030s. In this presentation, we summarize results of the Florence Copper data recovery field effort and offer preliminary interpretations based on numerous ongoing and completed material culture and paleobotanical studies.

While our presentation focuses on archaeological data recovery at a single site, a large component of WCRM’s ongoing (i.e., post-data recovery) effort for the Florence Copper mine development project involves site avoidance, continual archaeological monitoring, and annual site assessments within a much broader project area that contains over 50 additional sites. As we conduct these efforts, we are in frequent communication with a suite of interested parties, from concerned Tribes to various federal, state, and municipal entities, and to private groups sharing interest in the archaeology of the Escalante Ruin Group.