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In 1980, the Museum of Northern Arizona’s (MNA), Archaeologist, J. Simon Bruder was contracted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct archaeological investigations at the Hedgpeth Hills petroglyph site prior to the construction of the Adobe Dam.
Field work lasted three months resulting in an archaeological investigation report. The report documented findings that noted the Hedgpeth site contains 579 glyph-bearing boulders located within six spatially discrete clusters. Over 1500 individual design elements were recorded and a petroglyph typology developed with this information; as well as various descriptive attributes concerning the data collected. Design elements were divided into 37 major types with 143 varieties. The majority of elements were crudely pecked with linear designs. Curvilinear abstractions predominate with lesser numbers of rectilinear designs and representational motifs. Manipulation of computerized information is used for both descriptive and analytical purposes. Several efforts to deal with the Hedgpeth material from a temporal perspective were attempted.
The investigation indicated that there were three distinct groups that utilized this area: The Western Archaic tradition (5000 BC- 300 AD), the Hohokam (300-1450 AD) and the Patayan (300-1450 AD) cultures. This site was thought to be used by people traveling between southern and northern settlements, who stopped to manufacture tools and establish a small settlement.
The Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve was established through an agreement between federal, state, county and city partnerships. The Adobe Dam was built following the conclusion of the Bruder’s study, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to control flooding along Skunk Creek. The dam, the land, and the building are the property of Flood Control District of Maricopa County. The School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University continues to operate, protect and preserve the site since 1994.
Currently on display at the preserve is an overview of the Roosevelt Platform Mound Study that was conducted by the Arizona State University Office of Cultural Resource Management from 1989-1997. The display includes data references, archaeological photos and a reconstructed Tonto Polychrome jar.
In April of 1989, the Arizona State University Office of Cultural Resource Management was contracted by the Bureau of Reclamation to research and investigate the prehistory of the Tonto Basin within the vicinity of the Theodore Roosevelt Dam. The Tonto Basin is located in an area of southwestern Arizona that was part of a rapid expansion of new cultural markers that archaeologists refer to as the ‘Salado Phenomenon’. Between A.D. 1280 to 1450, local populations in this region faced increasing migration by peoples displaced by economic and ecological pressures. Local and immigrant peoples merged their ceramic styles, architecture, and other cultural expressions together, resulting in a new hybrid culture, referred to as the Salado.
Conducted by Dr. Arleyn Simon, Dr. Glen Rice, David Jacobs, and Owen Lindauer, the Roosevelt project investigated a total of 130 sites within the Tonto Basin over a span of eight years. These sites were grouped into four complexes: Pinto Creek Complex, Rock Island Complex, Uplands Complex, and the Cline Terrace Complex - the Cline Terrace Complex being the focus of the research on display at Deer Valley.
Research at the Cline Terrace Complex has been used to better understand how these different communities were connected. The researchers analyzed the iconography and technology of ceramic wares found within the site and noted different regional styles used together to create new ceramic styles - most notably, the Salado Polychromes. A reconstructed Tonto Polychrome jar from the Tonto Basin can be seen at Deer Valley.
The researchers also looked at how public space was used in ritual context. Cline Terrace adopted the architectural designs of Hohokam platform mounds and Southwestern central plazas for public and private ritual use. The individual rooms within Cline Terrace utilized similar architecture found at Sinagua and Pueblo sites in the Southwest. They concluded that Cline Terrace represents an incorporation of Hohokam and Pueblo aspects, including public religious space and regional ceramic iconography.
The research and artifacts for the Roosevelt Mound Study are preserved at the Collections Repository at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. The Repository maintains several collections of artifacts that have been formally “accessioned” or accepted under written repository agreements, along with data, documents and other supporting materials.
The Repository curates more than 70,000 specimens from central Arizona, including materials from excavations conducted for The Bureau of Reclamation within the boundaries of Tonto National Forest connected to the Central Arizona Project and related modification projects to the Roosevelt, Bartlett, and Horseshoe Dams.