Dating hohokam canals

18 Dec

Experts agree discovery is significant archaeologically — the settlement is likely from the Early Agricultural Period, which predates even the Hohokam culture that was in Southern and Central Arizona from 500 to about 1450 A. The find will add additional knowledge about agricultural practices that may be the oldest known in the United States, archaeologists say.

So far, about 145 archaeological features, including six burials, have been found on the site, said a letter written last week by the State Historic Preservation Office.

The miles and miles of canals maintained by the Salt River Project were put there to bring water to thirsty acres of alfalfa, cotton, citrus and dates.

The Hohokam were a prehistoric people that inhabited the Sonoran desert of central Arizona from about AD 300 to AD 1400.For reasons that are still not completely understood, all of these cultures went into a sudden and permanent decline between approximately 13 AD, about a hundred years before contact with Europeans.The name "Hohokam" is from the language of the Akimel and Tohono O'odham people, two present-day Native American communities in central Arizona that claim the Hohokam as their ancestors.Human burial remains typically are repatriated to the Tohono O’odham and other tribes, which has been done with those from this site.The discovery of these remains over the winter comes as the Marana center developer, a subsidiary of the Simon Property Group, is in apparent competition with a second outlet center planned for two miles to the north in unincorporated Pima County to see which one can be built first.