Snaketown Artistic Heritage Project
Information preservation was the goal of the Snaketown Artistic Heritage Project. Archaeology Southwest (formerly the Center for Desert Archaeology) worked with the Arizona State Museum to scientifically document the Snaketown Collection, a large collection of Hohokam artifacts formerly curated at the Arizona State Museum in Tucson.
The artifacts were excavated in the 1930s and 1960s by preeminent southwestern archaeologist Emil Haury at a site called Snaketown, one of the largest known prehistoric Hohokam villages. Including more than 1,000 elaborately decorated whole pots, stone bowls, and bone artifacts, as well as boxes of pottery sherds, flaked stone tools, and other items, the collection is the largest scientifically excavated assemblage of whole artifacts from the Hohokam Culture area. The Hohokam were a sedentary agricultural society residing in central and southern Arizona from about A.D. 500 to 1450. They are famous for their massive irrigation systems, large settlements, public earthworks, and beautiful crafts.
Snaketown is located south of Phoenix on the Gila River Indian Community. The Snaketown Collection has now been legally transferred to the Huhugam Heritage Center. With the Gila River Indian Community’s permission, Archaeology Southwest supplemented the Arizona State Museum’s efforts to document this collection prior to its return through photography and the creation of detailed line drawings and measurements of the whole or restorable decorated pots, as well as the specialized ceramic artifacts, stone vessels, and decorated bone artifacts in the collection. This documentation project will preserve irretrievable and critical information for future archaeologists and other researchers.