By Stephen Darling, Archaeology Southwest Member since 2013
This past Saturday morning, March 8, my wife Anne-Marie, my friend Steve Cox, and I attended Archaeology Southwest’s 2014 Annual Members’ Gathering, which featured a walking tour of the Valencia site. Owned by Pima Community College and Pima County, the Valencia site is protected from any future development. About 100 people came out for bagels, coffee, and archaeology.
Upon arrival, we found Allen Denoyer giving a stone-knapping demonstration.
After Bill Doelle’s opening remarks, Allen offered demonstrations on spear throwing with an atlatl, a throwing stick that enabled people to propel projectiles with greater power.
Bill Doelle, Archaeology Southwest’s president, spoke about how the Valencia site escaped industrial development and explained the preservation history of the site. As he held up a site map, Bill pointed to the field just behind him, where an early settlement known as the Valencia Vieja site sits. Later in time, people of the Hohokam tradition moved the village site 600 feet south, behind where we were sitting. Hundreds of people lived at this general location between about A.D. 50 and 1150.
Bill then divided the crowd into four groups for the walking tour of the village sites. We joined the group led by Matt Peeples. He showed us the extent of the village and explained a bit about villagers’ lives. We learned how to see trash mounds and plazas on the ground surface.
We had driven past this place for years and had no idea that it was anything more than a vacant field! We felt that we had attended a wonderful program, and that we had taken away much more than we had given to Archaeology Southwest.
If you’d like to join us at next year’s gathering, become a member of Archaeology Southwest!