(October 28, 2015)—Archaeology Southwest is an enthusiastic supporter of the seven Pima County bond proposals that are on the November 3 ballot. Our mission—to explore and protect the places of our past—is at the core of many of the bond projects.
In previous bond elections, Pima County voters overwhelmingly approved major investments to protect and interpret archaeological and historical sites. The Valencia site—a Hohokam ballcourt village that was Archaeology Southwest’s first Tucson-area project back in 1983—is now protected. Our pro bono mapping of the site and nomination to the National Register of Historic Places laid the groundwork for the ultimate protection of the site with Pima County bond funds and Growing Smarter funds. It’s a great example of public-private collaboration that has spanned three decades.
Honey Bee Village in Oro Valley—another Hohokam ballcourt village—has its core 13 acres preserved because of previous Pima County bond investments. Archaeology Southwest used a grant from Arizona Humanities to support tours and interpretation during extensive excavations at the site in the early 2000s. Places such as Honey Bee represent and celebrate an era roughly a millennium ago, when the ancestors of our native O’odham communities lived a very different life here in the Sonoran Desert.
Proposition 430 in the 2015 bond package contains natural-area conservation and historic preservation elements that build on these and similar past investments. Although Proposition 430 is the primary driver of Archaeology Southwest’s endorsement of the Pima County bonds for 2015, Propositions 426, 427, 428, and 431 all have one or more elements that relate to preservation or interpretation of cultural resources.
Archaeology Southwest is based in Pima County, and we advocate a community-based approach to connecting today’s residents with the rich history of this region. Pima County has been on the cutting edge nationally in its development of creative voter-approved bonds to share and protect this remarkable story. These sites and landscapes contribute to our sense of place—from iconic buildings such as the San Xavier Mission, to the ancient villages of the Hohokam.
As an organization whose mission is built upon these values, Archaeology Southwest would be remiss if we failed to endorse a continuation of this resourceful approach to respecting the region’s past and sharing chapters in this story with the community.