(June 12, 2018)—On Saturday we finished our first week of excavation at the Gila River Farm site. It has been a really fun and productive week, even though we have been dealing with record high temperatures (over 100˚F already!). The students have already learned a lot, and I have enjoyed getting to know them since their arrival in Tucson at the end of May.
We have three excavation crews this year: one lead by Evan Giomi (who led the survey portion in the previous two years), one lead by Stacy Ryan, and one lead by me. Evan and Stacy’s crews have begun excavating rooms in the southern roomblock, and my crew is working in the roomblock just to the north of them.
This is our third season at the Gila River Farm Site. When we started working here in 2016, no other archaeologists had ever excavated there, and our only reference was a rough sketch map from a 1983 survey. Over the past couple of years, we have learned much more about the site’s size and layout.
The southern roomblock is much larger than we originally anticipated. It is also surprisingly intact, considering most of the surface deposits were removed when it was used for a brief period as a seed farm. Last year, we devoted a lot of time to exposing the tops of the adobe walls in shallow trenches in this area in order to map them. This year, we plan to explore the edges of this roomblock to try to define its boundaries.
We will also spend some time digging similar types of trenches in the roomblock to the north. This week, while my crew has been diligently excavating a portion of an adobe room, some of the other staff members and I have been digging shallow trenches to expose more walls to map. We have found that some of the walls in this roomblock are farther below the surface and harder to define than the ones in the southern roomblock.
When the students are finished excavating in their rooms, which will give us a representative sample of artifacts at the site, they will help us find walls, too. One of the goals of this season’s work is to be able to map as many of the rooms in the two roomblocks as possible. I’d say we’re off to a great start and well on our way to reaching that goal.