Territorial Period Households: The Historical Archaeology of Historic Block 91, Tucson, Pima County, Arizona (TR2012-13)
Archaeological excavations were conducted on the eastern half of historic Block 91 in September and October 2011 for the City of Tucson. Documentary research indicated that area was first settled in 1883, when a pair of duplexes were constructed. Development was stagnant until the early 1900s, when rental housing, a planing mill, and a set of commercial buildings, including a hotel and restaurant, were constructed. Gradually, the area transformed into a commercial area where Tucson residents could purchase and repair automobiles, shop for groceries, or obtain a meal at a restaurant. In 1957, the area was cleared for use as a parking lot. Later the Greyhound bus terminal was constructed and was in use into the early 2000s, before it too was demolished.
Archaeological research sought to examine changes in Tucson lifeways at the transition between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, changes in trash disposal and privy usage, and ethnic and socioeconomic factors influencing diet in Tucson.
Backhoe stripping exposed 100 archaeological features; 51 were completely or partially excavated. Among these were 10 privy pits, eight of which yielded artifact assemblages, while two others were never used. Also documented were six pet burials, two trash middens, a large machinery pit for a wood mill, and various planting pits and fencelines. Over 15,000 artifacts were recovered, mostly from the privy pits. Many of the features could be associated with specific households. The recovered artifacts and food remains could often be linked to specific middle class families headed by European-American white collar and skilled laborers, as well as materials generated by the S.P. Dining Room, a restaurant staffed by immigrant Chinese men. Analysis of the artifacts, food remains, and features provided new data that allowed the research questions to be addressed.
The eastern half of Block 91 was assigned site number AZ BB:13:820 (ASM). Project materials are curated at the Arizona State Museum as Accession No. 2009-699.