Friday, November 02, 2007

Archaeology in Arizona - more field archaeologists needed

Todd Bostwick, Phoenix's municipal archaeologist, recommends that property owners and developers call in the archaeology experts from the very beginning, before either selling the land or going for rezoning.

"You don't want to wait for the city to tell you what you need to do when you're well into the design," Bostwick said.

Throughout the Valley, a major archaeological concern remains in excavating Native American burial grounds and to return them to their tribes.

The Hohokam Indians, prehistoric people who lived in what now is south-central Arizona to Mexico, are the ancestors of today's Pima and Tohono O'odham.

Rice, who also is a professor emeritus from Arizona State University, said that "Indian sites can literally be under your feet." His firm found a farmstead and two canals when it did archaeological work for new dorms at Arizona State University.

Burial sites are protected by law and must be excavated and returned to the tribes, but other finds, which can include villages, farmsteads or pieces of pottery, belong to the landowner.