Postcard: Analysis

All artifacts depicted on the recent analysis postcard were recovered during excavations in support of the Valley Metro Light Rail Project. The artifacts, beginning with the upper left-hand corner and proceeding clockwise, represent the following (click on images for larger versions):

Two perforated schist disks and one schist palette fragment with incised borders (ULC5374.001.004) were recovered from nonfeature fill within a stripping unit at La Plaza.

A small plain ware bead whorl (ULC 3179.021.001) was recovered from fill of Feature 77 (dump/midden) at Pueblo Grande. The design includes three rows of punctate holes (2 to 3 mm deep) around the circumference. The center row is offset from the top and bottom row.

Sixteen adobe and plaster samples, consisting of 53 specimens, were collected during ACS’investigations at La Plaza. Perhaps the most interesting of these are the five pieces of wall plaster with maize impressions, one of which is illustrated (ULC2827.009.008); the material was recovered from Feature 171 (house-in-pit), within 5 cm of the floor. It would appear that while the plaster was still in a plastic state, a maize cob was rolled over it to create a textured surface. Given the importance of maize to the Hohokam, it is not surprising that someone would use its imprint for decoration. Indeed, one could speculate further that leaving maize impressions in the structure walls may have served some purpose beyond the merely aesthetic.

Fragments of a light pink porcelain piggy bank (ULC2902.001.001) were recovered from Feature 117 (trash-filled pit) at La Plaza. The item is decorated with underglaze colors as well as with hand-painting; the rear foot is marked with “MADE IN JAPAN”. Given the temporal context of the assemblage (late 1930s–1950s), this item was likely produced before World War II (pre-1941). For a period of five years between 1947 and 1952, imported goods from Japan were marked with “MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN” or “OCCUPIED JAPAN”.

The limestone censer, with incised edges depicting a rectangular scroll design (ULC5277.011.002), was recovered from the floor of Feature 172, a house-in-pit, at La Plaza.

A tri-orifice miniature vessel (ULC 2827.005.002) was recovered from the floor of Feature 171 (house-in-pit) at La Plaza. The vessel is a Sacaton/Casa Grande Red-on-buff jar; each orifice measures approximately 1 cm in diameter. The jar is not symmetrical, and is relatively crudely made, with a wavy line design.

The Glycymeris gigantea bracelet with a carved band (ULC2724.004.001) was recovered from fill within an undefined pit, Feature 144 at La Plaza.

The photo of the historic bottles shows items recovered from a trash-filled pit, Feature 11, discovered in a non-site location. The individual bottles (ULC1769.000.001) shown are:

  • Clear glass flask (alcohol) – Wine flask, base with “Glass Container’s Inc. [maker mark]/ GARRETT’S WINE / H 9” (1945-1967)
  • Georgia green colored coke bottle – Partial Coke bottle, 6 fl oz.; heel with ” 40 / Chattanooga Glass Co. [maker mark] / 47″. Base with “PHOENIX ARIZ” (1947)
  • Brown colored bottle (alcohol) – Brown crown finish bottle with grain texture on base and over bottle. Base marked with “Lincoln Glass Bottle Co. [maker mark] / 6 / I 491”. Shoulder with “NO DEPOSIT NOT RETURN / NOT TO BE REFILLED” (1942-1952).

The thunderbird cut pendant (ULC2479.004.003) manufactured from the freshwater shell Anodonta californiensis was recovered from non-feature fill within an excavation unit at La Plaza.

The burned quadruped cut form (ULC2479.004.003) manufactured from Laevicardium and recovered from 5 cm or less above the floor of a house-in-pit, Feature 299 at La Plaza.

The bone awl fragment (ULC8344.001.003) manufactured from an artiodactyl metapodial shaft (l=45.76 mm, w= 12.77 mm) was recovered from disturbed fill within a trench unit at La Plaza.

The quartered pattern Sacaton Red-on-buff flare rim bowl (ULC 5556.001.004) was recovered from disturbed fill within a stripped area at La Plaza.