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Excavations
at
Valshni
Village,
Arizona

Cover
Copyright

2002 Editor's Foreword

1973 Editor's Foreword

Author's Preface

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

Regional & vicinity maps

Introduction

Habitat

Methods

Dating

Architecture
Vamori
Topawa
Non-architectural Features
Pottery
Local
Intrusive
Misc. Clay Objects
Burial

Stonework

Bonework

Shellwork

Summary and Conclusions

Appendix: Canal

Bibliography

2000 notes

Logo


Architecture

Many difficulties were encountered when an attempt was made to define architectural sequence at Valshni Village. In every instance but one, the houses had been constructed on the old surface level or excavated down only a few centimeters. Their average depth from the present surface was 40 cm. With the village located as it was on the flood plain of Valshni Wash, there was considerable erosion after the houses were abandoned.

Twenty-eight houses were uncovered on the site. Twelve had enough of the floor preserved to indicate the original outline. The only floors which could be traced with any degree of accuracy were those which had been heavily burned, and most of these were considerably broken up around the edges. The floors were usually made with a clay mixture. Floor features were scarce, although sub-floor pits were occasionally found.

Evidence of roof construction and walls could be learned only from the arrangement of post holes and occasional pieces of burned roof material lying on the floors. The complete post hole arrangement was not evident in a single house. There seems to have been no definite plan which was followed in every house.

A general plan (see Figure 5) does appear to have been followed, with modifications from house to house. Major supports were usually set near each corner, and others might be set near the end of the house if its width required them. The larger houses had other supports near their centers. One support was set on each side of the entrance where it joined the main floor area.


Figure 5
Figure 5. A generalized major post hole plan

Post holes were found on the extreme edges of floors in a few cases, indicating that some use was made of roof supports incorporated in the walls.

Evidence for the actual walls and roofs was scarce. The roof was probably flat, being based on the large rafters spanning the major roof supports. The rafters were covered with smaller sticks and brush. These were covered with about 10 cm. of earth. No evidence was found to indicate the method of wall construction. Upright slats of ocotillo or saguaro ribs were probably used, these being covered with a mud plaster.

The placement of the houses in a time framework was very difficult. The almost complete barrenness of the houses was characteristic of all of them, indication that either the houses were cleaned out before abandonment or that the majority of household objects were of a perishable nature. Therefore, the placement of the houses by phase was done primarily by the pottery in the 10 cm. of fill above the floor. Sherds were scarce however, and the allocation of each house to the proper phase, with two exceptions, was often doubtful. The two exceptions were covered by a Vamori Phase trash mound and therefore could be assigned to the Vamori Phase or earlier.


Vamori Phase Structures

Eighteen houses were identified with the Vamori Phase. These indicate there was no definite type for the phase as it is now defined (see Fig. 6; also 7).


Plan:
Range from oval to rectangular with rounded corners. Front and back walls nearly parallel.
Length:
6.20 meters to 8.40 meters.
Width (excluding the entrance):
3.60 meters to 5.40 meters.

Entrances:
Generally oval and in the middle of a long wall of the structure. One instance (house 19) of a short straight sided entrance passage. Two houses (14 and 28) had stepped entrances. The step was 28 cm. high in house 14, and 13 cm. high in house 28. Both steps had a log sill. A groove ran the width of the entrance just outside the step.

Firepits (see Fig. 8):
The majority had well preserved firepits, a few only fire areas.

Location:
Invariably in the center of the long axis of the house, offset toward the entrance.

Manufacture:
Deep and irregular. Either clay lined or fashioned from a whole plug of clay set in the floor. Lips were usually well rounded and raised up to 1.5 cm. above the floor level.

Size:
16.5 cm. to 28 cm. in width; 5 cm. to 13 cm. in depth.

Fit. 6a. Vamori phase floors
Figure 6a. Vamori phase floor plans (Courtesy Arizona State Museum)
Figure 6a High clarity version (894 x 2391, 32KB)

Figure 6b
Figure 6b. Vamori phase floor plans (Courtesy Arizona State Museum)
Figure 6a Higher clarity version (948 x 2616, 30KB)

Figure 6c. Vamori phase structure plans
Figure 6c. Vamori phase floor plans (Courtesy Arizona State Museum)
Figure 6a. Vamori phase structure plans High clarity version (933 x 2247, 29KB)

Figure 7a. Vamori Phase Structure
Figure 7a. Vamori phase Structure, House 14 (Courtesy Arizona State Museum)
Figure 7a Medium resolution version (2094 x 1166 pixels, 372 KB)

Figure 7b. Vamori Phase Structure House 28
Figure 7b. Vamori Phase Structure, House 28 (Courtesy Arizona State Museum)
Figure 7b. Vamori Phase Structure, higher resolution Medium resolution version (2060 x 1216 pixels, 410 KB)

Figure 8
Figure 8a. Firepit of Vamori Phase Structure, House 18 (Courtesy Arizona State Museum)

Figure 8. Firepit of Vamori Phase Structure, House 18
Figure 8b. Firepit of Vamori phase House 18, Bisected (Courtesy Arizona State Museum)

Topawa Phase Structures

Seven houses were assigned to the Topawa phase. However, only three of these showed the outlines of the floors to any extent (see Fig. 9; also 10).


Plan:
Rectangular with rounded corners. In size, these are generally of about the same measurements as for the Vamori Phase structures. There are two exceptions which are much larger. These measure:

Length: 9.20 meters and 10.5 meters.
Width: 5.85 meters and 6.10 meters.

In all other respects they resemble the remaining Topawa Phase houses.

Entrances:
Covered passages, oval in floor plan. These were located in the middle of one of the long walls.

Firepits (See Fig. 11):
Smoother and more symmetrical than in the Vamori Phase. The lip is sharp and not raised above the level of the floor. They are also shallower in relation to their width.

Size:
15 cm. to 33 cm. in width.
4.3 cm. to 8 cm. in depth.

Figure 9. Topawa Phase floor plans
Figure 9. Topawa phase floor plans (Courtesy Arizona State Museum)
Figure 9 Higher clarity version of Figure 9 (1022 x 2400, 30KB)

Figure 10 low resolution
Figure 10. Topawa Phase structure, House 16 (Courtesy Arizona State Museum)
Figure 10, low resolution Medium clarity version (2025 x 1076 pixels, 365 KB)

Figure 11a, firepit
Figure 11a. Topawa Phase firepit, intact, House 10 (Courtesy Arizona State Museum)

Fig. 11a. Topawa phase firepit Figure 11b. Topawa Phase firepit, bisected, House 10 (Courtesy Arizona State Museum)

Discussion:

The houses at Valshni Village conform to the pattern for the people in the river areas of southern Arizona. They are single unit structures built on or near the surface, having covered entrance passages extending out from the center of a long side, a basin shaped firepit located near the entrance, a roof supported by timbers and covered with smaller timbers and earth. The walls were probably also of small sticks and earth.

Many houses of the Vamori Phase are suggestive of the Sacaton Phase houses found at Snaketown. The oval entrances to the houses resemble those found at Snaketown (Gladwin, et al., 1937:67) while the short, straight sided entry of house 19 is more reminiscent of the Santa Cruz Phase (Gladwin, et al., 1937:61-71). Of the two structures which had steps house 14 had been excavated to 36 cm. below the old surface: while house 28 had been built almost on the surface and the step could not have had great utility. The sill and groove associated with the steps are common in the Sacaton Phase at Snaketown (Gladwin, et al., 1937:61). However, the Vamori Phase houses differ in having no groove or sill around the periphery; they are surface structures; and the firepits are similar but not alike. These houses have closer analogies with Woodward's Type A house found at the Grewe Site (1931.10) in that this was a surface structure and only occasionally had the sill. This floor plan is similar to many of the Vamori Phase houses.

The development seems to have been toward a more rectangular house in the Topawa Phase with some of the houses becoming larger. There is a possibility that the two larger structures assigned to the Topawa Phase may have served as meeting houses, which may indicate a change in function of some structures. [Ed. Note: DiPeso has made a similar suggestion (1956:222).] There is also a trend in the development of firepits. This was from a deep basin with steep sides and a raised rounded edge to a shallower one with gently sloping sides and a sharp, unraised edge.

The architecture of the Topawa Phase does not foretell that of the later Sells Phase. In general, the houses of the Sells Phase (Scantling, 1940:12) are more like those of the Vamori Phase with parallel sides, rounded corners, and partially rounded ends. The firepits, too, are more similar to those of the Vamori houses. The only difference is that the Sells Phase houses have lost the covered entrance passage. However, as only two defined houses were found at the Jackrabbit Ruin and as only three were defined for the Topawa Phase, it is entirely possible that many houses which would tie the two phases more closely together have been missed in the excavation of the two sites. Further work should be done on house types of these two phases before a final architectural sequence is worked out for Papagueria.




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Table of Contents
Non-architectural feat. .


Table of Contents
(Sequencing left to right, top to bottom)

Cover

Copyright

2002 Editor's Foreword

1973 Editor's Foreword

Author's Preface

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

Regional & vicinity maps

Introduction

Habitat

Methods

Dating

Architecture

Vamori Architecture

Topawa Architecture

Non-architectural Features

Pottery

Local pottery

Intrusive pottery

Misc. Clay Objects

Burial

Stonework

Bonework

Shellwork

Summary and Conclusions

Appendix: Canal

Bibliography

2000 notes



Walter 'Dutch' Duering
PO Box 8429
Phoenix, AZ 85066-8429
United States

duering@stockmorehouse.com