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Page 2

Archaeology in Tucson Newsletter

Vol. 12, No. 3

(1775-1856) rather than the later American Territorial period (1856-1912). On the other hand, some archaeologists have suggested that the wall may not be wide enough to be the Presidio wall. The northeast comer area found by Emil Haury and Ned Danson in 1954 was 3 feet wide (although this may represent the corner tower) and the walls for the Presidio at Terrenate are also wider. One way to resolve this problem is to return to the lawn and excavate to the north and south. If the wall is continuous, it is likely that it is the Presidio wall.

An Interior Room

One clue to the antiquity of the wall is the fact that some time had elapsed between the construction of the north-south wall and the construction of the first structure built against the wall in the trench area. Fragments of adobe brick, perhaps broken off from the top of the wall or discarded as the wall was built, lay on the original ground surface inside the wall. Several inches of dirt had built up against the wall before a single layer of rocks was used as a foundation for an east- west wall. On top of this a single course of 11-inch-wide pinkish-red adobe bricks survived, although only portions of a few bricks were present.

Inside the structure was an area of prepared adobe that had been used as a hearth. The adobe was fired a bright red color and a lens of ash lay on top. Artifacts found in this structure

placed on the existing historic ground surface. Excavations beneath this surface recovered only prehistoric artifacts. On the west side this surface dips down dramatically, whereas on the east side it is relatively flat.

does this

wall

Examination

of

by

What represent?

the

soil

profiles

geomorphologists

indicates

that it is the earliest historic feature in the trench. There were no interior abutting walls in the trench area when it was first built; thus, it may be a freestanding wall. The drop on the exterior suggests that it was being built next to a sloping area or that the dirt on the exterior

had been removed, perhaps to

Top: An overhead photograph of the trench. The curving rock wall dates from 1874 to 1883 and was the garden wall for the Hotel Cosmopolitan/ Orndorff Hotel.

Left: A north-to-south adobe wall is abutted by two rooms on its interior (photographs by Dominic Oldershaw).

Below: Majolica serving vessels were brought from Mexico to grace Tucson tables (photograph by J. Homer Thiel).

make adobe

bricks.

By build

ing next to a slope or by removing sediments, the wall would be higher to people standing outside. The flat interior surface

allowed structures to be built against the wall.

One possibility is that this is the west Presidio wall. It is in the correct location, according to historical sources, and is the earliest historic feature in the area. The bricks are also the correct size for the Spanish and Mexican period. Lastly, artifacts in close association with the wall date to the Presidio period

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