Archaeologists find multiple artifacts near new PACC site

Published: Apr. 23, 2016 at 7:50 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 4:19 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Site preparations for Pima Animal Care Center's new $22 million shelter is underway and the county is conducting an archaeological excavation of the construction site, a required process before construction can begin.

The excavation, which is being led by the county's Office of Sustainability and Conservation, started at the end of March, and groundbreaking for construction of the new shelter, located at 4000 N. Silverbell Road, is expected to start in December.

"We go in and investigate the site to make sure that we're getting all of the data and information that we can out of the site prior to construction where it would be destroyed," said lead archaeologist for the county's Cultural Resources division, Ian Milliken.

The county hired a Tucson archeology firm to perform the investigation and so far, archaeologists have uncovered several artifacts dating as late as 550 AD. This includes pieces such as shell jewelry, pottery, and a group of adobe lined homes.

"It's very important to gather this information because it's going to be lost and a lot already has been lost," said Mike Lindeman with Desert Archeology, Inc., who has been working on projects like this for more than 20 years. "By doing careful excavations, we can get this information and we'll publish a report and everything will be housed at the Arizona State Museum for future research."

To make way for archaeological work to continue, PACC must start moving this May. None of PACC's pets will be moved during this process. The county said the transition will only apply to the trailers housing PACC's administrative office, clinic, and the trap-neuter-release program.

The county said these will move closer to the existing tent used to house dogs. There will also be a new parking area for staff and volunteers.

Site work to get certain modulars to their new location will start April 25 and continue until the site is completely clear. That's when the archaeological review of the site will then expand into the cleared area.

"Getting these modulars moved soon is crucial to making sure the monsoon rains don't impede on our investigation," said Ian Milliken, project lead archaeologist for the county's Cultural Resources division. "We anticipate the larger part of our findings will be in that area."

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