Friday, May 23, 2008

Oro Valley builder to preserve village center as project's jewel

[Source: Lourdes Medrano, Daily Star] -- The remnants of an ancient civilization will be showcased as an archaeological jewel in a modern development of luxury condos, houses, shops and restaurants in Oro Valley. The developer of Vistoso Town Center, a planned 87-acre community in Rancho Vistoso, wants to make the most of the site on which a Hohokam village once thrived. "I'm very interested in archaeology and the past of the Southwest, so I was very excited to acquire a piece of land that had such a significant archaeological value," local developer Steve Solomon said. Area archaeologists say Honey Bee Village (pictured) beneath the land dates to about 500 A.D., when the Hohokam first settled along the Honey Bee Wash in the Ca├▒ada del Oro Valley.

"This site is quite significant because it will provide us with a fuller picture of Hohokam life than we've had before," said Henry Wallace of Desert Archaeology Inc., the Tucson company doing the archaeological work on Honey Bee Village. Archaeologists say the site was home to the Hohokam until about 1200 A.D. First recorded in the late 1970s, the village sat largely undisturbed for years, as new housing sprouted on top of other archaeological sites. Even as some eyed the site for potential development, the fate of Honey Bee Village would be different. By the time Solomon bought the land in 2005, after two years of discussion with the previous owners, efforts already were under way to preserve it. In 2004, Pima County voters approved a $1 million bond issue to buy the site, but officials later deemed it unaffordable. Instead the county, Solomon and Oro Valley entered into a contract in 2006.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Jim Davis, Daily Star.]