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  • CR4.11 Honey Bee Village Site Acquisition

    Total Actual Cost: $1,649,982
    Project Number: CSUHONEYB
    Funding Sources: 2004 General Obligation Bonds
    Completion Date: July 2012
    Managing Dept.: Office of Sustainability and Conservation
    Project Map: GIS Map

    In March 2007, Pima County acquired the 13-acre core of Honey Bee Village through donation from Oro Valley developer, Steve Solomon. In return, the County used its 2004 Bond funds to support archaeological excavations in the remainder of the village, outside the core, to assist Mr. Solomon’s development in meeting Oro Valley cultural resources requirements. The County acquired the core of the ancient village to establish a special Conservation Area, or Preserve, to protect and preserve as much of the cultural and historical significance of these ancient ruins as possible.

    The Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan identifies Honey Bee Village as one of the “last of the best” heritage resources in Pima County as an important Hohokam settlement located in the Cañada del Oro Valley. The Tohono O’odham Nation regards Honey Bee Village as an ancestral home, and it is a traditional cultural place in their historic landscape within Pima County. Honey Bee is one of a small group of villages in the region that were settled near the start of the Hohokam cultural sequence (around A.D. 450-600) and were continuously occupied up to the thirteenth century.

    The Honey Bee Village Preserve contains the central locus of ceremonial activities and habitation in the village, including a small ball court, 19 large trash mounds composed of accumulated domestic refuse, plazas, and hundreds of domestic pit structures, or pithouses.  An estimated 500 to 800 pithouses are present in the core, with hundreds more pithouses in the surrounding areas of the site. The County-funded Honey Bee Village Archaeological Data Recovery Project conducted extensive excavations in the site areas outside the core to preserve the scientific information in the site periphery before construction destroyed the archaeological remains. The results have significantly advanced our understanding of Hohokam village development and Hohokam lifeways.

    The project was substantially complete with the successful conclusion of the data recovery project in July, 2012. Grant funds from the Tohono O’odham Nation were used with Oro Valley funding to construct a low protective wall around the edge of the Preserve and separate it from the planned development in surrounding areas. Development thus far is incomplete, so at present Honey Bee Village remains extremely vulnerable to impacts from surrounding urban Oro Valley as recreation pressures increase. It is hoped future County Bond funds can be used to develop better protections, interpretive trails and exhibits in the Preserve. Until then efforts continue to protect and preserve the resources, with perimeter signs installed around the property using the last remaining Bond funds.

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