Preservation: The Fort that Wouldn’t Die

Mining the Past


While the Roman Empire dominated Europe nearly 2,000 years ago, the Hohokams developed their own civilization in parts of Arizona. Near Tucson, a copper mine project could destroy the ruins of a Hohokam ball field and a large village.

Gayle Hartmann, an archaeologist and president of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, says the area was excavated about 20 years ago. If the Rosemont Mine effort is approved by state officials, the project has an estimated cost of $500 million and could provide about five percent of America’s copper needs, at a time when the mineral is at a premium. Rosemont planners promise to minimize the archaeological impact—but they can’t pledge to protect the site.

Hartmann says it’s a common story.  “Many [other Hohokam sites] are gone.  They get destroyed. This is one more value that we will lose if this mining operation goes through.”


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