See a Tucson Archaeological Site Before It's Gone

Debbie Angel | Tucson

A site in Tucson that contains footprints dating back more than two centuries will soon fall victim to the bulldozer.

The Arizona Daily Star reported Saturday that a worker excavating the planned site of a bridge over Interstate 10 discovered the footprints, which include both adult and child prints and even those of a domesticated dog. They're thought to be about 2,500 years old, which would make them among the oldest found in the American Southwest.

The archaeological excavation was being done in accordance with Pima County regulations for the project, which will connect Sunset Road to Silver Bell Road. But the discovery won't be enough to prevent new construction on the site.

If you'd like to see the site before it's gone, the county is hosting public tours Friday through Sunday the next two weekends: January 29-31 and February 5-7. Guided tours will begin every 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the site, which is on the southwest corner of the intersection of I-10 and Sunset Road. A short walk over uneven terrain is required, and participants must wear closed-toed shoes and should bring sunscreen, a hat and water. For questions, call 520-724-6940.

A 3-D map of the site is also being prepared so its layout can be preserved even after it's paved over.

Editor's note: Our thanks to photographer Jonathan Bailey, whom we featured here a while back, for bringing this story to our attention.


Why don't they excavate them and make a roadside stop so that they aren't lost to the pavement?

I believe this site should be studied further. The road should be halted. This is a very significant find. The valley has been buried alive for "progress".

I think you meant more than two millennia, not two centuries

Thank you for correcting that--I noticed the same thing. Sad when journalists don't know these things; it's kind of important to report time correctly.

I think you meant more than two millennia, not two centuries

This site needs to be preserved. Why can they not remove the rock with the prints and take it to another site? Arizona has a track record of "improvement" that is abysmal.

Can they not be casted and preserved for a museum.

PLEASE,don't destroy your history like they do in Europe.It's lost forever and you will regret it once it's gone.P.S. I'm human,I did not know that animals had internet and can read and write,maybe in America but not in Belgium ;)

We move way too fast and miss the history many times. This is a prime example. Government needs to start listening to the people. Wow.

While there nay be a need for I-10 to change. We need to ease up and study the site a bit more. What else is there? There is always road construction, let them shift it while this is being studied. This is our HISTORY!

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