What We Learned

Most of the time, scientists study new information to learn new things. Sometimes, scientists examine old information using new tools and technologies to learn new things.

The site of Ormand Village was destroyed by highway construction soon after archaeological excavations were completed in 1965. This village site, where Native American people lived for at least 1000 years, no longer exists. But because all of the artifacts collected in 1965, and the photographs, maps, and field notes made by those archaeologists, are still being curated by the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, a new generation of archaeologists could re-examine all of these materials to try to get a clearer idea of how the people of Ormand Village lived day to day, and year to year.


In 1998, archaeologists reviewed the materials from the Salado period occupation at Ormand Village. They learned that people, bringing their pottery styles with them, migrated here from southeastern Arizona. They built a village of one-story homes joined together into roomblocks placed around a central plaza. They knew their local environment well, finding raw materials for tool and pottery making, wild food plants and beams for building their homes. The Salado people chose when to leave Ormand Village and took most of their belongings with them, including their heavy metates. There are no signs of wide spread violence in the ruins they left behind. It seems that their life in the village, and their leaving, was well organized and peaceful.


Where are the Salado people today?

Unfortunately, all of the additional research conducted on the Ormand Village materials does not tell us where the Salado people moved when they left this site. There is no evidence that they moved further upriver along the Gila, or into the uplands to the north or south of Ormand Village.  It’s probable that they returned to their homeland in the west. Sometime after AD 1450, however, the Salado sites in that area were abandoned.  One theory is that these people stayed in southern Arizona, but separated into smaller groups.  It is possible that they settled in with the ancestors of the people we know today as the Tohono O’odham.