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Tempe to resume pedestrian and bike project after excavating 1,200-year-old archaeological site

An archaeological investigation of a 1,200-year-old site yielded the discovery of a 14th century adobe building along Eighth Street in Tempe. The finding caused the city to delay its bike and pedestrian project.

The adobe building was identified as a va’aki, or ceremonial house. It also functioned as a residence for an extended family, as well a gathering space for leaders, according to a report.

Zachary Lechner is Tempe’s historic preservation officer.

“This was really the kind of crowning jewel in a sense just because of the rarity of finding something of that stature and that really kind of cultural importance,” he said.

Lechner says there are no additional excavation plans at this time. The city will continue with its streetscape project, though it will take this new discovery into consideration as it moves forward.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to an editing error, this story has been updated to clarify that the rare adobe building was constructed in the 14th century.

Ignacio Ventura is a reporter for KJZZ. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in news media and society.