Marana is a town in Pima County, Arizona, located northwest of Tucson, with a small portion in Pinal County. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town is 34,961. From 1990 to 2000, Marana was the fourth fastest-growing place among all cities and towns in Arizona of any size.
Archaeologists have found evidence of about 4,200 years of continuous human settlement in the vicinity of Marana and the middle Santa Cruz Valley. Many important archaeological sites have been found near Marana.
Las Capas, a large, early agricultural site, is related to the nearby Costello-King site near present-day Ina Road and the Interstate 10 interchange. It was occupied from 4,200 to 2,500 years ago. It is the site of the oldest-known cemetery in the American Southwest and the oldest-known canals in North America. The oldest tobacco pipes in the world were found here.
Los Morteros, a Hohokam ballcourt village ruin, is located on the Santa Cruz floodplain near the Point of the Mountain at the northern end of the Tucson Mountains. Los Morteros has also been identified as the probable location of the Llano del Azotado campsite used by the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition in 1775, which was chronicled. The location is near the present-day Arizona Portland Cement Plant in the Town of Marana.
Linda Vista Hill, dating between 1200 and 1350 A.D., is a Trincheras culture site in the Tucson Mountains. The people inhabited mountain slopes overlooking arable land along streams. The hillside site has more than 150 terraces and 75 pit-houses excavated into the terraces. A massive, adobe-walled compound is located on the hill summit.
Marana Mound, dating between 1150 and 1300 A.D., is the remnant of a large platform mound that was the center of the Hohokam community. The people lived between the Santa Cruz River and the Tortolita Mountains. The mound is surrounded by an adobe compound wall. Multiple rooms were constructed against the wall and were associated with 30-35 nearby residential compounds. Multiple house features have been found both inside and outside the compounds, as well as wall segments, and trash mounds. The whole complex covers an area of approximately one square mile.
In 1775, Juan Bautista de Anza, Captain of the Presidio of Tubac, led an expedition north along the Santa Cruz River to found the city of San Francisco. His group of about 200 included 30 soldiers and their families and a number of escorts. They brought more than 1,000 head of livestock. Their campsite was developed in the 20th century as the CalPortland Cement Plant near Marana. A 15-mile segment of the route which the expedition took through Marana is designated as part of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.
Pointer Mountain Station, of the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach line used from 1858, was found during the study of Los Morteros, within the limits of the nearby Puerta del Norte trailer court.
Spanish colonists began to inhabit this area in the 17th and 18th centuries. Over time they intermarried with Native American and a class of mestizo settlers also developed. From the early years, mining and ranching were the chief economic activities. The area became part of the independent Mexican Empire established in 1821 (soon replaced by the Republic of Mexico).
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Photo by John Hunnicutt II