Rivers of Rock
Stories from a Stone-Dry Land: Central Arizona Project Archaeology
Water is the single most precious resource of an arid land. It is symbol, sustenance, and livelihood. In the desert Southwest, it has been controlled, worshiped, used thoughtfully, fought over, diverted, legislated, wasted, and adjudicated. This book tells the story of water control and its impact on human history in Arizona as we understand it from Central Arizona Project archaeology. The archaeology carried out before the Central Arizona Project was constructed was a massive undertaking that changed our understanding of Arizona history and prehistory. The project and the Colorado River that it taps—often called Arizona’s Nile—cross all of the diverse natural regions of the state, providing a transect of its natural and cultural diversity. The book portrays the land and people of these regions and relates some of the ways we have coped with the scarcity of water over the millennia. Highlighting Arizona’s native peoples and prehistory, it also discusses historical water control, the history of the Central Arizona Project, and the impact of modern water-control projects. Written for a general audience and following in the tradition of the Southwest’s best nature writing, the book is scholarly yet readable. It offers a personal view of a timely and important topic, a balanced treatment of water-control issues, and rare glimpses of Arizona’s extraordinary land and peoples.