PHOENIX (KSAZ) - What is now a parking lot will soon be a Fry's grocery store off Washington and First Street in downtown Phoenix, but it's what the land used to be that is putting construction on hold and it all started roughly 2,000 years ago.
"We look at small things, things that people don't even think about," Mark Hackbarth said.
Hackbarth is the archeologist digging through the lot. He says law states builders can't get a permit until the site is cleared of any artifacts and for the past three weeks, they've found plenty of it.
"We had Hohokam first, first fire station, second fire station and now Fry's," he said.
Mark says his team found brick structures and ceramic pieces called "sherds" from Hohokam culture who were here over 1,300 years ago. Their descendants are known today as the Pima Tribe.
"You can see the prehistoric 'sherds' that are right here and then there is the bottom of the historic footer, so you got one civilization right on top of the other," he said.
Right here in 1894 was the first Phoenix fire station and as it got knocked down in 1915, a new fire station was built. Then, it was torn down in 1953 and the lot remained empty for years, but pieces of the history never left.
"The engines would have been backed up through here and they would have backed up into First Street," Hackbarth said.
Mark says once they're done preserving the artifacts, the groundbreaking for construction starts.
"In an archeologist comes to any archeological site, he destroys it, he or she takes away the original contexts and you can't replace that," he said.