Friday, February 6, 2009

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coolidge, Arizona


Today we drove out to explore and learn about the Casa Grande Ruins. This National Monument is located in the town of Coolidge Arizona and is about a 30 minute drive from Casa Grande. The Casa Grande Ruins is the site of one of the largest permanent villages for the ancient Hohokam people. The Hohokam people of this area lived in adobe buildings and walled villages for more than 1000 thousand years. The main attraction of this historic site is the partially restored 3-story adobe building called Casa Grande that is protected by a large roof cover. The rest of the site consists of other building foundations and a few remaining adobe walls. There are information signs along the paths throughout the ruin that help you understand the architectural features (i.e. the astronomical calendar formed by series of windows built into Casa Grande) and the daily life of the people.

The general area around the year 300 supported over 3000 Hohokam people and took up an area of 2 square miles. In order to sustain such a large population, the Hohokam people needed water to grow food which supplemented the natural food from the desert that they collected. Interesting enough, their water came from canals they built from the nearby Salt and Gila rivers. What’s even more fascinating is that some of the canals that they built were 20 miles long with the entire system totaling over 100 miles of various canals and water channels.

In addition, to the Casa Grande Ruin site there is a visitor center that includes a museum devoted to the Hohokam people as well as a 15 minute movie that covers the archaeologist findings of the entire area and their proposed significance of various structures including large oval shaped sports courts. Definitely allow time to see the various museum exhibits and to watch the free movie for coupled together will answer many questions about these ancient people. We spent a total of 1.5 hours and thoroughly covered all there was to see.

Tips:
1) The paths around the ruin are level and assessable by all.
2) The entrance fee is $5 per person (over the age of 16) so don’t forget to use your America the Beautiful pass if you have one.

1 comment:

Jerry and Suzy said...

We told you it was worthwhile! It doesn't take a lot of time, but the history of those folks who disappeared from the Arizona desert so long ago is fascinating!

Did you happen to see the owl perched high up in the cover? A ranger pointed him (her?) out to us last time we were there.

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