Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Casa Grande Ruins

Located about 15 miles from the town of Casa Grande, the Casa Grande Ruins is our country's first archeological preserve. Built by the Hohokum people in the early 1300s, the four story Casa Grande (Big House) is believed to have been used as an astrological observatory due to the placement of small windows which align with the sun during summer solstice and with the sun and moon at other significant times. Of course, the Hohokum had no written language so archeologists are guessing at the purpose of the building since it is very unusual for its size. The building itself was built using caliche, a hardpan found several feet below ground that was mixed with water to create a concrete-like plaster. Another unusual facet of the building is that the original beams were made of trees that were not available locally but came from the mountains over 50 miles away.

The Hohokum (translated loosely as "the Vanished Ones" or "Those who are gone") were farmers and dug an extensive series of irrigation canals in this area, some of which extended for thirty miles. They grew corn, beans, squash, cotton and tobacco and traded with other tribes up and down the Gila River. The Hohokum abadoned the area in the 1400s and appeared to have disappeared totally, perhaps being absorbed into other tribes.

The volunteers at the Casa Grande Ruins are very knowledgeable about this area of the state and the history of the Hohokum people. A tour takes about an hour and included a short talk given by your guide with time to explore the ruins. You cannot go inside the building but can look inside it through the broken walls. It makes for a nice morning trip and you can use your Golden Age, Golden Eagle or Golden Access passport to get in free, otherwise the entrance fee is $5 per person.

1 comment:

Norman said...


Hey - does that address you sent me a while back still work? I want to go ahead and send the audio books to you since the 'item' that I've been searching for has FINALLY come in!! (hehehehe)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...