Video:Pueblo Grande Museum in Phoenixwith Judy Hedding
Familiar with the Hohokam? Take a step back in time and learn about Phoenix's past at the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park.See Transcript
Transcript:Pueblo Grande Museum in PhoenixRight in the middle of one of the largest cities in the country, Phoenix, Arizona, you'll find the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park. You might not think that 46th Street and Washington is the most logical place for a museum, but the city really had no choice -- this is the site of an actual prehistoric village occupied at one time by an ancient culture called the Hohokam. Sometimes you'll hear that pronounced Ho'-ho-kam. At this National Historic Landmark you can learn about these southwestern ancient people and walk through the ruins that have been carefully preserved. Let's take a look.
The Ancient Hohokam in ArizonaCenturies ago people began to move into the Salt River Valley. They were agricultural people, and their need to harness the flood waters from the Salt River eventually led the Hohokam to develop prehistoric irrigation systems to sustain their lifestyles. The development and maintenance of these canals took a great deal of effort and a lot of organization, and so communities were established along the water distribution lines.
Researchers tell us that about 40 platform mounds were erected at the major canal systems. These were the points from which the water flow was controlled. The mounds were located within large, rectangular areas enclosed by a wall. Within this Hohokam compound there were living quarters as well as common areas for play, religious and other daily activities of the people living there.
Visit the Pueblo Grande MuseumThe site occupied by the Pueblo Grande Museum was acquired by the City of Phoenix in the 1920s. Since that time many people have been dedicated to continuing the research and preserving the history of this area and its people. You'll begin your visit to the Pueblo Grande Museum indoors where there are several exhibit galleries. The "Dig It!" gallery explains to people of all ages how archaeologists study historic sites. The gallery called "Hohokam: The Land and the People" is where you will gain an understanding of Hohokam life and the development of the canal system. In other galleries you'll learn how the people lived and see artifacts that have been preserved from these ruins.
Walk Among Ancient Ruins at the Pueblo Grande MuseumNow that you understand what motivated the ancient Southwestern cultures of the Phoenix area, it's time to go outside and walk. The self-guided tour on the paved Ruin Trail will lead you past several aspects of the compound, including the pithouses, the ballcourt and, of course, the 800 year-old platform mound.
Where to Find the Pueblo Grande MuseumThe Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park hosts lectures and workshops for people of all ages, and larger groups may arrange for guided tours. This unique attraction is located within minutes from Sky Harbor International Airport. If you have a layover at Sky Harbor for a few hours and you are looking for something unique to do, you can take the free Sky Harbor Shuttle from any terminal that will connect you to METRO Light Rail at 44th Street and Washington. There's no need for you to actually get on the train there -- it's just a two block walk east from the shuttle stop to the museum.
To learn more about native cultures of the Southwest, visit us at About.com.
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