Blog #1 – Pueblo Grande & Casa Grande

My first full day in Arizona has left me wishing I knew more Spanish…Joking aside, today introduced centuries-old artifacts and a taste of southern Arizona culture. Outside of Phoenix, we visited the remains of the Pueblo Grande, the central village of the Hohokam people. The largest remaining structures at this archeological site today are a ballcourt and walls of a platform mound. Based on their building techniques, the Hohokam seem to be fond of walls; yet, interestingly enough, these walls were not meant for defense. However, communities with walls remain a mysteriously popular topic in the current day…

After traveling to Coolidge and devouring the first tacos of the day at Robelto’s Taco Shop, we headed to Casa Grande – another Hohokam ruins site. The immensity of this structure was best taken in lying on the paved walkway and staring up at the adobe walls (which provided much-welcomed shade). An owl was standing guard at the ruins, perched in what looked like an ancient window, protecting the remains from giant pigeons.

The most surprising fact of the day actually came in the Tucson Best Western parking lot when we came face to face with an animal called a “javelina,” which, despite looking exactly like a wild boar, is more closely related to a mouse than a pig (says Eric).

Lots of cacti and strange animals today, and more to come.

3 Replies to “Blog #1 – Pueblo Grande & Casa Grande”

  1. Yeah, I’m with you. Why all the walls? Built at tremendous cost, there must have been a reason. Protection from floods? Shade? Keeping animals out? Keeping animals in? Given the later day O’odham’s problems with Apache raids, I would have thought that defense was the obvious answer, but as you said, Larry said no.

  2. That’s an interesting point you make about walls. They were definitely intended to keep something out (and perhaps something in). Since the houses Hohokam families lived in did not allow for much personal space, the barriers could not have been intended for intrafamily privacy. Perhaps animals — Javelinas maybe?

  3. The wildlife in the Sonoran Desert is quite vast and honestly never failed to surprise. Still in awe from the javelina casually crossing through the parking lot. The wall debate hasn’t worked since the ancient times, so I don’t know why it would work now. This is why we learn about history, so we don’t make the same mistakes again. But here we are with the potential to learn the same mistake again. Some people just never learn.

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