For a thousand years, the Hohokam mastered their desert homeland with amazing technological inventiveness, building vast networks of canals that created oases of green. As the environment changed, Hohokam culture adapted to enable their survival for generation upon generation. Visitors to the Salt-Gila Valley can still see traces of one of the most advanced civilizations of the New World.
Pueblo Grande in what is now Phoenix, Arizona, broke up the low-desert landscape with a football-field-sized platform mound, a towering great house, at least two ballcourts, and hundreds of walled compounds housing the 2,000 residents of the village.
Views of reconstructed house compound at Pueblo Grande
700 years ago, the great house at Casa Grande Ruins near Coolidge, Arizona, stood 3 stories high, with a central tower rising above that dizzying height. Other multistory buildings stood nearby, including a platform mound like that of Pueblo Grande. Another great house and platform mound existed at Mesa Grande in Mesa, Arizona.
The many prehistoric canals that drew water from the Salt and Gila Rivers covered hundreds of miles and could have watered several hundred thousand acres if they were all operational at the same time. Sections of a few of these canals can be seen at Park of the Canals in Mesa, Arizona.