Monday, February 8, 2010

Casa Grande Ruins

In the middle of the desert between Tucson and Phoenix is the Casa Grande National Monument, which preserves the remains of an ancient Hohokam farming village and the Great House, or Casa Grande as it was called by early Spanish explorers.

The national monument consists of the ruins of several structures surrounded by a wall constructed by the Hohokam, who farmed the Gila valley in the early 1200's.

Four stories high and 60 feet long, the Great House is made of caliche and has managed to survive the extreme weather conditions for about seven centuries. The roof was added in 1932 to help preserve it.

Its walls face the four cardinal points of the compass and a circular hole in the upper west wall aligns with the setting Sun at the summer solstice.

Other openings align with the Sun and moon at specific times.

Perhaps the builders of the Great House would gather inside to ponder the heavens. Knowing the changing positions of the celestial objects also meant knowing times for planting, harvest and celebration.


  1. Wow - how amazing is that? Looks like we could learn a lot about building practices from the hohokam!

  2. wow amazing place will have to add that to my list the next time I get down that way