Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hohokam and Pueblo Grande Exhibit

Beginning in the winter season of 2011 to October 2012 the Anasazi Heritage Center near Dolores, Colorado is hosting the Pieces of the Puzzle – Hohokam Exhibit displaying new ideas on the Hohokam Culture.

The Hohokam culture is known for the extensive irrigation works on the Salt River in the Phoenix, Arizona area. An easy to visit Hohokam site is the Pueblo Grande site in Phoenix, AZ located at 4619 East Washington Street, near the northeast side of the Sky Harbor Airport. Part of the Dolores, CO display includes artistic renditions of Hohokam life including the Pueblo Grande site.

The elevated overview of Pueblo Grande site isn’t actually available at the site. The trail travels along the sides of the platform mound and also climbs up on top. From the top of the mound there is an overview of the rest of the site.
The Pueblo Grande platform mound is one of more than 50 known in Arizona with nearly half of them in the Salt River Valley. The mounds are located at regular intervals of approximately three miles along the major irrigation canals.

At the Pueblo Grande site there are replicas of residential structures. The artist rendition appears to depict the circular pit house style that prevailed from 450 to 950 AD. On the Pueblo Grande site, one of the residences is open for visitors to enter and inspect the inside details. The frame is described as mesquite or cottonwood trees. Branches or Saguaro Cactus ribs are lashed to the frames.

There are replica artifacts arranged inside. One of the women in the artist rendition appears to be working on pottery and using the paddle and anvil technique that is described in the Dolores Exhibition. There a small pottery dog next to her. Some examples of these pottery dogs are on display in Dolores also.

Sunken ballcourts similar to ballcourts in Mexico were built at some of the Hohokam large sites between 700 AD and 1100 AD. The ballcourt at the Pueblo Grande site is one of the few of the 200 southwestern United States ballcourts discovered that have been excavated.

At the Pueblo Grande site the interpretive information says that use of ballcourts was discontinued sometime after 1200 AD. One of the main points of the Dolores Pieces of the Puzzle Exhibit was to discuss possible reasons why the whole Hohokam Culture gradually declined and disappeared.

The desert scene depicts Hohokam petroglyphs near Tucson, AZ.

Outside the Pueblo Grande Museum there are some example petroglyphs that have been relocated there. One of the museum images is clearly a mountain sheep. The other image is somewhat vague but looks like it could be a mountain lion.

Another of the artist renditions shows a scene at the headworks of the irrigation system. One of the puzzle pieces of the Dolores Exhibit shows how population shifted from the central core sites like Pueblo Grande to sites more at the distant ends of the irrigation system. This was a problem as these headworks still needed operation and maintenance.

18407_$5 Shipping on Orders of $99 or More!