A New Discovery: The Casa Grande Ruins

In the city of Coolidge rests the Casa Grande Ruins created by the ancient Sonoran Desert people, the Hohokam.

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Photo Courtesy of Zoe Slagel

Zoe Slagel, Columnist

On the outskirts of the city of Coolidge lies the ancient Casa Grande Ruins National Museum. This national museum showcases the old ruins of large house and open plazas surrounding it, though all that remains is the structure of the main house and the borders of the plazas. Archaeologists believe this group of buildings were created from 1,500 years ago to 500 years ago with all of it handmade by the ancient Sonoran people, the Hohokam.

The national museum talks about several facts about their daily lives as a whole, such things like the Hohokam learned how to adjust without much water for crops by building a vast network of canals. Farming was a major part of their economy; without crops, they wouldn’t have cotton for clothes, food to eat or anything to trade with. Over time, travelers brought in beans, squash, gourds, pumpkins, tobacco, and cotton from all over.

When you’re standing in the plazas, you can watch food preparations, pottery making, spinning, weaving, basket making and many other chores. In the winter, they worked where the sun could warm them, while in summer, they sought shade alongside buildings or worked under breezy ramadas – open-weave, wood-and-brush overhead shelters.

The ancestral Sonoran Desert people used caliche, a desert soil rich in calcium carbonate, to raise the thick walls that you can witness on a visit. That is one of the impressive parts of the museum: to think of all the time it took to build all of it, the energy spent working on it.

Overall, the Casa Grande National Museum is a beautiful place filled with secrets of the past, which wait for you to discover them.