• The Great House at Casa Grande Ruins stands out for miles

    Casa Grande Ruins

    National Monument Arizona

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Exchanging Goods and Ideas

The ancient Sonoran Desert people exchanged goods and ideas, made long-distance expeditions to procure exotic raw materials, and produced prestige items such as carved shell, for exchange. These activities occurred within the Sonoran Desert culture and with other cultural areas. Interaction with other groups is indicated by the presence of macaws, copper bells, and pottery from sometimes very distant regions.
This very large olla was nearly intact when found at Casa Grande Ruins.

NPS Photo

Large pottery vessels were used for water and food storage and for cooking.

When different types of temper were added, a vessel became more porous and acted as an
evaporative cooler, producing chilled water.

This olla was found near the Great House and is 3-ft. tall.

The ancient Sonoran Desert people had to have something to exchange, so they produced and traded large storage jars, pottery with intricate designs, and even jewelry made from seashells. The exchange systems they established reached their maximum extent between AD 800 and 1000, and items they created have been found hundreds of miles from their homeland.

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Did You Know?

The Hohokam grew corn using a sophisticated irrigation system.

Farmers have grown crops in the Salt and Gila River valleys for over 2000 years. The ancestral Sonoran Desert people grew corn, squash, beans, and cotton by creating a flood irrigation system with over 1000 miles of canals. More...