english audio description

Audio Description Scripts
For Waysides at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

NOTE: Duration in minutes is provided for reference only. Actual timing will depend on speed of user's screen reader.


Wayside 1 [427 words –2.9 minutes]

Who were these ancestral Sonoran Desert people? 427 words.

The text on this panel reads, "No one alive now knows what name the people who built the Casa Grande called themselves centuries ago. Archeologists today use the term HOHOKAM to label the culture that flourished here from 1,500 years ago to 550 years ago. At archeological sites, like Casa Grande Ruins, you can see similar platform mounds, ball courts, irrigation networks, and homes placed around plazas inside walled compounds. These ancient sites also share adistinctive red-on-buff pottery and carved shell jewelry.Six tribes in today's Southwest still have histories that linkthemselves to the people who once lived here. For thesetribes, Casa Grande Ruins is a sacred place."

The panel background has painted scenes of these peoples by M. Chiago, a Tohono O'odham artist. Across the top of the image is a line of ten people, walking in a procession to the left. The first four figures are dressed in long white robes with colorful sashes over their shoulders. Each holds a pole in front with a totem figure on its top. The next three figures wear long sleeved shirts and long skirts. Each holds a basket or pot above their heads. The last three carry musical instruments—a flute, a rattle and sticks.

Underneath this scene is a desert panorama with three small houses. The houses have flat roofs and a stovepipe projecting from one wall. Purple and blue mountains rise in the background.

Along the bottom of the panel is a desert scene with three women harvesting the red fruits of saguaro cactus. One uses a long pole to reach the top of the cactus. Two others carry large baskets full of the fruit on their heads.

At the left side of the panel is an image of a round woven basket design, dark brown lines on a lighter tan. From a circle in the middle, four geometrical patterns radiate. Around the image are the names of six tribes: Gila River, Hopi, Zuni, Ak-Chin, Tohono O'Odham, and Salt River –Pima Maricopa.

As you face this panel, the visitor center is behind you and the Great House is ahead to your left. In front of you are two tall saguaros and smaller creosote bushes. The ground is beige with a slight pinkish tint. In the distance are low mountains. Behind the sign is a large rock with petroglyphs on one side of the dark surface.

To reach the next sign, step to the right of this sign and move straight ahead about 70 feet down the sidewalk.


Wayside 2 [363 words –2.4 minutes]

Before Walled Compounds. 363 words.

The text on this panel reads," About 4,100 years ago, people in southern Arizona began to grow corn. Over time more and more crops were introduced by trade. People became more settled and lived in the same place for longer periods of time. They built earthen homes called pithouses and began to dig canals to water their fields. Some 1,500 years ago, larger villages began to appear in southern Arizona. Around 800 years ago people here began to build not only pithouses, but aboveground buildings and walled compounds like the ruins you see before you today."

Next to the text is a red inset with images of 5 ears of corn, pale yellow in color. The text reads, "ANCIENT GRAINS, ANCIENT TECHNOLOGIES. The corn you see here closely resembles ancient maize grown in the Southwest 1,500 years ago. Baskets made harvesting crops easier. People used stone tools to grind grains. Pottery helped store and protect food and seeds from pests."

The background image shows a painting by Robert Ciaccio of an earthen pithouse, pinkish desert tan in color. At the side of the house, a woman kneels, grinding corn. A blanket is draped over her shoulders. Next to her a child stands, holding a basket. Beside them is a collection of seven large pottery jugs and bowls and two woven baskets full of corn. In front of the door to the house a man stands, along with a boy and a dog. Both of them wear knee-length skirts and the man wears a long sleeved shirt. To the left behind the house, another house is under construction. We see a pit with a timber frame erected above it. A man works, adding long poles to the structure.

As you stand facing this panel the desert extends out in front of you, pinkish tan in color with patches of gravel here and there. Creosote bushes are scattered about along with the taller saguaro. To your right is the sidewalk back to the visitor center. To your left, the sidewalk extends to the next wayside sign, about 45 feet away. Behind you are the ruins of Compound A and the Great House.


Wayside 3 [494 words –3.3 minutes]

Desert Farming, Then and Now. 494 words.

The text reads, "Farming in this part of Arizona started 4,100 years ago with corn. Little by little, over the centuries, travelers brought in beans, squash, gourds, pumpkins, tobacco, and cotton. People here gradually dug a vast network of canals to take water from the rivers into their fields. Communities living along the miles of ditches worked together to maintain their irrigation system.

"The first Spaniards who visited the Casa Grande in the late 1600s noticed that people here grew cotton. Cotton thrives in hot climates, but it is a very, very thirsty crop. Without irrigation, cotton won't grow in a desert.

"Today the farm fields near Casa Grande Ruins are still one of the largest cotton-producing areas in the United States. Irrigation still makes desert farming possible."

In the lower left corner are pictures of a cotton boll and a greenish copper bell. The text reads, "LONG-RANGE TRADE AND TRAVEL. Farmers living near the Casa Grande traded cotton and surplus crops for raw materials and other goods. Copper bells and scarlet macaws came up from the south. Turquoise and obsidian came here from the north and east. People in southern Arizona journeyed to the Sea of Cortez and to the Pacific, returning with seashells. They fashioned their shells into beautiful bracelets, rings, and pendants."

The right two-thirds of the panel is filled with an artist's concept of the ancestral people's agricultural fields. In the background is a broad canal with smaller canals branching off right and left toward the front. On the left is a holding pond. In the lower right, a man wearing a loincloth hoes corn. Next to him a row of prickly pear cactus stretches back. Two boys work to harvest the fruits. At the end of that row women use long poles to harvest saguaro fruit. In the left hand corner rows of squash stretch toward the canal with irrigation ditches between them. Two boys use baskets to pour water from the canal into the ditches.

The caption reads, "220 MILES OF CANALS. Near Casa Grande Ruins, the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People irrigated as many as 19,000 acres of crops."

As you face this panel desert stretches out in front of you. To your right the sidewalk leads back to the previous panel. 12 feet to your left is a bench where the sidewalk turns left to enter the compound area.

About ten feet behind you are the ruins of compound A. The remnant of the outside wall is about two feet high. Fifty feet further away are walls of a multi-roomed building. The ruins of the Great House are further away slightly to the right.

To reach the next sign, turn to your left and move about fifteen feet. Turn left again and move forward. The sidewalk paving ends about ten feet further and becomes dirt covered with a layer of loose gravel. The next wayside is about fifty feet from that point.


Wayside 4 [443 words –3 minutes]

Daily Life within the Walls. 443 words.

The text on this panel reads, "The open spaces behind you and to your right are called plazas. Here you might have watched food preparations, pottery making, spinning, weaving, basket making, and other chores. In winter, people worked out in the open plazas where the sun could warm them. In summer, they sought shade alongside buildings or worked under breezy ramadas—open-weave, wood-and-brush overhead shelters. People used the rooms here in the compound for family sleeping quarters, storage, and ceremonies. You could pass into some rooms through doors in the walls. Others you could only enter from a rooftop hatch by climbing ladders."

The background of the panel shows artist Robert Ciaccio's conception of life inside a compound. On the left side of the image are two women and a girl sitting on mats next to the wall of a building. Many pottery bowls and jugs sit next to them. The girl is rolling a long rope of clay. The woman on the left uses a flat tool to smooth a bowl. The woman on the right uses a cloth to apply red pigment to a large jug. Around the corner of the building is an open plaza with a shade roof attached to a wall on the far side. Six people are under the roof. Behind them is the corner of a multi-story building. The caption reads, "Inside these walls are 92,400 square feet, about the size of 2 football fields."

In the lower right hand corner of the panel is an inset with a red background. It has a picture of a shallow decorated bowl, pale beige with red markings–a "X" divides the bowl into four areas and red dots fill the background. The text reads, "ARTISANS IN THE MAKING. Children as young as six years old helped make articles that the community needed—like this ceramic scoopused to serve food. While girls here learned to make pottery, spin, and weave, boys worked on stone and wooden tools for farming and weapons for hunting."

Behind the panel as you face it are the remains of a multi-roomed building, stretching away from you and towards your left. The ruined walls range in height from two feet to about five feet. Behind you to your right are partial walls of another building. Small signs ask you to please keep off walls.

Ahead of you, 45 degrees to your right is the Great House, protected by its metal canopy supported by four large metal pylons, with lower wall remnants directly to your right.

To reach the next wayside, move 45 degrees to your right about 90 feet.


Wayside 5 [517 words –3.5 minutes]

Engineered to Last. 517 words.

Text reads, "Picture the effort and skills needed to build something the size of the Casa Grande without modern power tools, wheels, beasts of burden, or support frames.

"The Ancestral Sonoran Desert People used caliche, a desert soil rich in calcium carbonate, to raise the thick walls you see here. Caliche was dug and mixed with water in shallow pits to form a stiff concrete-like material. They shaped the mud by hand to form the walls up to the heights you see.

"Look closely at these walls. Can you see horizontal lines? Those lines show "courses," the height a batch of caliche was piled in one work session before being left to dry. After a course dried out, the workers laid down a fresh batch of caliche mud on top. These builders' ingenuity and knowledge of local soils made it possible to construct a building that has lasted more than seven centuries."

The image shows artist Robert Ciaccio's conception of a great house under construction. In the foreground are partial walls of a five-roomed building. On the right, three men place mud on top of the wall section. Another scoops mud out of a large basket. In the background a wall surrounds the compound. Other figures carry baskets on their backs.

In the lower left, a cut-away image of a great house shows two main floors with a smaller room on top. The outer rooms store baskets and large pots. In the center rooms people work at crafts. Ladders extend from one floor to the next. The caption reads, "WERE THERE OTHERS LIKE THIS? Other Great Houses were found along the Gila River and in the Phoenix Basin. Archeologists believe another structure like the Casa Grande existed at the site of Pueblo Grande, an archeological park in Phoenix.

"Today, the Casa Grande remains the only example of a multistory structure from the Hohokam culture."

As you face this panel, the Casa Grande is in front of you, slightly to the left, rising three stories above you. In places the walls are smooth from an outer coating of mud. In other places, you can see the rougher, inner wall structure, where courses of mud were laid on top of each other. On the wall to your right, are two long narrow window-like openings, one above the other. On the far end of the left hand wall is a tall door opening. Narrow door openings on the second and third levels lead from the outside room into the interior.

The structure is protected by a metal canopy towering above it, supported by a large metal pylon at each corner, anchored in cement blocks four and a half feet square.

Immediately in front of the panel and stretching away to your right are wall sections of a line of six rooms.

To reach the next sign behind the great house. move 15 feet to the left of this and turn right, going through the remains of smaller walled buildings. Move 110 feet to the back of the great house, then turn left and move 60 feet to the next sign.


Wayside 6 [463 words –3 minutes]

Why build the Casa Grande? 463 words.

The text reads, "Archeologists don't know for sure. Its original purpose remains a puzzle. Here, there are still more questions than answers.

"Was it an ancient astronomical observatory? Perhaps. Why do the walls line up north-south-east-west? Unknown. We can still observe the sun and moon line up with certain holes in the wall before you, year in and year out.

"Were sacred ceremonies held here? Did a leader who oversaw the all-important irrigation canals work inside these rooms? Did an influential family or clan call the Casa Grande their home?

"The answers remain unknown. The Casa Grande likely served many purposes, many functions.

"Why do you think the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People built this impressive multistory building?"

More text reads, "Farming societies in many parts of the ancient world worked out ways to track the seasons. The Casa Grande also has features that can be used to accurately mark the time of year."

The image on the panel shows an aerial view of what archeologists think the compound walls looked like. Close to the western outer compound wall is the Great House, two main stories with a smaller room on the top. Walls of other single story structures surround it, most of them in the northeast corner. A label indicates your current position on the west side of the great house.

There are two small openings high on each side of the west wall of the Casa Grande. The left opening is labeled, "SUMMER SOLSTICE. Sunlight lines up through this small hole at sunset on the longest day of the year." The right opening is labeled, "A VERY RARE LUNAR EVENT. The sun 'stands still' in the sky twice every year –at 'solstices.' The moon 'stands still' in the sky only once every 18.6 years. This hole marks that lunar event."

Additional text reads, "SPRING AND FALL EQUINOXES. The rising sun lines up with twin openings in the top floor of the Casa Grande each March and September."

In front of you as you face the panel is the west side of Casa Grande. This side is mostly intact. In the center at ground level is a tall, narrow door. Near the high outer corners of the wall are the solstice holes mentioned on the panel.

Behind you, about 15 feet away, is the low remains of the outer compound wall, with the desert beyond. Signs read, "CLOSED AREA. DO NOT ENTER."

For the next wayside, turn to your right and move about 80 feet. Just ahead of you at that point is a low wall section of a single-roomed structure. Move around it by going 20 feet to your left, turn right and continue on another 100 feet. The wayside will be 20 feet to your right.


Wayside 7 [354 words –2.4 minutes]

Harvesting a Bountiful Desert. 354 words.

The text on this panel reads, "For centuries, people have harvested plants for food, for medicine, and to make useful items for everyday living. Despite temperatures that can climb to 120º F, there is a diversity of plant species to be found in the Sonoran Desert. Many plants here have adapted to receiving only nine inches of rainfall a year. The rains peak twice: once in winter, and again in late summer.

"Today Native Americans follow traditions of collecting desert resources passed down for centuries. Women still gather desert willow shoots, cattail, devils claw, yucca, and bear grass to make baskets."

The left two-thirds of the panel shows a colorful illustration by M. Chiago a Tohono O'odham artist. It shows a desert scene with many of the plants that are important to the people of the desert. In the middle of the foreground is a tall, branched saguaro. Further back on the left is mesquite tree. On the right is a prickly pear. There also are two agave plants. Four women, dressed in colorful skirts and blouses and wearing headscarves and aprons, are harvesting from the various plants.

In the lower right hand corner are pictures of several important plants: the willowy leaves and fruit of the mesquite, used for food;a narrow, spiny branch of the cholla, used for food;a short leafy branch of the creosote with its yellow blossoms and white fluffy fruit, used for medicine;tips of a prickly pear cactus with yellow blossoms, used for food;and the top of a saguaro cactus, with white blossoms and green fruits, used for food.

In front of you as you face the sign is the desert with scattered creosote bushes and low mountains in the distance. To your right is the Great House. To your left is a small grouping of ruined walled structures in the southwest corner of the compound.

To move to the next wayside, turn around and go back 30 feet. Then turn right and move about 135 feet. The sign will be 6 feet on your left, facing back towards the way you came.


Wayside 8 [341 words –2.3 minutes]

Irrigation Communities. 341 words.

The text on this panel reads, "The walled compound where you are standing was just one community of a network of communities that were built along canal systems. An eagle flying high over this Gila River Valley 1,000 years ago would have seen dozens of villages with wide, irrigated fields.

"Extended families usually shared rooms and open areas within a compound like the one you are in now. Several compounds grouped together made up a village. Villages along a network of canals worked together to keep the irrigation water flowing into the fields.

"The largest villages were often found at the beginning or end of canals. At these sites you will find ball courts, and platform mounds and sometimes structures like the Casa Grande. Large sites like Casa Grande Ruins were gathering places where people celebrated ceremonies and harvests."

The bottom of the panel has a sketch of the course of the Gila River, arching down from the right, then back up to the left. Several tributaries branch off on the left side. Above the river are two, dotted lines representing long canals that parallel the river. Nine black squares along the canals indicate Hohokam settlements. Below the river, more dotted lines show a more complex irrigation system there, with squares indicating another 14 settlements. A large square shows the location of Casa Grande, to the left of a river's arc and between it and a large tributary below.

Directly in front of you as you face the panel is the Casa Grande, a bit over 200 feet away. To your left are the remains of a multi-roomed building in the southwest corner of the compound. Most of the ruined walls are low, but one section extends almost 15 feet into the air. Behind you is more desert, dotted with creosote bushes. To your left is a large open area of gravel-covered earth. There are no structures in the southeast part of the compound.

The next wayside is about 100 feet away at a 45-degree angle to your right.


Wayside 9 [388 words –2.6 minutes]

Not Just Survival –A Place for the Arts. 388 words.

The text on this panel reads, "Imagine you were wandering this plaza 700 years ago. You would smell wood smoke, and hear dogs barking and children laughing. Beyond the 7-foot-tall outer compound wall, green, well-watered fields of corn, beans, squash, and cotton stretched along the canals for miles.

"On any typical day, someone here would be grinding corn. Others might be making pots, weaving, or spinning cotton. Artisans carved shell jewelry or fashioned pendants out of rare stones such as turquoise and argillite. Other craftsmen made arrowheads, stone axes, and farm tools.

"Casa Grande's wealth and security rested on the food and cotton coming from lush fields. These farmers had to devote considerable time, day after day, to tending their fields and canals. Artifacts found at Casa Grande Ruins reveal that the people who once lived here were highly skilled artisans."

The main image shows artist Robert Ciaccio's concept of life in the compound. In the background are the compound walls lined with several single story buildings. In the left foreground, a woman bends over a flat stone, grinding corn. She wears a plain, sleeveless wrap. Her long black hair falls over her arm. Behind her, a man shows a young boy how to shape tools, watched by a woman standing near-by. In the right foreground, under a roofed shelter, other people work. A young woman sits and weaves with a small loom. A man bends over shells and turquoise, making jewelry. Other people are in the background, walking or standing in conversation.

Standing in front of this panel, you have a good view of the south wall of the Great House, about 70 feet away. This side is more weathered than the others, and has a couple of gaps in the outer wall. There also is a large gap in the front, southeast corner of the structure.

Ahead and slightly to your right are the low walls marking the start of the group of structures in the northeast corner of the compound. Directly to your right, the gravel stretches almost 100 feet to the eastern wall of the compound. Beyond the wall are small trees and a group of low, administrative buildings.

The next wayside is about 150 feet away ahead of you, just slightly to your right.


Wayside 10 [467 words –3.1 minutes]

Disrespected, then Protected. 467 words.

Text reads, "In the 1700s and early 1800s, only a trickle of travelers came by the Casa Grande. First Spanish explorers, and then Mexican and American travelers wondered who built this ruin and why. More people visited after 1879 when the railroad first reached the town of Casa Grande 19 miles away. Travelers scratched their names into the walls. Some took away artifacts, even pieces of the walls, as souvenirs. In 1889 Congress voted to protect Casa Grande Ruins from further vandalism and looting. They voted to pay for clearing away debris and repairing the eroded foundations. The wooden beams and metal rods you see today were installed in 1891 to brace up some of the walls. Three years later, the federal government made Casa Grande the nation's first archeological preserve."

The main image is an old photograph of the great house, looking towards the southeast corner. The structure looks similar to the view today, except for dirt piled here and there around the outside.

On the right side an oval photograph shows the head of a statue of a man with short hair, high cheekbones and an aquiline nose. The caption reads, "WHO NAMED CASA GRANDE? A Jesuit missionary, explorer, and mapmaker, Eusebio Francisco Kino(1645–1711), was the first European to see and document these ruins—in 1694. Father Kino called the building 'Casa Grande,' Spanish for 'great house.'"

Standing at this panel, you are looking directly at the center of the west side of the Great House. An opening is directly in front of you with steps rising up just inside the doorway. The left end of this wall is missing and you can see through the structure to the back wall.

On the ground between the panel and the Great House are 12-inch high remains of walls enclosing two rooms, part of a multi-roomed building, which stretches all the way around to your right. One wall section about 45 degrees to your right almost 15 feet tall, with holes about 7 feet off the ground that once held poles that supported an upper story. Low walls of other buildings lie further to your right. Remains of another building are directly behind you, about 20 feet away.

To reach the next wayside, you must pass through the remains of other buildings. Place your back to this panel and move forward 12 feet. Turn left, move 35 feet, then turn back right and move another 50 feet to reach the paved sidewalk. Follow the sidewalk about 40 feet. At that point a covered patio with benches will be another 10 feet directly in front of you or turn left and follow the sidewalk 60 feet to reach the next wayside, which will be on your left at the edge of the sidewalk.


Wayside 11 [330 words –2.2 minutes]

Living History in a Sacred Place. 330 words.

The text on this panel reads, "The remnants of monumental buildings and large walled compounds you see here have been slowly going back to the desert for more than 560 years. The people who used to live here left suddenly.

"Many of their descendants still live in the Sonoran Desert today. Others moved to northern Arizona and western New Mexico. Our visitor center film, Casa Grande: House of Many Stories, explains the deep meaning of this place to the descendants of the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People. They regard this place as sacred."

The background of the panel shows a painting by M. Chiago, a Tohono O'odham artist. It shows a line of American Indians –men, women and children –holding hands and dancing. They wear brightly colored clothes, the women in long skirts, the men in pants. In the foreground three women sit on a blanket between two small fires. They hold instruments –a rattle and sticks. In the background are the remains of the great house with mountains in the distance.

This panel faces the northern end of the Compound A ruins, with the great house ahead and to your left. Ruins of the multi-roomed buildings in the northeast corner of the compound are in front of you. Directly down the sidewalk 30 feet to your left is the covered area with benches. Following the sidewalk to your right about 40 feet will bring you back to the first panel, close to the door to the visitor center.

There are three other wayside panels here at Casa Grande, located on the other side of the picnic area, about 400 feet from the front door of the visitor center. To reach them, go back through the visitor center and cross the left end of the parking lot. Continue on past the picnic area to a paved ramp overlooking a ring of mounded dirt to your left. The next panel is on the top of the ramp.


Wayside 12 [356 words –2.5 minutes]

Ball Games, Platform Mounds, and Great Houses. 356 words.

The text on this panel reads, "Does the hollow, oval mound you see before you remind you of a sports stadium? Just like today's arenas, this ball court was a place where crowds of people regularly gathered more than 1,000 years ago.

"Every society needs public places to get together. Here the ball court, platform mounds, and the Casa Grande all served as community centers for the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People—but at different times. Archeologists see clues that once the platform mounds to your right were built, people suddenly abandoned this ball court. Then when the Casa Grande was built, around 100–150 years after the platform mounds, it became the center of the community."

The top of the panel is filled with an artist's concept of a scene around a ball court. A flat oval space is shown surrounded by a high mound of dirt. Men line the top of the mound watching five men below. The men in the oval space have broad white stripes painted around their torsos, arms and legs.

At the lower right corner of the panel is a photograph of a stone ball, 3 ½ inches across. The caption reads, "The Old Ball Game. Players used stone balls larger than today's professional baseballs. Archeologists have identified about 200 ball courts like this in Arizona. A fine caliche plaster made the central playing fields hard and smooth."

The panel faces a large oval enclosed by a dirt mound all around it. The shape is easy to see, but the middle looks like it has been partially filled over the years. A few small plants grow inside. The desert stretches away on all sides.

About 12 feet behind you along the railing on the other side of the platform is a button that triggers another audio description of this area. On either side of you, ramps lead back down to ground level. To reach the next wayside, move to your right about 25 feet, go 60 feet down that ramp and continue on another 25 feet. The next wayside will be on your left.


Wayside 13 [328 words –2.2 minutes]

Earthen Platform Mounds. 328 words.

The text on this panel reads, "Look at the mounds of dirt 100 yards ahead. They are manmade. Picture them 900 years ago, covered with buildings and plazas and people, all inside a rectangular 7-foot-tall wall.

"Imagine the work it would take to make such a 10-foot-tall base platform by hand, then build a complex like you see in this illustration atop it. Archeologists have found about 50 platform mounds like these here in southern Arizona.

"The mounds you see are about five feet taller today than they would have been centuries ago. National Park Service archeologists have covered these platforms with backfill to preserve and protect them."

The illustration on the right side of the panel shows artist Robert Ciaccio's concept of what a compound might have looked like from the air. It shows a rectangular area 229 feet long and 180 feet wide, enclosed by a 7-foot-tall wall. In the middle of the wall on the right is a single entrance. A variety of single storied structures fill the top and bottom of the compound. Two platform mounds are shown –one towards the top of the illustration and the other near the bottom right. The mounds are rectangular with multi-roomed buildings on their smooth tops.

A photograph in the lower left of the panel shows a bulldozer carrying dirt up a ramp to the top of an earthen mound. The caption reads, "Backfilling involves reburying ruins with soil. This preservation method cannot stop deterioration, but it can slow down erosion and stabilize the site."

The panel faces a flat mound of dirt about 100 yards away. The dirt covering the mound is greyer than the pinkish-tan of the surrounding desert. Immediately behind you is the picnic area with several covered pavilions and numerous picnic tables.

One final wayside is down the sidewalk to your right, about 90 feet away. There is a slight meander in the sidewalk about half way to the sign.


Wayside 14 [296 words –2 minutes]

To Dig –Or Not to Dig. 296 words.

The text on this panel reads, "Did you know that digging any ancient site is destructive? Once archeologists excavate a site, its value for further investigations decreases. Both the mound in front of you and the compound where you saw the Casa Grande have been excavated.

"Nowadays archeologists use less invasive ways to explore. Ground-penetrating radar can show us walls still hidden underground—without digging. High-definition laser scans minutely measure structures. Laser scans can reveal what has been lost to erosion over the years.

"Throughout the National Park Service these days, archeologists strive to use nondestructive technologies. Here at Casa Grande Ruins you can see preservation archeology practiced. Walls are regularly coated with a mud mixture to protect them from damage from the wind and rain."

The background photograph shows a view of some of the wall remains in the main compound here at Casa Grande. A woman kneels in front of a partial wall section, spreading mud from large, orange buckets beside her.

In the upper left corner of the panel a small inset shows a black and white photograph of an older man with a short white beard and a receding hairline. He wears a suit and tie. The caption reads, "Jesse Walter Fewkes first excavated here in 1906–1908. Fewkes wanted to make Casa Grande Ruins into "the first Exhibition Ruin." This was then a completely new idea: preserve an archeological site and use it to educate visitors."

The panel faces a flat mound of grey dirt about 100 yards away, with the desert stretching away on all sides. Behind you is the picnic area with several covered pavilions and numerous picnic tables. The sidewalk continues on to your right, curving back right through the picnic area.


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Last updated: July 6, 2016

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1100 W. Ruins Drive
Coolidge, AZ 85128


520 723-3172
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