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Before Walled Compounds

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.


Last updated: May 28, 2016

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Mailing Address:

1100 W. Ruins Drive
Coolidge, AZ 85128


(520) 723-3172
General park contact number includes a phone tree for finding the employee you wish to contact. Callers may dial zero for the phone attendant. Voicemail is available for many of the extensions.

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