To Dig -- Or Not to Dig

Photo of conservation work happening on the ruins walls.
Conservation work on Compound A is on-going. A new coat of mud is needed at least every two years to replace the topcoat worn off by rain and wind.


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.

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.


A PDF of the wayside (15,146 KB) is available.


Last updated: April 6, 2020

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Contact Info

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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