After curving around the platform mound, the trail begins to ascend the structure. The trail slopes up at a gradual gradient, making the climb very easy. Once atop the platform mound, visitors are able to survey the surrounding city of Phoenix. The juxtaposition between the prehistoric site and the thriving modern metropolis causes visitors to pause and consider the history of the desert and the role humans have played.
One of the first features of the mound that was pointed out to my group was a small hole that was part of a tunnel dug by Dr. Joshua Miller. Luckily, archaeologists now have better methods of excavating a site than digging damaging tunnels, but it is interesting to consider how far the science of preservation has progressed in the last one hundred years. Another fascinating feature of the mound is the Solstice room, which includes two doors in curious locations.
After descending the platform mound, our tour ventured to the compound houses and pit houses. Since the platform mound was used mainly as an administrative area, many of the people of the village lived below in either compound houses or pit houses.
|Walking up to the adobe compound|
|Inside the adobe compound|
The tour concluded the outside portion with stops at the ballcourt, garden, and oven. The ballcourt is drastically different than the ones a visitor might find in Mesoamerica, but that is why it is intriguing. Archaeologists are not exactly sure what type of game was played at the site or even for what purpose this area served. However, it is not difficult to imaging hundreds of screaming fans on the edges cheering for their favorite team or players. Past the ballcourt is a garden where the people at Pueblo Grande Museum grow typical foods the Hohokam probably cultivated and a mini irrigation system using canals waters the crops. Finally, we walked past the pit oven where agave hearts are still occasionally roasted and finished the tour inside the museum’s main gallery.
Overall, I found the tour informative and enjoyable. It helped me appreciate the sublime aspects of the site and Hohokam culture that are often overlooked by the area’s current inhabitants. The tours are a great way to see the site, and every tour guide has different areas of expertise. Therefore, each tour is different and can offer visitors new information every time they visit. I look forward to my next guided stroll around the site.
Posted by Heather, Pueblo Grande Museum Summer Intern