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Casa Grande Ruins

National Monument


Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, in Coolidge, Arizona, just northeast of the city of Casa Grande, preserves a group of Hohokam structures dating to the Classic Period (1150-1450 C.E.).  The national monument consists of the ruins of multiple structures surrounded by a compound wall constructed by the ancient people of the Hohokam period, who farmed the Gila Valley in the early 13th century. Archeologists have discovered evidence that the ancient Sonoran Desert people who built the Casa Grande also developed wide-scale irrigation farming and extensive trade connections which lasted over a thousand years until about 1450 C.E. "Casa Grande" is Spanish for "big house" (Siwañ Wa'a Ki: in O'odham); these names refer to the largest structure on the site, which is what remains of a four-story structure that may have been abandoned by 1450. The structure is made of caliche (caliche is a layer of soil in which the individual soil particles are cemented together with calcium carbonate), and has managed to survive the extreme weather conditions for about seven centuries. The large house consists of outer rooms surrounding an inner structure. The outer rooms are all three stories high, while the inner structure is four stories high. The structures were constructed using traditional adobe processes.

Picture Number: CM2_0318

Date: September 2018

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 200     Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec

F-Stop: f/8     Lens: 32 mm

In 1932, a ramada to shelter the ruins from weathering was built by Boston architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.  (This replaced a similar wooden structure built to protect it in 1903.)  In the early 21st century, a pair of great horned owls took up residence in the rafters of the Olmsted shelter.

Picture Number: CM2_0263

Date: September 2018

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 200     Shutter Speed: 1/200 sec

F-Stop: f/7.1     Lens: 48 mm

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