Monday, March 21, 2011

THE Trip, Casa Grande National Monument, Prehistoric Ruins.

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

One of our first sightseeing tours was to drive over to Coolidge Arizona to the site of the Prehistoric Ruins.  As per the official National Park Service web page, we learn that the site was "Created as the nation’s first archaeological reserve in 1892, the site was declared a National Monument in 1918."  Land of the Hohokam,  you can find a nice piece on their history, here.  The page describes irrigation and ball playing, and more.

First stop, the Visitor's Center, which houses a nice collection of artifacts and displays, explaining the ruins and the people that lived here so many years ago.  As should be, the artifacts were safely protected behind glass, but, I did manage to snap this photo of a "olla", which was found near the Great House, on the grounds.

Ollas were used for water and food storage and for
saguaro wine cooking.
This is the Great House, the largest structure on the site, 4 stories tall.  The modern roof structure is to protect the Great House.

They do guided tours, or you may wander around on your own.  This is one time I can highly recommend the guided tour.  Our volunteer guide was excellent, sadly, I neglected to record her name.  She was pleasant, very thorough, she did not rush her presentation (in other words, she spoke slowly, what a joy!) and her enunciation was excellent.  Much of her great presentation is represented on this web page, again thanks to the National Park Service, such history - -

Another of the buildings, called a "compound":

The low walls in the front of the compound are not original, they
are covered so as to protect what is underneath.
Here, again, is the Great House, close up photo, showing the horizontal growth of the building, the natives would build about 2 feet of the wall all the way around, when one section was finished, they would add another, and another, building upwards.  The horizontal lines are quite easy to see here.

Even graffiti is now protected, as it is part of the story as to how the ruins became the first archaeological reserve.  There is even a heart shaped piece of graffiti, which was nearly impossible to capture with the Sony during our visit due to the lighting, time of day and distance we were from it, no, they would not let me climb around in there to get a better angle, etc..  (Note:  I had to seriously tweak this photo to get the graffiti to show.)

And, lest you think that the ruins are dead, I can happily inform you, they are not.  There are squirrels scurrying about and some nesting owls and some wonderful flora planted around.   They will appear over at Reflection's Flora and Fauna in the next week or so.

*  I am also glad to report that the rattlers were still hibernating, YAHHHH!


Lori E said...

What history. I would imagine you can actually feel it.

Southwest Arkie said...

Neato Carol! - much like Mesa Verde...but no climbing!