Who were the ancestral Sonoran Desert people? Archeological evidence suggests they may have descended from an earlier hunting and gathering “Archaic” culture that began in this area around 5,500 B.C.E. Over time, as the area grew hotter and drier, wild plants and animals became less abundant.   

This is an artist's depiction of the Casa Grande ('Great House') and its surrounding compound as it may have appeared around 1350 C.E. One of the largest prehistoric structures ever built in North America, its purpose remains a mystery.

Archeologists have discovered evidence that the ancestral 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. Archeologists call a site where there are earthen buildings, red on buff pottery, and extensive canals 'Hohokam' but this is not the name of a tribe or a people. Years of misunderstanding have confused the ancestors of the O'Odham, Hopi, and Zuni people with the name Hohokam, which is not a word in any of their languages nor the name of a separate people.



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Founded: 1300's
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in United States


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

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User Reviews

Mary Thompson (12 months ago)
Great if you are interested in the native people of the area. Been here many times and still love it. It would be better if Covid19 hadn't shown up!
Natascha Dennee (12 months ago)
Wow! What a beautiful monument. Definitely worth the trip. The informative signs and audio were very interesting and the ruin was beautiful! I don't have words for seeing it up close and personal.
Justin Brown (14 months ago)
Worth the short drive down from Phoenix area. Arrived early in the day to little traffic.
Jennifer Faux - Campbell (14 months ago)
Great place to visit during the pandemic. We were the only people present the day we went. Plus, they have a one-way pass on the trails to protect visitors. The information building was closed, but they still have information about the site posted on the trails. My 2 year old enjoyed wandering the trials. We had a great time.
Jose Maqueda (14 months ago)
I visited the ruins twice in 2019. During those two times I didn't experience anything negative. There was ample parking. Although, the only shaded spots were near trees. The national monument doesn't charge entrance fees, which is fantastic. In the main building there's a nice exhibit that details the history and facts about the surrounding area. The ruins are located outside. There's a nice paved path to walk on. This national monument is highly recommend, especially because it's free.
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Château de Falaise

Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.

The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.

In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.

A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.