Casa Grande Ruins

Coolidge, United States

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

Renae Eckhardt (13 months ago)
Nice gift shop as you 1st go in, great little museum with lots of artifacts and info which my 5 kiddos loved. We were blessed to get in on a tour outside given by a very knowledgeable young lady. I sure wish I remembered her name, she did such a great job. Full of information, answered questions thoroughly and showed pics. We all enjoyed it very much. The ruins we're absolutely amazing, it was fun being able to walk around, look and read about them. We even saw the 2 great horn owls that the park made a box for in the over hang shading\protecting the Casa Grande ruins. If your ever in the area you need to check this place out, it's awesome and free!
Dennis Webb (2 years ago)
Well preserved slice of history. Interesting displays and I like that the tour was self-guided so I could go at my own pace. Cost is free but there is an opportunity to donate if you like. Gift shop has some great things to buy.
P Toporek (2 years ago)
Nice way to spend a couple of hours. Have lived here my whole life and never stopped by. Glad to finally be able to explore the buildings and history of the natives in this area. Nice museum and movie, so be sure and allow time to see both. There's only a few of the ruins to see, but they are nicely preserved and give a great view of how they were built and how the people lived. The drive in from I-10 is just beautiful right now if you like the desert landscape. Be sure and get junior ranger book and badge if you have kiddo. Staff was really friendly and helpful, too. Nice visit!
Jay Brigham (2 years ago)
What am incredible experience. And the volunteer couple taking care on the ruins and visitors were so very helpful. Not to mention had amazing information about the ruins, it's history and the owl family living there. Outstanding!!!
Millie Kwan (2 years ago)
Cara Grande Ruins is a very interesting site. The reason for the structure is not totally clear but the size is quite grand for a structure that old. Even without a guided tour, the signs have a good idea of the history and the people and their practices from the time of the structures in the complex. The store on site was nice without a lot of touristy items and since this is a fairly lightly visited site, it was not busy.
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