Saturday

Hohokam Indians in my backyard and R. Carlos Nakai

It's not everyday that you can find evidence of a civilization, the Hohokams (or "those that have gone") that began in 300 AD and disappeared in the mid 1400s in your backyard. When we first moved here I would walk around our backyard and see these clay looking things and just thought they were clay pigeons. After hearing someone discuss the fact that they discovered Indian pottery close by --a light bulb went off. As soon as I got home I went out in my backyard and picked up some of those "clay pigeons." As I examined those pieces more carefully I got excited. Some pieces had non-descript markings and were red and black, but others clearly had patterns under all of that desert dirt. When I washed them off I found such beauty and I was overwhelmed by the fact that I was holding something that I knew was extremely old. When I did some computer research I realized, just how ancient. I have many more and there are probably 100s still in my backyard! (all pictures of pottery pieces are of the ones found in my backyard)
Last weekend we visited the Casa Grande Ruins in Coolidge, AZ. Which as the crow flys is probably no more then 10 miles away. I didn't have my camera with me since it was a spur-of-the-moment adventure. It's $5 per person to get in and well worth it. I was immediately drawn to the pottery. Finding in-tact examples that helped me identify my pottery shards. We stayed and took the tour of the grounds and the "Grand House." It was fascinating listening to the history and some of the theories why this Indian population disappeared.

These larger red and black pieces, 400 AD, were at one time part of a very large container, at least 2 feet tall and 60 inches around with a very small neck and opening, and were called Ollas and could hold up to 25 gallons of water.










This is a piece of red on gray produced around 600 AD.



These smaller pieces, red on buff, are specific to the Hohokams. They were the first to create buff pottery, 750 AD.


This building was built by the Hohokams and is 4 stories high and 60 feet long, built in about 1350 AD. It was called, "Casa Grande," or "Big House." It is one of the largest prehistoric structures ever built in North America and in 1892 President Benjamin Harrison made it the first prehistoric and cultural reserve established in the United States. (picture taken from the Case Grande brochure)






If you just happen to live in the area or are visiting the weekend of February 13 - 15, 2009 , there is an American Indian Music Festival that will feature many wonderful musicians, including R. Carlos Nakai. If you haven't heard his music and the others, you are missing out on some of the most beautiful, haunting sounds.

12 reviews:

Glorious Hats said...

Oh Rose, thank you so much for sharing this story and the wonderful shards. One of my friends introduced me to the music of R. Carlos Nakai years ago, we would listen to it in the car on the few times we got to take trips together to conferences.

It is great to remember those days.

Am sitting here, thinking of you holding an ancient shard in your hand, and imagining the warmth and sense of power and connection through the clay.

Sue Choppers-Wife / http://www.1000markets.com/shops/ninedragons said...

I was really looking forward to seeing these...you've got a nice collection there :) And I love R. Carlos Nakai...wish I could be there.
Thanks for sharing your history with us :)

storybeader said...

have you taken these pieces to a local museum? Don't know if they would be interested, since it's so prevalent in your area, but they might be significant. At least, pin-pointing a dwelling....

alamodestuff said...

What an amazing pieces of history to have in your own backyard! Those are amazing. You should definitely share those with the museum.

Cindy said...

How cool is that!! You could be sitting on a fortune there. I wanted you to know that I gave you an award. Come see my blog about it. :)

Waterrose said...

Believe it or not this area if just full of these relics...I just didn't know it until recently. Not long ago in a very large subdivison some homes were being built and as thy dug the basements they came across a burial site. Building stopped, archeologists came in and studied and then they were moved. Let's just say that would be a reason for me to cancel a contract...I'm hoping that we don't have a discovery like that here.

Bejeweled said...

How amazingly cool is that?!!? What a wonderful treat to be able to be an archeologist in your backyard. And that is just what's visible on the surface ... what lies beneath??

Congrats on your Etsy win for your cuff! That is such a gorgeous one with the queen's anne lace!

Wai Mun said...

Good to keep eyes open when you next dig your garden. You may be surprised with what you might find there.

Mun

Hot Rocks said...

How interesting! You are very lucky to be surrounded by all that history.

DreamWoven said...

wonderful post... and how exciting! i love things like this.. to touch something so old.. another life, another lifetime...

betsy said...

This is absolutely *fascinating!* I live in an area of Upstate NY that is full of Native American history, and you've made me begin to wonder what can be found! I totally understand the frustration of getting caught without your camera on a spontaneous excursion like that. Happens to me more than I'd like to admit!

Anonymous said...

I have a great collection of Hohokam "sherds". These sherds contain some of the most awesome drawings I have seen anywhere. These were collected on "Private Property" along the Santa Cruz River in Pima, County, AZ.

www.arizonamineralworks.com

Entire collection has not been photographed. Examples on my website.

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