Archive for the ‘Hohokam’ Tag

Wild Burro Canyon In The Tortolita Mountains   1 comment

Wild Burro Canyon In The Tortolita Mountains (March 12, 2012) — Panorama Created By Merging Three Photos By kenne

These mountains were home to the Hohokam (550 to 1540 A.D.) as evidenced by the amazing petroglyphs carved into rocks throughout the range. We also know that Spanish explorers sought mineral riches for their crown in the 1540s, and there was a short-lived mining boom in the 1860s.

* * * * * 


I will see you at the rock,

the rock at the pass —

not till you are lost,

then you will find me

by the river 

sitting on the rock.

You starting point will be

the mystery of my loneliness.

— kenne

Sabino Canyon Hohokam Ruins   1 comment

Since 2011, I have been a volunteer naturalist at the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area
northeast of Tucson. The Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) have
partnered with the Santa Catalina Ranger District of Coronado National Forest to
offer educational programs for children and adults for more than 35 years.

Hohokam Site-4981-72Sabino Canyon North of the Hohokam Ruins

SCVN focuses on conservation, field trip programs for children k-6, nature walks,
guided hikes, and demonstrations designed to help the public learn about nature.
One of the most popular Elementary School field trip programs teaches children
about the Hohokam people who lived in the Tucson basin hundreds of
years ago. (“Back To The Past”)

Hohokum Site-72The Clay Remains Of A Hohokam Adobe Structure

The Hohokam organized villages constructing pithouses, sunken earthen, and
adobe structures with pounded floors and thatch roofs. To provide children at least
a basic understanding of the Hohokam, our naturalist training includes
presentations from anthropologists such as Drs. Paul and Suzanne Fish, who have
written on the “Hohokam Millennium.”

Hohokum Site-11-72Larry Conyers Hiking Down To The Sabino Canyon Hohokam Ruins

As a member of SCVN, I have been provided just enough information “to be
dangerous.” So, one day when I was having a conversation with my neighbor and
anthropologist Larry Conyers, he asked me if I knew of the Hohokam ruins south of
Sabino Canyon Recreation Area near the old Fenster Boarding School. Maybe I had
been told about ruins, but when asked, I had no recollection.

Hohokum Site-10-72The Fenster Boarding School In The Distance On The Right

Larry told me he was familiar with the ruins site, having had a Masters’s Degree
student (Daniel Shereff ), who had done a thesis  (Hohokam Population Dynamics:
Settlement Organization and Migration at the Sabino Canyon Ruin Site, Arizona
) about the site. 

Hohokum Site-9-72Larry Conyers Exploring The Ruins Site

We agreed on a day and time we would go to Sabino Canyon Recreation Area,
walk the Bear Canyon Trail before crossing the fenceline of the southern Canyon boundary.

Hohokum Site-4-72Pieces of Pottery Placed On Nearby Stones

Larry and I spent a little over two hours in the ruins site, so this posting is only
meant to be a “snapshot” of what we experienced. The body of the posting content
contains links to additional anthropological information on the Sabino Canyon Ruins.

Sabino Canyon Hohokam Ruin Video

Photos and Video by kenne

Related Site: Old Pueblo Archaeology Center




A Beautiful Morning In Sabino Canyon   Leave a comment

Bear Canyon Trail-72.jpgBear Canyon Trail In Sabino Canyon Recreational Area — Image by kenne

We spent this morning teaching 2nd-grade students how the Hohokam peoples of southern Arizona lived hundreds of years ago. The Hohokam left much evidence of their presence in Sabino Canyon, which was not only their home but also the source of food, clothing, and shelter materials. Over the years, the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) have developed activities, Back to the Past (BTTP), geared toward explaining the Hohokam and how they existed in the Sonoran Desert.

Today was such a beautiful fall day in Sabino Canyon, I had to share at least one image taken on our walk back to the Visitor Center.

— kenne

Could I but speak your tongue
      I would sing of pastel colored cliffs
      Where, under sapphire skies,
      The raincloud gently drifts.
      Of wondrous sunlit valleys wide,
      Timeless home of your clan — your tribe.
Could I but speak your tongue
      I would sing a prayer that in future days
      You would ever honor your ancient ways,
      And that the Gods of health and peace
      In their boundless blessings, never cease,
      To be generous to these children here below,
      These children of the Desert.

— C. J. Colby, “Song to the Indian,” Arizona Highways, August 1973



Red-tail Hawk Silhouette   2 comments

Red-tail Hawk-Edit-3-1-72.jpgRed-tail Hawk Silhouette — iPhone 6 Image by kenne

Yesterday I was walking into Sabino Canyon to teach 1st-grade students how the Hohokam lived in the canyon and the Tucson basin hundreds of years ago when a friend spotted a red-tail hawk atop a tall saguaro cactus. Sadly, I didn’t have my Nikon camera with me, so I made use of my iPhone to capture an image. Not what I would like to capture, but it’s better than not getting an image at all.

— kenne

Corner of N Main And Washington Street, Tucson, Arizona   Leave a comment

Main Avenue (1 of 1) blog framedCorner of N Main And Washington Street, Tucson, Arizona — Image by kenne

El Presidio

The Hohokam were there first

Always a landmark.

— kenne

La Milagrosa Ridge Trail Pictographs   3 comments

Hohokam Art (Pictographs) blogFaded Pictographs — Image by kenne

Weather has taken its toll on the these pictographs near a the La Milagrosa Ridge trail in the southeastern foothills of the Santa Catalina mountains. This rock art was most likely created by the Hohokam, those who have before the current Pima people of the Sonoran Desert.



Mayan pictographs 
count down the centuries,
count down the solar years,
count down the lunar months,
the risings of Venus,
the days until the end.     

And then…
the calender resets

 — Claire Rosilda

Hiking Pima Canyon, October, 2012   14 comments

Hiking Pima Canyon, October, 2012 — Images by kenne

The SCVN hiking group hiked Pima Canyon last week. This is a beautiful canyon in the Santa Catalina Mountains and provides for a moderate hike up to several dams. This time of year the conditions are very dry, even more so this year.

The trail head is in the western Catalina Foothills near Pusch Ridge. The canyon is a desert riparian habitat, which also makes it good for birdwatching.

There are several Hohokam  grinding (mortar) holes located near the stream that probably flowed more freely hundreds of years ago when the Hohokam Indians were common to the Sonoran Desert. The Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists share information and show children grinding holes in their program, “Back To The Past.” The gallery of photos below contain some images of grinding holes — click on any of the thumbnails for a larger view of the Pima Canyon images.


The First Masters Of The Sonoran Desert — Hohoham   Leave a comment

One of the programs the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) offer elementary school children is title, “Back To The Past.” The program centers on the early people of southern Arizona — the Hohoham.  There are several archeological sites in the Hohokam in the Tucson area, some which we have visited. However, the best know site is the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, which preserves remains of the Hohokam-era farming community. Since becoming an SCVN member, I have been very interested in visiting the preserved remains of  a Hohokam village at Casa Grande. Joy and I were finally able to visit the Casa Grande Ruins last Friday.


Images by kenne

Ghost Of Desert Past   1 comment

Ghost of Desert Past — Image by kenne

Ghost of Desert Past

Standing high
on canyon’s edge,
the ghost of desert past
stands watch.

Resisting harsh winds,
while chiming to the beat,
of erratic gusts that
threaten passersby
hiking Phoneline Trail.

For hundreds of years
this canyon sentinel
maintains its charge.

Like old soldiers,
not to die,
only fading into time past,
already meeting with the
“vanished ones.”


Capturing The Moment — Desert Cotton In Sabino Canyon   12 comments

Gossypium thurberi (Desert Cotton) — Image by kenne

Naturalist, Bill Kaufman, lead the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) 2011 Training Class on its first Nature Walk yesterday. One of the many plants he talked about was the Desert Cotton, which is really in the cotton family, but produces very little fluff. The beautiful white blooms turn pink by mid-afternoon, some of which can be seen in the photo below.

The Hohokam Indians, who have lived in the Sonoran Desert for thousands of years were very advanced desert farmers, having domesticated cotton early on making it unlikely they made use of the wild Desert Cotton plants for producing cotton fabric.


Nature Walk leader, Bill Kaufman talks about the Desert Cotton as Debbie and Jerry Bird take notes. — Image by kenne

Capturing the Moment — Tucson Basin   3 comments

Tucson Basin — Image by kenne

The Tucson groundwater recharge basin is located west of Tucson, which uses the natural basin located between two north-south mountain ranges on the Hohokam Indian Reservation. Most of the water used in the Tucson area comes from the ground and is now recharged by water from the Colorado River.

West of Tucson, in the Central Avra Valley’s natural basin, 11 recharge basins have been dug into the sandy ground. On any given day, at least some of them will be sparkling with deep blue water. Tucson sits atop an enormous reserve of groundwater, so the water in these basins flows down to “recharge” the underground aquifer. However, area water needs consume more than the annual rainfall provides to recharge the basin. The city turned to the Colorado River several hundred miles away in its search for more water. For $4 billion, Tucson helped build the Central Arizona Canal in 1973, connecting the river to Phoenix, Tucson, and other cities.

The Colorado River water flows into the basins and trickles down through the porous subsurface, mixing with the native groundwater before pumps delivered the hybrid water into homes. This way, the corrosive river water is filtered and diluted with the existing groundwater, making it palatable with Tucson residents’ standards. 

The Hohokam people settled here in the Central Avra Valley of the Sonoran Desert because of the many rivers crossing through the basin. In the mid-1850s, the entire valley was a forest of mesquite trees, with cottonwoods, willows, and walnuts along the major streams. Much of the area was marshy, and malaria was a major problem for the original Fort Lowell along the Santa Cruz River. Today these rivers run dry but continue to flow underground. Without other water sources to help recharge the natural basin, the water level declines in riparian areas will change the ecology and cut the quality of the habitat provided by phreatophytic vegetation. Much work and conservation are needed to ensure the people and vegetation of the Sonoran Desert have the necessary water to maintain the water level. Otherwise, declines in riparian areas can change nature and cut the quality of the habitat provided by phreatophytic vegetation. With the continued loss of riparian habitat in the Tucson Basin, preservation of riparian habitat becomes increasingly critical. Water is an enormous benefactor to life in the Tucson Water Basin and the rest of the world. As inhabitants of this great desert, we must realize the importance of living in true harmony with the desert.

When you arise in the morning,
give thanks for the morning light,
give thanks for your nourishment 
and the joy of living

If you see no reason for giving thanks,
the fault lies in yourself.

— kenne

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