The Hohokam: Ancient Civilization in the Arizona Desert with Marc Callis

The Hohokam: Ancient Civilization in the Arizona Desert with Marc Callis


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In the scorching deserts of Southern Arizona, where summer highs routinely exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, where the majestic saguaro, iconic to Old West cinema, stand like sentinels on the mountainsides, there once existed a culture known to archaeologists today as the Hohokam. Flourishing between AD450 and AD1450–a time often referred to in Southwestern archaeological circles as “The Hohokam Millenium”–this civilization supported up to 100,000 people in a single river valley. Indeed, when the first American period pioneers entered the Salt River basin in the decades following the Mexican War, the valley boasted so many remnants of this ancient culture, that the settlers named their largest city “Phoenix”, after the mythic bird who dies and is reborn from its own ashes, in honor of the people who had built their civilization in the valley before them.

In this conversation, we will explore the Hohokam culture. We will talk about their architecture, from some of the northernmost examples of Mesoamerican-derived ball courts to great platforms rivaling those that shared the courtyards with the pyramids in the great cities of Mexico and Central America, to four-story adobe great houses. We will talk about their arts and crafts, including much of the pottery, figurines, and other artworks for which the North American Southwest is renowned worldwide. We will talk about their canal irrigation – the most complex system of waterworks in the pre-Columbian New World anywhere north of Peru, surpassing even the aqueducts of great Maya cities like Palenque in their sophistication. And we will talk about what happened to this great society, a culture whose great cities were in ruins for nearly a century before Coronado and his expedition ever set foot in what is today Arizona.

Led by an expert on North American history and archaeology, Marc Callis, this interactive seminar will explore the ancient culture known as the Hohokam. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the art, architecture, culture, and engineering legacy of this extraordinary people.

Trained as a historian and archaeologist, Marc has worked at history museums and community colleges all over the US. His historical interests, which have led him to author numerous historical articles, academic and popular, for publications in the US and Europe, range from architectural history, to the Spanish Empire, to Mesoamerica and the pre-Hispanic North American Southwest. His current historical project is a book about the Presidio (i.e., old Spanish fort) San Agustin del Tucson in Tucson, Arizona. Additionally, Marc likes to shoot photographs, paint, build models, and write cosmicist fantasy in the tradition of HP Lovecraft. In 2017 he published his first collection of stories and novellas entitled "The Esoteric Order of Dagon."

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
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M
M.B.
I learned a lot!

Very informative discussion, particularly regarding the irrigation system developed by the Hohokam and continued to this day I have been a frequent visitor to Hohomam sites over the years, but was not aware that the irrigation system covered such a vast area.

G
G.E.
Very interesting

Mr. Callus did a wonderful presentation. The slides were beautiful. I want to see the Great Room at Casa Grande again now that I know about it

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
100%
(2)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
M
M.B.
I learned a lot!

Very informative discussion, particularly regarding the irrigation system developed by the Hohokam and continued to this day I have been a frequent visitor to Hohomam sites over the years, but was not aware that the irrigation system covered such a vast area.

G
G.E.
Very interesting

Mr. Callus did a wonderful presentation. The slides were beautiful. I want to see the Great Room at Casa Grande again now that I know about it