A Spatial Analysis of the Hohokam Community of La Ciudad


Of the many valleys in the southern desert of Arizona, the prehistoric Hohokam concentrated the largest and greatest of their communities in the Phoenix basin. It was here that they constructed the most elaborate and extensive of their canal networks. Their success drew on two unique characteristics of the basin environment. The first was the Salt River; the most competent and consistent source of water in the southern desert, it surpasses five-fold the volume and capacity of the Gila River to the south. The second was the gradient of the basin, which is unusually gentle over large areas and is interrupted at only a few locations by short mountain ranges. These features made the Phoenix basin well suited for the irrigation technology of the Hohokam.

One of the prehistoric communities of the basin is the site archaeologists call La Ciudad. It is situated on the north side of the Salt River, midway along a canal system which originates at Pueblo Grande and extends a distance of seven miles to Las Colinas (Figure 1.1). In 1982 the construction of part of the Interstate Highway system provided us an opportunity to examine a portion of La Ciudad which had lain for fifty years beneath the houses, lawns, streets and alleys of modern Phoenix. The research by Arizona State University was conducted under a contract with the Arizona Department of Transportation with funds provided by the Federal Highway Administration.

Cite this Record

A Spatial Analysis of the Hohokam Community of La Ciudad. Glen E. Rice. Tempe, Arizona: Office of Cultural Resource Management, Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University. 1987 ( tDAR id: 4385) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8NK3CG0

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 200 to 1450

Spatial Coverage

min long: -112.054; min lat: 33.443 ; max long: -112.03; max lat: 33.466 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): T. Kathleen Henderson

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