Pieces of the Puzzle at the Arizona State Museum

Banner image by Michael Hampshire

Pieces of the Puzzle

Now on Display through September 16, 2017 at the Arizona State Museum

Arizona State Museum
1013 E University Blvd
Tucson, AZ 85721

What happened to the Hohokam? Archaeologists have searched for an answer to this question since the late 1800s. Travel back in time to visit this ancient culture that flourished in central and southern Arizona for 1000 years, from approximately A.D. 450 to 1450. Known for complex irrigation systems, impressive ball courts, extraordinary pottery, and remarkable jewelry, the Hohokam numbered around 40,000 during their zenith, around A.D. 1300, but fewer than 10,000 were present only 200 years later. The artifacts and architecture they left behind are some of the pieces of the puzzle archaeologists must put together to understand this population decline. Technological and methodological advances are providing researchers with new tools for investigating the environmental and social stresses that led to depopulation. A fresh perspective on 14th and 15th century life in the southern Southwest is emerging.

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