Home Region:  Western North America (North America)

Hohokam Culture

EQ 2020  us_hohokam_culture


The term ‘Hohokam’ was applied to the culture group by archaeologists, and is borrowed from the Uto-Aztecan language, O’odham. However it does not refer to a tribe or peoples, but rather a site where there are “earthen buildings, red on buff pottery, and extensive canals”. [1] Instead the peoples that created and lived in the Hohokam culture are now referred to as ancestral Sonoran Desert people. There is evidence of the Sonoran Desert people being active in the Hohokam sites from around 5,500 BCE, however the Hohokam culture period runs from c. 300-1500 CE. [2]
Hohokam sites and the people who lived there were based in the “Phoenix Basin along the Gila and Salt Rivers, in southern Arizona along the Santa Cruz and San Pedro Rivers, and north on the Lower Verde River and along the New and Agua Fria Rivers.” [3] Their settlements can be traced to around 300 CE, and their society flourished for around one thousand years until around 1375 when sites became abandoned, and their sophisticated canal and irrigation systems fell into disrepair. The Sonoran Desert people gradually left their ancestral areas and by 1450, when the Spanish arrived, there were only a few small communities of their descendants remaining in the area. [4]
Though it is not known exactly what caused the dispersion of these people, speculations have included that there may have been drought, famine, other natural disasters, or internal warfare. [2] There is also evidence that their extensive canals and irrigation systems suffered widespread erosion from as early as 1020-1160 CE. [5]
The period of the Hohokam culture are usually divided up as follows: [6]
Pioneer Period: 150 – 725 CE
Colonial Period (Gila Butte phase): 725 – 825 CE
Colonial Period (Santa Cruz phase): 825 – 1000 CE
Sedentary Period (Sacaton phase): 1000-1100 CE
Classic Period (Soho phase): 1111 - 1300 CE
Classic Period (Civano phase): 1300 - 1450 CE

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P

[2]: “The Ancestral Sonoran Desert People - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HZ95455H

[3]: “Hohokam Culture (U.S. National Park Service)”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/34YMDDCN

[4]: Barnhart 2018: 144. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/VPVHH2HJ

[5]: Snow et al. 2020: 198. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/5T4C9IQT

[6]: McGuire 2018: 5-6. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/C9FB2IXT

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
12 S  
Original Name:
Hohokam Culture  
Alternative Name:
Hobokam  
Huhugam  
Huhukam  
Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
[1,100 CE ➜ 1,400 CE]  
Duration:
[300 CE ➜ 1,500 CE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Language
Religion
Religious Tradition:
unknown  
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
-  
Polity Territory:
91,402 km2  
Polity Population:
80,000 people  
Largest Communication Distance:
-  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
2  
Religious Level:
1  
Military Level:
2  
Administrative Level:
3  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
unknown  
Professional Priesthood:
unknown  
Professional Military Officer:
unknown  
Source Of Support:
unknown  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
unknown  
Merit Promotion:
unknown  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
unknown  
Examination System:
unknown  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
unknown  
Judge:
unknown  
Formal Legal Code:
unknown  
Court:
unknown  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
present  
Irrigation System:
present  
Food Storage Site:
present  
Drinking Water Supply System:
inferred present  
Communal Building:
present  
Symbolic Building:
inferred Transitional (Absent -> Present)  
Knowledge Or Information Building:
unknown  
Entertainment Building:
present  
Special Purpose House:
present  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
unknown  
Port:
inferred present  
Canal:
present  
Bridge:
unknown  
Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
unknown  
Trading Emporia:
inferred present  
Enclosure:
present  
Ceremonial Site:
inferred Transitional (Absent -> Present)  
Burial Site:
present  
Other Special Purpose Site:
unknown  
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
absent  
Script:
absent  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent  
Nonwritten Record:
absent  
Non Phonetic Writing:
absent  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
absent  
Sacred Text:
absent  
Religious Literature:
absent  
Practical Literature:
absent  
Philosophy:
absent  
Lists Tables and Classification:
absent  
History:
absent  
Fiction:
absent  
Calendar:
absent  
Information / Money
Token:
unknown  
Precious Metal:
present  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent  
Foreign Coin:
absent  
Article:
unknown  
Store Of Wealth:
present  
Debt And Credit Structure:
unknown  
Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
unknown  
General Postal Service:
unknown  
Courier:
unknown  
Fastest Individual Communication:
-  
Information / Measurement System
Weight Measurement System:
unknown  
Volume Measurement System:
unknown  
Time Measurement System:
unknown  
Other Measurement System:
unknown  
Length Measurement System:
unknown  
Geometrical Measurement System:
unknown  
Area Measurement System:
unknown  
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
Military use of Metals
Projectiles
Handheld weapons
Animals used in warfare
Armor
Naval technology
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Hohokam Culture (us_hohokam_culture) was in:
Home NGA: None

General Variables
Identity and Location

Original Name:
Hohokam Culture

Alternative Name:
Hobokam

The term ‘Hohokam’ was applied to the culture group by archaeologists, and is borrowed from the Uto-Aztecan language, O’odham. However it does not refer to a tribe or peoples, but rather a site where there are “earthen buildings, red on buff pottery, and extensive canals”. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P

Alternative Name:
Huhugam

The term ‘Hohokam’ was applied to the culture group by archaeologists, and is borrowed from the Uto-Aztecan language, O’odham. However it does not refer to a tribe or peoples, but rather a site where there are “earthen buildings, red on buff pottery, and extensive canals”. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P

Alternative Name:
Huhukam

The term ‘Hohokam’ was applied to the culture group by archaeologists, and is borrowed from the Uto-Aztecan language, O’odham. However it does not refer to a tribe or peoples, but rather a site where there are “earthen buildings, red on buff pottery, and extensive canals”. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
[1,100 CE ➜ 1,400 CE]

The cultural peak date of Hohokam culture is considered to be around 1100-1400 CE. [1]

[1]: “Hohokam Culture (U.S. National Park Service)”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/34YMDDCN


Duration:
[300 CE ➜ 1,500 CE]

Political and Cultural Relations
Language
Religion


Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
-

During the peak ‘classic’ period of the Hohokam culture (c. 1100-1400) some of the larger villages had tens of thousands of inhabitants. [1]

[1]: “Hohokam Culture (U.S. National Park Service)”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/34YMDDCN/library


Polity Territory:
91,402 km2

in squared kilometersThe Hohokam culture was based in the “Phoenix Basin along the Gila and Salt Rivers, in southern Arizona along the Santa Cruz and San Pedro Rivers, and north on the Lower Verde River and along the New and Agua Fria Rivers.” [1] The coded territory size is a very lose approximation using google maps calculator and the estimated territory area illustrated in the sources used. [2]

[1]: “Hohokam Culture (U.S. National Park Service)”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/34YMDDCN

[2]: https://www.google.com/maps/@33.4248335,-111.1995649,8.39z


Polity Population:
80,000 people

People.An estimate of a population of around 80,000 people at its peak has been suggested. [1]

[1]: Barnhart 2018: 141. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/VPVHH2HJ


Largest Communication Distance:
-

in kilometers.


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
2

levels.: 1. Large Villages :: 2. Small Villages Villages along the canals of the Salt and Gil rivers could cover hundreds of acres with several hundred inhabitants. [1] [2]

[1]: “Hohokam Culture (U.S. National Park Service)”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/34YMDDCN

[2]: McGuire 2018: 5-6. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/C9FB2IXT


Religious Level:
1

levels.It has been postulated – based on differences in burials such as tombs and pit graves - that there was a chief-priesthood, or shamans, who were part of the elite in Hohokam society and were spiritual leaders in each settlement. [1]

[1]: McGuire 2018: 20-21, 47-48. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/C9FB2IXT


Military Level:
2

levels.It is not known exactly how many military levels there may have been but the consensus if there would have been a war leader and then at least the warriors. [1] : 1. War leader :: 2. Warrior

[1]: McGuire 2018: 46-47 https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/C9FB2IXT


Administrative Level:
3

levels.The remains of their villages show that Hohokam society had a hierarchical structure. [1] It is not known exactly how this was organised or how society was governed based on evidence from the Hohokam sites, but when considering nearby peoples and their political organisation, it is generally considered that the levels would have been as follows: [2] : 1. Tribal leader (overall leader but without direct authority over each settlement) :: 2. Village leader (someone who had gathered followers and respect and was generally the head of the village) :: 2. War leader (individual who organised and commanded anything relating to war) ::: 3. Village council (made up of a group of respected people)

[1]: “Hohokam Culture (U.S. National Park Service)”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/34YMDDCN/library

[2]: McGuire 2018: 46-47 https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/C9FB2IXT


Bureaucracy Characteristics




Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
present

There were markets in the region, and some were particularly significant such as the one established at Snaketown.


Irrigation System:
present

The Hohokam built extensive canal works and irrigation systems along the Salt and Gila rivers. [1]

[1]: “Hohokam Culture (U.S. National Park Service)”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/34YMDDCN


Food Storage Site:
present

Food storage was held at village leaders larger homes. [1]

[1]: McGuire 2018: 47. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/C9FB2IXT


Drinking Water Supply System:
present

Though not explicitly mentioned in the sources consulted, it is very likely that the Sonoran Desert people had drinking water systems given their sophisticated canal and irrigation technology.


Communal Building:
present

present ♥ Kivas – a built space used for ceremonies, rites, political meetings, or spiritual gatherings – began to be present by the mid-1100s, when the connection to peoples in the area now known as Mexico weakened and they were trading and influenced more by their Pueblo neighbours. Ball courts were constructed which would have been used for games and ceremonies, and possibly public dance and performance spaces. [1]

[1]: Barnhart 2018: 140, 144. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/VPVHH2HJ


Symbolic Building:
Transitional (Absent -> Present)

Kivas – a built space used for ceremonies, rites, political meetings, or spiritual gatherings – began to be present by the mid-1100s, when the connection to peoples in the area now known as Mexico weakened and they were trading and influenced more by their Pueblo neighbours. [1]

[1]: Barnhart 2018: 144. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/VPVHH2HJ


Knowledge Or Information Building:
unknown

Entertainment Building:
present

In larger settlements, ball courts were constructed which would have been used for games and ceremonies, and possibly public dance and performance spaces. [1] More than 200 ball courts have been found in southern and central Arizona. [2]

[1]: Barnhart 2018: 140. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/VPVHH2HJ

[2]: “The Ancestral Sonoran Desert People - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HZ95455H


Special Purpose House:
present

A village leader’s house was larger than others, owing to the fact that they were also used for food storage and potentially to house other members of the community when needed. [1]

[1]: McGuire 2018: 47. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/C9FB2IXT


Transport Infrastructure

Port:
present

As the canals were navigable it may be that there were specific sites that were set up as ports. [1] [2]

[1]: “Hohokam Culture (U.S. National Park Service)”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/34YMDDCN/library

[2]: Barnhart 2018: 137, 142. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/VPVHH2HJ


Canal:
present

The Sonoran Desert people built extensive canal works and irrigation systems along the Salt and Gila rivers. [1] The Hohokam built a total of over 700 miles of irrigation canals, most of which were 8-12 miles long and around 50 feet wide and 12 feet deep. [2]

[1]: “Hohokam Culture (U.S. National Park Service)”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/34YMDDCN/library

[2]: Barnhart 2018: 137, 142. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/VPVHH2HJ



Special-purpose Sites

Trading Emporia:
present

The Sonoran Desert people traded with their neighbours and over time their region became a cross road in the trade system. On route ran from northern Mexico, to the Tucson area and to the Gila River Valley. Therefore it could be inferred that emporium were established during trading seasons. [1]

[1]: “The Ancestral Sonoran Desert People - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HZ95455H


Enclosure:
present

By the 1100’s village organisation had changed to include homes grouped together within a walled structure or compound. Those enclosures were then arranged around public buildings and courtyards. [1]

[1]: “The Ancestral Sonoran Desert People - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HZ95455H


Ceremonial Site:
Transitional (Absent -> Present)

Kivas – a built space used for ceremonies, rites, political meetings, or spiritual gatherings – began to be present by the mid-1100s, when the connection to peoples in the area now known as Mexico weakened and they were trading and influenced more by their Pueblo neighbours. [1]

[1]: Barnhart 2018: 144. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/VPVHH2HJ


Burial Site:
present

Cemeteries are found in all settlements. Some of the larger settlements such as La Ciudad, Grewe or Snaketown have several cemetery sites. There are some discrepancies between burial sites, such as tombs and pit burials, which indicate that Hohokam was a hierarchical society. [1]

[1]: McGuire 2018: 9-11, 20-22. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/C9FB2IXT



Information / Writing System
Written Record:
absent

There were no written records left by the Sonoran Desert People. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


Script:
absent

There were no written records left by the Sonoran Desert People. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent

There were no written records left by the Sonoran Desert People. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


Nonwritten Record:
absent

There were no written records left by the Sonoran Desert People. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


Non Phonetic Writing:
absent

There were no written records left by the Sonoran Desert People. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
absent

There were no written records left by the Sonoran Desert People. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


Sacred Text:
absent

There were no written records left by the Sonoran Desert People. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


Religious Literature:
absent

There were no written records left by the Sonoran Desert People. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


Practical Literature:
absent

There were no written records left by the Sonoran Desert People. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


Philosophy:
absent

There were no written records left by the Sonoran Desert People. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


Lists Tables and Classification:
absent

There were no written records left by the Sonoran Desert People. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


History:
absent

There were no written records left by the Sonoran Desert People. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


Fiction:
absent

There were no written records left by the Sonoran Desert People. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


Calendar:
absent

There were no written records left by the Sonoran Desert People. [1]

[1]: ”History & Culture - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HJU2S97P


Information / Money
Token:
unknown

Tokens are not mentioned in the sources consulted.


Precious Metal:
present

Copper and copper bells are commonly found throughout the region. [1]

[1]: McGuire 2018: 25. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/C9FB2IXT


Paper Currency:
absent

There was no currency but trade was based on an exchange system with their neighbours and other peoples who lived on the coast of North America. [1]

[1]: “The Ancestral Sonoran Desert People - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HZ95455H


Indigenous Coin:
absent

There was no currency but trade was based on an exchange system with their neighbours and other peoples who lived on the coast of North America. [1]

[1]: “The Ancestral Sonoran Desert People - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HZ95455H


Foreign Coin:
absent

There was no currency but trade was based on an exchange system with their neighbours and other peoples who lived on the coast of North America. [1]

[1]: “The Ancestral Sonoran Desert People - Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (U.S. National Park Service),”. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/HZ95455H


Article:
unknown

Articles are not mentioned in the sources consulted.


Store Of Wealth:
present

Several hoards have been found across the region, such as a cache at the Citrus site which contained 235 projectile points and 70 carved shells, or the 11 copper bells found at the Gatlin site. [1]

[1]: McGuire 2018: 25, 27. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/C9FB2IXT



Information / Postal System




Information / Measurement System








Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
Military use of Metals
Projectiles
Handheld weapons
Animals used in warfare
Armor
Naval technology

Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.