Cultural History

Southern Arizona was home to the Hohokam. Sites were mainly concentrated along river drainages. By 650 AD, there were irrigation canals, pit houses, ballcourts, plus red-on-buff or red-on-brown ceramics. After 650 AD, there was a gradual expansion in settlement with life becoming more sedentary and agriculture becoming more common.  

At the end of this sedentary period, there was a substantial reorganization of settlements in the Hohokam area.  Many small sites were being abandoned, with a number of large sites being developed. These larger sites were characterized by the presence of above ground pueblos rather than pit houses and platform mounds instead of ballcourts.

Archaeological evidence from the Picacho Mountain slopes suggests that the main occupation of the area by the Hohokam was roughly from 750 AD through 1450 AD. Since there are no major river drainages near Picacho Peak, the Hohokam who settled there were more highly dependent on wild food resources than agriculture. Sites in Picacho Peak State Park consist mainly of temporary habitation sites, rock cairns, rock rings, rock alignments, rock piles, and lithic scatters.

At the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries, the sedentary communities of southern Arizona began facing problems with raiding parties from Apache and Yavapai groups. Apache raids continued on into the middle 1800s. This may have led to the decline of the Hohokam culture.