Peoples & Societies


The Hohokam people thrived in the desert regions of what is now south-central Arizona. They are renowned for practicing a complex system of irrigation—a vital contribution to survival in the exceptionally dry desert climate—as well as for the establishment of permanent settlements of pit houses and above-ground apartment-like structures, and for distinctive tools and art works, including ornaments and mosaics fashioned of shells imported from the Gulf of California, clay figurines, and pottery, which is gray ware or buff with decoration in iron red. Probably as a result of contact with Mesoamerican people, the Hohokam built ball courts and platform mounds around 800 CE. Their extensive trade networks included the exportation of shellwork, textiles, and pottery to their distant Mesoamerican neighbors to the south and also to ancient Puebloan people far north.

Adapted from

  • DMA Label Copy (Hohokam Culture), n.d.

  • Getty Vocabulary, AAT (Hohokam: AAT: 300016928)

Related Multimedia

Boshell Ancient Art of the Americas lecture series; speaker is Curator of Anthropology, Museum of Northern Arizona