For thousands of years, the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People, known to archaeologists as the Hohokam, have lived in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. They have been intimately connected to the landscape transforming it for their needs including the irrigation canals and agricultural fields still visible behind the museum. The village of Pueblo Grande was settled around AD 500, and was occupied for over 1000 years. After AD 1400, the population declined and the people relocated to smaller villages. The Akimel O’Odham, descendants of the people who lived at Pueblo Grande, still live and thrive in the Phoenix area.
The Museum and park is an extraordinary archaeological site where visitors can see a platform mound, a ballcourt, and centuries-old irrigation canals that are among the rare, remaining examples of these people’s exceptional architecture and engineering skills. The museum and site anchor's Phoenix to its prehistoric roots and is the only publicly accessible ancestral village site in the City.
Set among busy traffic corridors, adjacent to an international airport and surrounded by a diverse neighborhood, the museum is a quiet island of history, where over ten centuries of human solutions to the threats of heat and drought are preserved for the public. The City of Phoenix sprawls over—and conceals—this legacy.
Land Acknowledgement Statement:
The Parks and Recreation Department acknowledges the City of Phoenix is located within Native Land. Read the department's commitment to respecting Ancestral Indigenous Communities.