Traveling from Phoenix to Tucson, Arizona, I took a detour off I-10 and went to visit Casa Grande.
Built by the Hohokam, it is the largest prehistoric building in North America. The large and vibrant community surrounding it in 1350 AD vanished without a trace. We don’t know what became of the people or the purpose of Casa Grande.
Because the windows and doorways align with the sun and moon at significant times of the year, and at extreme points in their cycle, the building may have served as an calendar and observatory.
Why and for what use the Hohokam developed this elaborate system is still a mystery. Since the ruins of a ball court are nearby, the amateur archaeologist in me believes a relationship can be found with Aztec or Mayan temple complexes hundreds of miles to the south in Mexico and Central America.