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Preserving archaeology and culture for our future

Classroom Outreach “Lifestyle of the Hohokam”

lifestyles“Lifestyle of the Hohokam” is about the archaeological culture that inhabited most of southern Arizona for the 1,000-year period between A.D. 450 and 1450. The Hohokam mastered their Sonoran Desert environment by utilizing its varied plant, animal, and mineral resources and by establishing hundreds of miles of irrigation canals to grow their own food. They constructed the “Casa Grande” shown in this photograph, and produced magnificent arts and crafts.

Old Pueblo Archaeology Center’s OPENOUT (Old Pueblo Education Neighborhood Outreach) program offers 45 to 60 minute presentations by a professional archaeologist. “Lifestyle of the Hohokam” is designed to give children an idea of how the ancient Ho­ho­­kam lived and how some aspects of every­day life have changed and others have stayed the same. This outreach presentation includes real and replica ar­ti­facts, plus abun­dant illus­trations to help children experience how pre­historic Native Americans of southern Arizona lived and to appreciate the arts they created. The hands-on materials and fun lesson plans in our “OPEN-OUT” programs bring archaeology and the past alive for your students.


  1. Introduction: The archaeologist will discuss with the class what archaeologists are and what they do
    1. Archaeologists are scientists
    2. They study people and their lives
    3. They make the results of their work available to others
    4. Do archaeologists keep the artifacts that they find?
    5. Is everyone who digs an archae­ologist?
    6. What types of artifacts do archaeologists study?
  2. Illustrations
    1. What does “Hohokam” mean?
    2. When did the Hohokam live here?
    3. Where did they live?
    4. What did they live in?
      1. Pithouses
      2. Compounds
    5. What did the Hohokam eat?
      1. Types of plants available for gathering
      2. Types of plants grown for cultivation
      3. Types of animals available
    6. Artifacts
      1. Flaked stone technology
      2. Ground stone technology
      3. Pottery
      4. Seashell jewelry and ornaments
    7. Agriculture
      1. Irrigation canals
      2. Rainwater farming (“dry farming”)
    8. Trade and exchange
      1. Shell
      2. Obsidian and turquoise
      3. Pottery
      4. Ball games
    9. Rock art
      1. What is rock art?
      2. How is it made?
    10. Preservation
      1. Why is it important to look but leave in place? (Context)
  3. Artifacts and replicas
    1. Artifacts’ role in interpreting the past
    2. Brief description of the artifact collection
      1. What did the Hohokam live in? Show the students the model of the pithouse
      2. What did the Hohokam hunt with? Brief­ly describe flaked stone tool making
      3. What did the Hohokam cook in and store food in? Show students how the Hohokam ground clay and paint pigments and made clay pots
      4. How did the Hohokam make flour? Show students how corn was ground
      5. What did the Hohokam trade? Briefly describe how shell jewelry was made
    3. What is rock art? Explain the difference between pictographs and petroglyphs
  4. Time permitting, students are given the opportunity to handle artifacts and make connections between the illustrations and the other items brought in by the archaeologist



  • Strand 1: American History
    • Concept 1: Research Skills for History
      • PO 4. Describe how archaeological re­search adds to our understanding of the past
    • Concept 2: Early Civilizations
      • PO 1. Describe the legacy and cultures of prehistoric people in the Americas: Development of agriculture
      • PO 2. Describe the cultures and contributions of the Ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi), Mogollon, and Hohokam (for example, location, agriculture, housing, arts, trade networks, adapta­tion and alteration of the environment)


  • Strand 1: American History
    • Concept 1: Research Skills for History
      • PO 4. Describe how archaeological research adds to our understanding of the past
    • Concept 2: Early Civilizations
      • PO 2. Describe how farming methods and domestication of animals led to the development of cultures and civilizations from hunting and gathering societies
      • PO 4. Describe the cultures of the Mogollon, Ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi), and Hohokam: Location, agriculture, housing, arts, and trade networks; how these cultures adapted to and altered their environment

For a foldable brochure that provides details about the “Lifestyle of the Hohokam” program please [click here].

To register, call Old Pueblo’s office at (520) 798-1201.

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