Mesa Grande Cultural Park, in Mesa, Arizona, preserves a group of Hohokam structures constructed during the Classical Period. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, when it was owned by a local actress. The site was acquired from the actress in 1988 by the city of Mesa. After the 2013 completion of the Mesa Grande Visitor's Center, the site is open seasonally to the public from October through May and is operated by the Arizona Museum of Natural History. The museum is currently undertaking archaeological studies at the site. The mound remains remarkably intact while the general site remains protected and undeveloped.


  • 'Room D'. Here in 1955, ASU students excavated this portion of the ruins
    'Room D'. Here in 1955, ASU students excavated this portion of the ruins
  • Actress/one-time owner of ruins--Acquanetta
    Actress/one-time owner of ruins--Acquanetta
  • The Lewis family, in front of the mound at Mesa Grande in 1904, carried out excavations to see what was inside.  They found a series of thick caliche walls.
    The Lewis family, in front of the mound at Mesa Grande in 1904, carried out excavations to see what was inside. They found a series of thick caliche walls.
  • Temple Mound Ruins
    Temple Mound Ruins
  • Woodcut illustration of Mesa Grande by Bartlett in the 1850s and published in his report, Ruins on the Salinas.  The Salt (Salinas) River is marked by the line of trees in the middle distance.
    Woodcut illustration of Mesa Grande by Bartlett in the 1850s and published in his report, Ruins on the Salinas. The Salt (Salinas) River is marked by the line of trees in the middle distance.
  • Aerial view of ruins
    Aerial view of ruins

The ruins were occupied between AD 1100 and 1400 (Pueblo II - Pueblo IV Era) and were a product of the Hohokam civilization that inhabited the Salt River Valley. There the Hohokam constructed an extensive system of water canals. It is one of only two Hohokam mounds remaining in the metro Phoenix area, with the other being the Pueblo Grande Museum Archaeological Park. The site's central feature is a massive ruin of adobe walls and platforms.

The ruins are located to the west and across the street from the former Mesa Lutheran Hospital, now a Banner Health corporate center housing billing and Information Technology employees.

Artifacts presumably associated with the ruins have been found in the neighborhood to the west. Axe heads, arrowheads, and pottery sherds were regularly uncovered and collected by residents during the 1960s and 1970s just under the surface of the earth in private property there.

1. "Plan to Visit Mesa Grande Cultural Park," Arizona Museum of Natural History website, accessed September 3, 2016. http://arizonamuseumofnaturalhistory.org/plan-a-visit/mesa-grande 

2. "An Ancient Treasure in Modern Mesa," Arizona Museum of Natural History website, accessed September 3, 2016. http://arizonamuseumofnaturalhistory.org/plan-a-visit/mesa-grande/an-ancient-treasure-in-modern-mesa 

3. Garin Groff, "Mesa Grande ruins to open visitors center this fall," EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE, April 22, 2012. http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/local/mesa/article_6e874ef2-8b4b-11e1-88c1-0019bb2963f4.html?mode=j... 

4. Mike Sakal, "Officials break ground on long-awaited Mesa Grande Visitors Center," EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE, updated September 6, 2012, accessed September 4, 2016. http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/local/mesa/article_3eb09ce0-f6f5-11e1-a955-001a4bcf887a.html?mode=j... 

5. Gary Nelson, "Construction kicks off on center to showcase Mesa Grande site," THE REPUBLIC, September 4, 2012, accessed September 4, 2016. http://archive.azcentral.com/community/mesa/articles/20120904mesa-grande-construction-kicks-off-cent... 

6. Gary Nelson, "Residents protected Mesa Grande ruins through the years," THE REPUBLIC, January 18, 2013, accessed September 4, 2016. http://archive.azcentral.com/community/mesa/articles/20130117residents-protected-mesa-grande-ruins.h... 

7. Gary Nelson, "Mesa Indian ruins open after decades of effort," THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC, January 18, 2013, accessed September 4, 2016 http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/18/mesa-indian-ruins-open/1566468 

8. " Archaeology Today," Arizona Museum of Natural History website, accessed September 3, 2016. http://arizonamuseumofnaturalhistory.org/plan-a-visit/mesa-grande/archaeology-today 

9. "Part 1. Mesa Grande Cultural Park. The Hohokam ruins, Native American Blessing," YouTube video, 17:33 min., published January 2013, accessed September 4, 2016. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep4S6Ny2wQU