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The Hohokam flourished in southern Arizona from approximately 200 to 1500 AD. They were known for their complex system of irrigation ditches along the Gila and Salt Rivers, which allowed them to grow corn, beans, and squash as well as cotton. While largely living in the valleys near the Salt and Gila Rivers, their villages extended into the surrounding mesas, hills, and mountains. Between present-day Gila Bend, Phoenix, and Prescott, the Hohokam also constructed what appear to be fortifications on high points. Each walled fort had a direct line of sight with at least one other fort. When archeologists mapped the known forts, a network appeared. The purpose of the forts remains a mystery. Were they for defense? Communication? Ceremonial? All of the above? This short loop takes you to a hilltop Hohokam ruin in this complex network. A brief steep footpath leads you up the hill to the rock-rimmed fort. Indian Fort trail is located in the Table Mesa Recreation Area, a BLM-operated OHV complex that offers everything from easy scenic drives to hardcore rock crawling. Enjoy a short easy drive back into the history of this rugged landscape along the Indian Fort trail. If you hike to the top, see if you can spot any other hilltop fortifications nearby. Take time to ponder the purpose the Hohokam had for these unique structures. Please respect all archeological sites, so future generations have the same opportunity to ponder the past.
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