The weather is beautiful in Phoenix, and homeschool families often use the mild spring months for getting outdoors and visiting new parts of Arizona. A field trip is a great way to have an educational outing, especially if the venue is offering a special homeschool day.
Mesa Grande is an ancient Native American archaeological dig located near Country Club Drive and Brown Road in Mesa. It is part of the Arizona Museum of Natural History (AZMNH), also in Mesa, and features ongoing excavation by archaeologists. Although the site has been an integral part of the city’s history, it has been closed to the public for several years. A grand opening was planned for February 2012, but logistical issues have pushed the date back and a new one has not been set.
This gives homeschoolers a unique opportunity to have a “sneak preview” of the grounds before the public is officially invited.
Mesa Grande Archaeology Home School Day
When: Thursday, March 8 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Where: 588 W Brown Rd, Mesa, AZ 85201 (approximate address) (See map)
Near Country Club and Brown Road
Cost: AZMNH members, $2.00 and non-members, $6.00–no discounts or passes
Payment can be made at AZMNH (53 N. McDonald Dr, Mesa) or prepaid by
contacting Alice Jung at 480-644-3553 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to preregister.
(No payment will be taken the day of the event at the ruins.)
A Hohokam settlement from 1 AD to 1450 AD, Mesa Grande is similar to Pueblo Grande in central Phoenix. Students will be able to meet archaeologists and learn about their work. A visitor center is being developed as part of the the Arizona Centennial projects which will house displays and artifacts unearthed at the dig. The center is only about 1200 square feet to start with, and will be open from 10 AM to 3 PM from October 1-May 15, only on Fridays and Saturdays when the opening takes place.
Known for their extensive network of canals throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties, the Hohokam used the pueblo mounds for housing, religious purposes, and administration of the water in the canals. Modern city waterways have generally been constructed over the remnants of the ancient canals. The Hohokam people mysteriously disappeared about 1450 AD, just a few decades prior to the Spanish conquistadors migrating to the area.