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16 July 2005
20 ancient Hohokam canals discovered

Archaeologists working at a proposed development site in Mesa say they have unearthed one of the largest integrated canal systems the Hohokam Indians ever built in the Phoenix area (Arizona, USA). Twenty Hohokam canals, uncovered during an ongoing archaeological survey of the 240-acre site, have been found since October. The largest measures 45 feet wide and 16 feet deep.
     "They are the size of canals in Phoenix today, but these were done with digging sticks and baskets," said Tom Wilson, an archaeologist and director of the Mesa Southwest Museum. Other archaeological remains were also found, including a half-dozen pit houses and hundreds of pottery fragments and artifacts. Historians believe the Hohokam lived in central and southern Arizona for about 1,500 years, from 300 BCE. They were a largely agricultural community known for their sophisticated canal systems.
     This spring, the development site was at the center of a fierce political fight over the merits of locating a huhe shopping center there. A portion of collected artifacts will be displayed at Banner Mesa Medical Center later this fall. And next May, the Mesa Southwest Museum will unveil a major Hohokam exhibit that will feature finds from the site, Wilson said.

Sources: Associated Press, KVOA.com (11 July 2005)

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