Virtual Talk Explores Ancient Hohokam Canals

Niki D'AndreaApril 20, 2021
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Dr. Todd Bostwick | Photo courtesy State of Arizona Research Library


Hohokam farmers built the largest system of canals in the New World between 500 CE and 1450, making a network of canals in Arizona’s Salt River Valley totaling more than 1,000 miles. It was a marvel of organic engineering in the pre-industrial era that helped the ancient people sustain their crops and civilization.

Archeologist Todd Bostwick has studied the Hohokam and Arizona’s ancient inhabitants for more than 40 years. His face might be familiar to anyone who visited the Pueblo Grande Museum near Downtown, where he was Phoenix City Archeologist for almost two decades.

On Wednesday, April 21, Dr. Bostwick will discuss how the Hohokam constructed and maintained the canals, and how they overcame climatic challenges like droughts and floods. Illustrations and photographs of excavated canals will be shared to augment the talk.

The free online event, titled “Ancient Waterways of Life: Hohokam Irrigation Systems of the Salt River Valley,” takes place from 1 to 2 p.m. Participants can register here.