Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological Park, Globe, AZ

In the presence of the past at Besh-Ba-Gowah, by John Stanley, The Arizona Republic

A thriving community

In its heyday, from about 1225 to 1400, the village of Besh-Ba-Gowah was home to 350 people – hunters, gatherers and remarkably sophisticated farmers who grew corn, squash, beans and cotton and other crops, irrigating when possible and dry farming when not. They understood flood-plain farming techniques.

Archaeological evidence suggests the site was occupied from about A.D. 750, perhaps even earlier, as the thriving Hohokam culture established villages across the region. Over time, the residents of Besh-Ba-Gowah were influenced by the Ancestral Puebloans to the north and developed their own distinctive culture. (Ancestral Puebloans were formerly known as the Anasazi, a term now considered inexact and – to the modern descendants of the Puebloan tribes – offensive.)

Generation upon generation of Salado people lived here, more or less in peace with their neighbors, tending their crops and making ever more sophisticated pottery, including the intricate geometric designs of Gila polychrome.

Besh-Ba-Gowah was part of a loose-knit trade network that reached from tropical Mexico to the Pacific Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.

All that changed in the 14th century, when widespread drought brought increasing competition for food and water, spurring widespread social upheaval, war and large-scale migrations.

By 1400, Besh-Ba-Gowah was effectively a ghost town. …

Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological Park
Where: 1324 Jesse Hayes Road, Globe, AZ