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The Hohokam Canals: How They Survived Flooding for a Thousand Years and Pioneered a Network of Irrigation

At the start of any society or civilization is the advent of agriculture and the pioneering technologies that make it more convenient and productive.

For agricultural societies, water is a very important resource. Natural disasters would cause a great impact in their lives, with droughts sucking up all the water and floods ruining the crops and possibly taking lives.

So the Hohokam civilization of Arizona built and maintained an intricate system of canals that not only protected them from the floods but also provided a network of irrigation and water supply that benefited them greatly.

From approximately A.D. 450-1400, a Native American group known today as the Hohokam overcame a harsh desert environment along with periodic droughts and floods to settle and farm much of modern Arizona.
They managed this feat by collectively maintaining an extensive infrastructure of canals with collaborative labor.

David Anderson writes about the research and excavations done unveiling a detailed new look at the repair and maintenance of two Hohokam canals near the Salt River.

(Image credit: Arizona Historical Society via Medium)


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