Take a step back in time at this well-preserved Hohokam village site.
Named after the mortar holes found in volcanic rocks throughout the site, Los Morteros is a well-preserved Hohokam village site. The mortar holes were used to grind mesquite pods, seeds, and corn. It is thought by archaeologists that people (primarily women) would gather at the clustered mortars to chat while they worked, so these beds of rock are sometimes known as “gossip stones”!
In addition to its mortar holes, the site contains remnants of Trincheras (which is the Spanish word for “terraces”, and also refers to a civilization that predates the Hohokam, who originally carved the feature into the hillside), a ballcourt where a variant of the Mesoamerican Ball Game was played, remnants of pit houses, and trash mounds, where pottery pieces are as frequent as rocks on the ground.
Aerial view of the Los Morteros site, with the Tucson Mountains on the left side of the frame. The remains of the ballcourt can be indentified by the dense cluster of vegetation near the center of the photo. Photo Credit: Archaeology Southwest.
The site was used in more recent history as a camp by Juan Bautista de Anza on his expedition from Sonora to California, and was also used as a stop on the Butterfield Stagecoach Route.
Today, you can stroll through the site and experience the history of it firsthand, with a system of walking paths and interpretive signs, maintained by Pima County.