c.200BC-1450AD The Hohokam occupied the hot, lowlying area of Central Arizona during this time. The people were thought to have migrated northwards from Mexico as their culture exhibits many mesoamerican influences, in their art and in the practice of the Mesoamerican ball game. At the end of a match between the Hohokam however, there was no 'death penalty' for losing. Human sacrifices were not required for religious or any other reasons, yet the Hohokam maintained productivity without the need to appease their gods. No class distinctions existed in the Hohokam society, nor was there a ruling priest or king typical of Mesoamerican cultures.
In this harsh climate their only assets existed in two rivers, the Salt and the Gila. These sourced in the New Mexico mountains and ran eastwards to the Gulf of California. When the winter snows were melting in the mountains, the rivers would flood and deposit fertile alluvial silt on the plains. As water was an essential and precious resource, the Hohokam became skilled in the ways of its efficient and effective preservation, and were possibly the first to practice irrigation farming. An elaborate network of canals for irrigation, including a water resistant lining to prevent seepage, earned the Hohokam the title of the Canal Builders from their descendants. With support from irrigation, they harvested beans, squash, and two maize crops a year, producing around half of their requirements. The other half was found in hunting and gathering from the area. By 500AD cotton crops were seeded, as well as tobacco in 900AD.
The Hohokam lived a peaceful existence, and were skilled entrepeneurs in a thriving trade between the neighbouring Anasazi and Mogollan tribes. Seeds for crops, and intricate shell art unique to the region were in high demand. No attempts at increasing territory or power were made by any of the three tribes of the area, and the Hohokam continued to flourish in their simple, but technologically advanced, lifestyles.