We do not inherit the
earth from our ancestors,
we borrow it from
our children.
- Native American Wisdom

Saguaro's Cultural Resources

Strength and survival is the theme of Saguaro National Park;  certainly the Park has magnificent views to see, but it also has a fascinating story to tell.

The mountains in the east were born of shifting continental plates and uplift some 20 million years ago.  In the west, the range developed from sedimentary and volcanic rock.

Human habitation in southern Arizona dates back approximately 12,500 years;  the first humans hunted the bison and mammoths that roamed the area, which was then much more humid and temperate.  Later cultures were hunter-gatherers.  The Hohokam, who derived from the earlier settlers about 1,700 years ago, left the deepest impression.  Their petroglyphs remain, although the people who created them have not been around for 500 years.

In present day Tucson, along the banks of the Santa Cruz River, archeologists have concluded that sites found there represent the oldest continuously inhabited area in the United States.

Saguaro National Park contains 523 known archeological sites -- spanning more than 8,000 years of human occupation during prehistoric and historic times.  The prehistoric sites consist primarily of Archaic and later Hohokam artifact scatters, representing campsites, farmsteads and villages.  Other prehistoric sites include rock art (petroglyphs and pictographs), rockshelters, and bedrock milling sites.

The cultural resources contained within Saguaro National Park also include historic landscape components in addition to the Native American archeological sites.  For example, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built the Cactus Forest Drive in the Rincon Mountain District from 1935-1939, during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal era of public works projects.  The CCC constructed native stone rock work culverts, curbing and retaining walls along the Cactus Forest Drive, and also provided stone structures for some of the Park's trails.  Other historic landscapes within the Park include the Amole Mining District, Manning Camp, the Freeman Homestead, and the lime-making landscape.

Learn more by checking out the Park's website at http://www.nps.gov/sagu/