Besh Ba Gowah - Globe, AZ - ruins of an ancient civilization


Visitors to the Besh Ba Gowah Archaeological Park can experience a Salado culture that is seven hundred years old (1150 - 1450) and they can climb to the second story rooms in order to see furnishings that were typical to the era. The Besh Ba Gowah Museum has a number of artifacts from this advanced culture. The park can be found to the south of Globe, Arizona at the Ice House Canyon Wash and Pinal Creek. Among the most significant finds of the Southwest archaeology Besh Ba Gowah is also among the largest and most complex. It is considered to be a ceremonial, food storage and redistribution complex by archaeologists.

The ruins have approximately four hundred rooms with around two hundred and fifty on the ground floor. The entrance was a corridor at ground level that was covered by a second level; it opened into a main plaza which may have been a defensive design. Today the trail utilizes plaques in order to educate visitors and starts at the original entrance into the plaza which is 12 by 27 meters.

There are approximately one hundred and-fifty burials underneath the plaza; it is suspected that hereditary status was used. There were few rooms in the ruins which were accessed using ladders though roof hatchway. The current Archaeological Park at Besh Ba Gowah features prehistoric content in a number of reconstructed rooms. There are cross sections of the roof layered with mud, mats and reeds. The trail takes visitors to the ruins past the ceremonial room where a quartz covered sipapu full of turquoise dust was found. There are benches built into the room, an altar and four large posts supporting the roof. In addition a small mound that appears to be a platform is also in this portion of the ruins.

The ruins of Besh Ba Gowah have walls that are more than a foot thick, granite stone that has mortar covered with adobe in calcareous adobe plaster to produce a white finish forms the construction. The current museum presents the ruins in two ways, one features the ruins how they are today and one is how archaeologist believe they were during the 1300's A. D. The hypothetical version has two sections that are each three stories and twenty courtyards. An archaeologist's tool kit is displayed as well.

Local minerals, stone axes, stone hoes, turquoise beads and other items made of stone are on display in the museum. Trading networks that go all the way to the Pacific Ocean and the Mexican Gulf are indicated by shell jewelry, there are also woven artifacts that include sandals, baskets, mats and cloth. There is an entire wall in the museum dedicated to the various pottery of the era.

There is a large amount of decorate ware at the Besh Ba Gowah Archaeological Park including painted Pinto, Tonto, and Gila polychromes. There are animal, bird and insect motifs on some of the polychromes. Donut shaped canteens are an unusual type of pottery found as well.

The Besh Ba Gowah is an ideal place to learn about an ancient civilization and experience the culture.

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