Hohokam (hō´hōkăm´, hōhō´kəm), term denoting the culture of the ancient agricultural populations inhabiting the Salt and Gila river valleys of S Arizona (AD 300–1200). They are noted for their extensive irrigation systems, with canals over 10 mi (16 km) long that channeled water to agricultural fields in an otherwise arid and inhospitable environment. Many architectural features of Hohokam settlements, including sunken ball-courts and pyramidal mounds, bear striking similarities to structures common among contemporary populations in central Mexico. Evidence also shows that they maintained extensive trade connections with groups further south, leading to speculation that the Hohokam settlements were founded by Mesoamerican migrants. Most archaeologists agree, however, that Hohokam culture evolved from local archaic antecedents (see Americas, antiquity and prehistory of the). Debate persists regarding the fate of the Hohokam. The region has been inhabited in historical times by the Pima and the Tohono O'Odham, although it is not entirely clear that the Hohokam were ancestral to either group.
See E. W. Haury, The Hohokam (1976).