Archaeological park at the Mesa Grande Ruins opens

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

MESA, Ariz. (AP) -- A newly opened archaeological park in Mesa explores what archaeologists believe was the religious and cultural center of a large Hohokam settlement that was abandoned in the 1400s.

Officials say Mesa Grande, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, represents the remains of one of the two largest and most complex ancient Hohokam platform mound communities in the country.

"[T]he Mesa Grande mound was a dramatic symbol of the power of this ancient community," according to the Arizona Museum of Natural History website.

The Hohokam built and used the temple mound site that once covered about 600 acres overlooking the Salt River between approximately 1100 and 1450 when the community perished.