Scientists can determine what they believe to be the uses for many rooms and sites in places like Besh Ba Gowah, and even why some rooms are constructed the way they are. Features of the rooms, artifacts found in and around them, their placement in the site, even the customs and traditions of todays Native American Tribes can give us clues to the past. Some things, however, remain a mystery. In Salado settlements, unlike many other tribes, the floor levels vary quite a bit. Even the experts cannot determine why the floor level of the room you see here is so much lower than the rooms around it.
Of all the rooms excavated at Besh Ba Gowah, this is probably the most interesting. It is the largest room on the site and because of the very unique features, the types of artifacts found inside and the small storage rooms surrounding it, this is believed to be a Ceremonial Room. This is the first Ceremonial Room ever scientifically excavated at a large Salado settlement. Entrance to the room was through a central hatchway in the roof and down a long wooden ladder. Three sides of the room had built in benches where participants in the ceremony would sit. On the east side of the room was an altar with a smoke and echo chamber above it. Below the altar is a square hole called a Sipapu. This Sipapu was filled with ground turquoise and sealed off with a large quartz crystal. It is believed this Sipapu represented a navel of the earth where spirits could traverse from the middle earth to this one.
The roof of the buildings in Besh Ba Gowah were built using wood logs that were intercrossed then supplemented with yucca fibers and reed mattings. This was then covered over with several layers of mud. The roof was commonly used for food storage, grinding grain, and other activities, especially during the hot summer months.
You can enter the restored largest structure and climb to higher floors via ladders. Originally the structure was three stories high with an access to the roof. Here you can see the inside of the structure. Be careful when using these ladders.
Besh Ba Gowah has the largest collection of Salado Pottery. The most wide spread form of Salado Pottery is the Gila Polychrome (or multicolored) Pottery. Photo 5 shows a few good examples of the other main type of Salado Pottery, the Roosevelt Black on White Pottery.
Your first stop will be the Visitor's Center where you can pay the entrance fee. They also have a short informative film, a nice museum and gifts and souvenirs you can buy. Photo 1 shows some of the Salado Artifacts found in and around Besh Ba Gowah. Photos 2 and 3 show tools and arrowheads used by the Salado. Photo 4 shows a representation of how archeologists believe Besh Ba Gowah looked at its peak. Photo 5 shows some typical Hohokam Red on Buff Pottery from around 900 AD.
The first photo here shows the entrance to Besh Ba Gowah. This was originally a long roofed corridor which led to the largest structure and the central plaza. Jewelry, pottery and other artifacts found here indicate the central plaza was one of the main areas for trading and gathering with the other villagers. Photos 2 and 3 show the restored largest structure in the park. Photo 4 shows another restored home. Several tips giving more details about Besh Ba Gowah follow.
One place in the Globe area you should not miss is the Besh Ba Gowah Archeological Park. This park shows how archeologists discover, recover and can rebuild sites. They have restored parts of a 1200 Salado Village. While doing the excavation and study of the area they also discovered the remains of a 900 AD Hohokam Settlement. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors. Children under 12 are free. Hours are 9 AM to 5 PM year round.
There are a few picnic tables by the parking area for Besh Ba Gowah; but there are better tables and barbecue grills in the Globe Botanical Garden.
Located right next to Besh Ba Gowah is the Ethnobotanical Garden where you can see some of the plants that were important to the Salado, more roasting pits, and the matate used to grind the grain.