With a single exception none of these depressions are so situated that they could be used as reservoirs for the storage of water collected from the surface, and the catchment area of the depressions is so small and the rate of evaporation in this area so great that their use as reservoirs is out of the question. It is probable that all of the smaller depressions represent simply sites where building material was obtained. Possibly the ground at these points furnished more suitable material than elsewhere, and, if so, the builders may have taken the trouble to transport it several hundred yards rather than follow the usual practice of using material within a few feet of the site. This hypothesis would explain the large size of the depressions, otherwise an anomalous feature.
State of Preservation.
The area occupied by the Casa Grande ruin is insignificant as compared with that of the entire group, yet it has attracted the greater attention because it comprises practically all the walls still standing. There is only one small fragment of wall east of the main structure and another south of it.
The ruin is especially interesting because it is the best preserved example now remaining of a type of structure which, there is reason to believe, was widely distributed throughout the Gila valley, and which, so far as now known, is not found elsewhere. The conditions under which pueblo architecture developed in the north were peculiar, and stamped themselves indelibly on the house structures there found. Here in the south there is a radical change in physical environment: even the available building material was different, and while it is probable that a systematic investigation of this field will show essentially the same ideas that in the north are worked out in stone, here embodied in a different material and doubtless somewhat modified to suit the changed environment, yet any general conclusion based on the study of a single ruin would be unsafe. In the present state of knowledge of this field it is not advisable to attempt more than a detailed description, embodying, however, a few inferences, applicable to this ruin only, which seem well supported by the evidence obtained.
The Casa Grande ruin is located near the southwestern corner of the group, and the ground surface for miles about it in every direction is so flat that from the summit of the walls an immense stretch of country is brought under view. On the east is the broad valley of Gila river rising in a great plain to a distant range of mountains. About a mile and a half toward the north a fringe of cottonwood trees marks the course of the river, beyond which the plain continues, broken somewhat by hills and buttes, until the view is closed by the Superstition mountains. On the northwest the valley of Gila river runs into the horizon, with a few buttes here and there.