[Source: Srianthi Perera, Arizona Republic] -- Before traveling to Mexico or Egypt to view ancient temples, check out the one in your backyard. The Mesa Grande Temple Mound is a well-preserved Hohokam site in the Southeast Valley. It's open only on special occasions, and from outside the enclosure, may seem just a dusty and creosote bush-covered mound, but an upcoming exhibit at Mesa Southwest Museum promises fresh insight into the spiritual side of Hohokam life. "It was a religious place just like the Mexican pyramids," said Jerry Howard, curator of anthropology, who found long passageways, secret rooms, a back entryway and plaza buried in the mound. These areas would have been used for preparation of religious rituals and worshipping, he said. The excavations and research of 20 years at the temple site, as well as at the Rowley (on Horne Road near the Park of the Canals) and Pew (at Alma School Road and Main Street) Hohokam sites in Mesa, will be presented in "Hohokam! Ancient Monuments of the Salt River Valley" beginning Oct. 3.
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