The Pinal Mountains
The Pinal Mountains are, and always have been, central to the inhabitants of this area. They are a true oasis surrounded by a harsh desert. For centuries their water, flora, and fauna have sustained human life here.
About 1150 a fascinating, but now long-vanished, pueblo culture developed commercial centers that traded the area's original first coveted commodity, turquoise, from central Mexico to southern Utah and Colorado. This culture, the Salado, also worked native copper into bells that were also widely traded. By the middle 1400s, however, the culture began to disintegrate, probably because of internal strife caused by drought and environmental degradation. Many archaeologists believe the Salado completely abandoned the area and moved south, possibly to merge with the Papago/Pima (today's O'Odham) people, who still live in the southern Arizona region.
After the Salado retreated, the Yavapai Indians settled in the
southern parts of the Pinals, and somewhat to the west. They called the
mountains Walkame, or "pine mountains."