Archaeologists utilize a complicated Culture History based Period/Phase scheme to explain the sequence of significant cultural change. The reason the HCS is confusing to many is because there remains two primary methods of expressing this information with, in addition, many theoretical variants. Only the two primary schemes will be mentioned here: the Gladwinian and Cultural Horizon expressions.
It is important to remember that the HCS is applied only to the Hohokam Core Area. The cause of these differences and the range of cultural variability within the Hohokam Culture will be addressed below, however to some extent it represents communities influenced by their Anasazi and Mogollon neighbours.