Moving Forward in Casas Grandes Archaeology

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

Forty years ago, Charles Di Peso's ideas regarding the Casas Grandes Medio period were published in one of the most comprehensive, synthetic works in Southwestern archaeology. His interpretations were initially met with skepticism by Southwestern archaeologists, and were largely rejected. Since that time, archaeologists in the area have focused on increasing our empirical knowledge of the Medio period archaeological record. Our knowledge has grown to the point that region wide cultural historical syntheses are again being considered. Much of this research has prompted scholars to reevaluate many of Di Peso's ideas that seem to fit our improved knowledge, while also providing the basis to provide better arguments in many contexts. This session builds on this work, allowing participants using diverse theoretical perspectives and different data sources to explore the Medio period's social dynamics and chronology using recent field and laboratory analyses. Through these discussions, archaeologists working in the area can both illustrate the intense interest that has strengthened archaeological knowledge of Casas Grandes prehistory, and continue facilitating the alternative interpretations necessary to build upon Di Peso's initial work.

Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-14 of 14)

  • Documents (14)

  • Bunny Or Bison: A Comparative Study of Faunal Material in the Casas Grandes World (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elizabeth McCarthy.

    Faunal material has been recovered throughout the Casas Grandes world, from the cultural center of Paquime to the borderlands sites of Joyce Wells and 76 Draw. This study aims to compare the faunal assemblages of several Casas Grandes related sites to examine patterns of faunal utilization through time and space. Our results demonstrate that sites closer to Paquime (including Paquime itself) tend to have a more diverse faunal assemblage as well as having a higher percentage of high-ranked...

  • Changing Life Styles: New lithic finding from small sites in Casas Grades, Chihuahua Mexico (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elizabeth Peterson.

    This paper reports on findings from the analysis on lithic collections from several Medio period small sites uncovered during the 2013/2014 summer excavations in the Casas Grades region of Chihuahua Mexico. While prior excavations within the region have placed focus on the large and medium sized site types found throughout the region, the summer 2013/2014 excavations focused solely upon the small, lesser-understood sites in order to evaluate their relation both specially and temporally to the...

  • Comparative Approaches to Casas Grandes Taphonomy and Violence (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Anna Osterholtz. Kyle Waller.

    Recent bioarchaeological analyses of human skeletal remains from the Medio Period Casas Grandes region (AD 1200-1450) have demonstrated taphonomic indicators variously interpreted as massacre, violent persecution of witches, or anthropophagy. In this presentation, we re-examine taphonomic data from Paquime and within a larger southwestern perspective. We combine new approaches to demography and individual well-being with taphonomic and mortuary datasets from Paquime to evaluate the causes,...

  • The Current State of Looting, Preservation, and Education in the Casas Grandes Region (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Fabiola Silva. Jane H. Kelley.

    The looting of archaeological artifacts is a worldwide phenomenon prompting the destruction of our world heritage. Looting and the antiquities market across the U.S/Mexico border is a complex bi-national issue that has highly impacted the archaeological record. A previous examination of the history of looting in Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico demonstrates three periods of looting: the Museum Period (1900-1939), the Private Collector Period (1940-1979), and the Present Period (1980-present)....

  • Exploring the Effects of Endemic Warfare and Violence on Women and Children at Casas Grandes (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Caryn Tegtmeyer. Debra Martin. Kyle Waller.

    Bioarcheologists have consistently explored the role that males play in warfare and raiding but the impact of warfare on women and children has been less of a focus. Other studies have shown that women sometimes play a role in fighting, and that women and children suffer from things such as declining resources, losing males from the household, and forced relocation. Casas Grandes provides a case study for the examination of women and children during what was likely to have been a period of...

  • Geometric Morphometric Approaches to Casas Grandes Ceramic Specialization (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only John Topi. Philip Leflar.

    Previous studies of the Casas Grandes region have suggested that several craft items, including ceramics and ground stone, were produced by part or full-time specialists. In this study, we build upon previous approaches to ceramic specialization by conducting geometric morphometric analysis on an extensive collection of scaled digital photographs of Viejo and Medio period whole vessels. Geometric morphometrics allows for the statistical analysis of shape as indicated by the relationship...

  • New Perspectives on Casas Grandes Mortuary Practices: (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kyle Waller. Gordon Rakita.

    The diversity of Casas Grandes mortuary practices has often been cited as strong evidence for hierarchy and political centralization at Paquimé. Initial mortuary analyses argued that variability in grave furniture, corpse treatment, and burial location represented the social identity of the deceased. A central finding of these analyses was that mortuary variability cross-cut age and sex categories, supporting inferences of ascribed vertical status differentiation. In this study, we use recent...

  • Paquimé and Diablo Phases at Paquimé: An Examination of Architectural Validity of Phase Declarations (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Thatcher Rogers.

    This paper will present on the results of statistically-based analyses of architectural data relating to the Paquimé and Diablo Phases at the site of Paquimé collected and published by Charles Di Peso et al. in 1974. A re-examination of the architectural data is necessitated as, in a methodology dissimilar to standard procedure, Di Peso utilized architectural attributes as a basis for phase differentiation. While prior statistical analysis (Frost 2000) has been applied successfully to...

  • Plainware Ceramics from the Surface of the 76 Draw Site, Luna Country, New Mexico (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Gordon Rakita. Michele Pierson.

    The 76 Draw archaeological site (LA 156980) is located in southwestern New Mexico. This Medio period (A.D. 1200-1400) site is situated within the northern edge of the Casas Grandes interaction sphere just south of Deming, New Mexico. It includes the remains of pueblo-like adobe structures overlain with a scatter of thousands of artifacts including lithic and mixed ceramics. In the summer of 2013, the University of Missouri and University of North Florida surface sampled the site. One purpose of...

  • Power before Paquimé? Hypotheses on Political Economies in Casas Grandes. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jerimy Cunningham.

    In this paper, I outline alternative hypotheses on the nature of the late-Viejo and early-Medio Period political economies in the Casas Grandes Regional System from what is now Chihuahua, Mexico. Recent research has described in impressive detail the productive base and the ideology that may have emerged at Paquimé during its late-Medio Period (AD 1350-1450) florescence. However, little is known about power in the Casas Grandes region either prior to Paquimé’s brief 14th Century expansion into...

  • Recent Explorations for Casas Grandes Viejo Period Settlement (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Todd Pitezel. Michael Searcy.

    Much is known about political, social, economic, and ritual organization during the Casas Grandes Medio period (ca. A.D. 1200-1450). A looming question is, What are the roots of the Medio period? The preceding Viejo period, assumed to begin around A.D. 500, is poorly understood because so little work has been conducted at Viejo sites, and few sites from this time period are known. We recently conducted reconnaissance and systematic survey north and south of the Medio capital settlement of...

  • Results of Petrographic Analysis of Polychromes across the Casas Grandes World (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Emma Britton.

    This research, part of my dissertation, focuses on the mineralogical variability of Casas Grandes polychromes. Whereas past studies have suggested that some Casas Grandes polychrome types are more common in some geographic areas than others (see Brand 1935; De Atley 1980; Findlow and DeAtley 1982; Kelley et al. 1999; Larkin et al. 2004 for more complete discussions), these studies have been challenged as they assume polychromes recovered at sites are made locally, rather than imported (Douglas...

  • Ritual Use of Fauna in the Casas Grandes Region (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jeremy Loven.

    The use of faunal remains for ritual purposes was an important part of Casas Grandes society throughout the Medio period (1200 – 1450 A.D.). The past inhabitants of this region utilized the bones of numerous animals for ritual and symbolic functions, as well as for personal adornment. Past archaeological and zooarchaeological research conducted within this region has focused significantly on the site of Paquimé and the artifacts/remains recovered from that site. This paper, although considering...

  • There And Back Again: A Geochemical Analysis of Casas Grandes Shell Procurement and Exchange (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Andrew Krug. Kyle Waller. Christine VanPool.

    Previous studies of shell exchange in the Southwest have supported archaeological interpretations of competing regional networks in which the Hohokam, Sinagua, and Anasazi acquired shell from the Gulf of California, while the Casas Grandes, Mimbres, and Western Puebloan groups acquired shell from West Mexico. This study will build on previous analyses by integrating stylistic analysis with an expanded compositional database to further examine the role of shell exchange in the Animas phase region...