The Casas Grandes Flower World and its Antecedents in Northwest Mesoamerica and the U.S. Southwest

Author(s): Michael Mathiowetz

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "The Flower World: Religion, Aesthetics, and Ideology in Mesoamerica and the American Southwest" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

One of the key issues in the study of the Flower World complex is determining the chronology and nature of its transmission from Mesoamerica to the U.S. Southwest. Scholars contend that the most clear material culture and symbolic evidence indicates that the Flower World was present in the Southwest to a limited degree among the Chaco Canyon and Mimbres cultures after AD 1000 with few antecedents. Others suggest much earlier dates in the Southwest, perhaps corresponding with the onset of maize agriculture. Evidence from language studies offers insight, but clarity as to the origins and antiquity of this complex is needed. This presentation provides a macroregional analysis of the historical dynamics of the Flower World ideology encompassing northwest Mesoamerica, northern Mexico, and the greater U.S. Southwest. I propose that key tenets of Flower World symbolism appear with the Xochipilli complex in the Aztatlán region of west Mexico around AD 850/900. With expanding interaction networks linked to ritual economies, Mimbres and Chaco cultures adopted elements of the Flower World. By AD 1200/1300, a pronounced manifestation of this ideology took form in the Casas Grandes culture at Paquimé. This complex spread more extensively across the Southwest thereafter during the Pueblo IV period.

Cite this Record

The Casas Grandes Flower World and its Antecedents in Northwest Mesoamerica and the U.S. Southwest. Michael Mathiowetz. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450449)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22933