Natural Setting and Environment High basin-and-range topography Wide, flat, fertile valley Chihuahua desert shrub and grassland
Farming TrincherasSierras--dry farming on terraces-- Trincheras –View of Cerro de Trincheras, SonoraView of Cerro de Trincheras, Sonora Playa Basins--flood water farming
Joint Casas Grandes Project Amerind Foundation and INAH Charles Di Peso (1958-1961) *excavated western portion of site and several other sites in the Casas Grandes area.
Other Major Research Projects Paul Minnis and Michael Whalen –Regional Survey –Early 1990s –Publication in 2001: Casas Grandes and its Hinterland (U of A Press) Archaeology of North Mexico Project –Joint project of INAH/UNM/MNM –Robert Leonard (UNM) and Tim Maxwell (MNM) –Excavations at Galeana Site (Medio Period) The University of North Florida & University of Missouri Joint Archaeological Field Project to the Casas Grandes Region of Chihuahua, Mexico –Christine and Todd Van Pool et al. (focus to the west of Paquime)
Revised Chronology Dean and Ravesloot (1993) –Estimated ratio of sapwood in squared beams
Viejo Period A.D. 700-1200 Cave sites in mountains Pithouse villages in valley Example: Convento Site –Cluster of large pithouses (12 per phase) –Shift to above ground architecture--single story walled compounds--similar to Classic Hohokam Evidence of continuity between Viejo and Medio PeriodsEvidence of continuity between Viejo and Medio Periods
Medio Period A.D. 1200-1450 Sierras: cave sites –Granaries Valleys: –Big sites and small sites –Within 30 km of Paquim é --three-tier hierarchical settlement pattern
Paquime--Medio Period Buena Fe Phase –Single story adobe rooms clustered around walled courtyards (342 rooms) –20 courtyard groups –Sq. column-fronted galleries –House of the Serpent-- macaw breeding boxes
Paquime Phase –Site completely rebuilt –Large, multi-story residential complexes –Ca. 2000 rooms –Extensive public architecture (3 ballcourts, platform mounds, market?) –Elaborate water system Walk-in well, reservoir, covered drains –Communal food preparation areas
Diablo Phase –Degeneration, destruction and abandonment by late 15th c. –Public building stopped, public space converted to residential space
Craft Specialization and Trade What was Casas Grandes role in mediating the exchange of exotic goods between Mesoamerica and the American Southwest? What role did “prestige goods” and “prestige goods exchange” play in the Casas Grandes Regional System?
“Flight of the Shaman” after Christine S. VanPool (2002)
Non-local Pottery John Douglas (1992) Imported ceramics <3% of decorated pottery Salado Polychrome (AZ)--imported or local copies??--concentrated in one room. El Paso Polychrome (NM)--represents over 90% of imported decorated ceramics Different exchange network from shells, turquoise or copper GENDER?--Women’s vs. Men’s spheres of interaction?
Scarlet Macaw Breeding Birds from Tamaulipas and Oaxaca For trade w/ SW or local consumption?? Feathers, costumes-- Assoc. with Katsina ritualism??
Shell Working 4 million pieces excavated Mostly from two storerooms Direct acquisition or trade w/ West Mexico Trade w/ SW--Hohokam vs. Casas Grandes networks (Bradley 2000)
Copper Metallurgy Turquoise From West Mexico; mostly for local consumption
The Chaco Meridian? (Steve Lekson) North-South Alignment of Chaco, Aztec, Great North Road and Casas Grandes
Class Discussion: Interpretive Models The following interpretive models have been used to explain the Casas Grandes Regional System: –The Pochteca Model (Di Peso) –Prestige Exchange Model (Bradley) –Peer Polity Interaction and Competition (Minnis and Whalen) –Chaco Migration Model (Lekson) Describe the major characteristics and assumptions of each model. What evidence supports or contests each model? Which model or combination of models do you find most convincing and why?