chapter  10
37 Pages

The Casas Grandes Polity in the International Four Corners

WithPaul E. Minnis

Casas Grandes (Paquime) represent the most highly centralized prehistoric political organization in what is far northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States. The term “complexity” is used to note the degree of internal economic and political differentiation and centralization of power. Paquime is located in northwestern Chihuahua, Mexico. To the west and southwest are the massive and heavily forested Sierra Madre Occidental. The economic activities of Casas Grandes continued during the Diablo phase, and the population may have increased over the earlier Paquime phase. The nature and size of architecture may provide some criteria to evaluate the organizational scale of a prehistoric system. Of particular interest is presumed public ritual architecture. The nonsubsistence economy of Casas Grandes has been the single aspect of the most interest to archaeologists. Casas Grandes is known as “a fallen trading center of the Gran Chichimeca.