Casas Grandes: Archaeological Zone of Paquimé, World Heritage Site (Mexico)

Casas Grandes: Archaeological Zone of Paquimé, World Heritage Site (Mexico)

Thu, 01/03/2019 - 13:45
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Paquimé, Casas Grandes played a key role in trade and cultural contacts between the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, and the more advanced civilizations of Mesoamerica. The archaeological zone is distinguished by its impressive buildings in earthen architecture.

Casas Grandes

Casas Grandes (also known as "Paquimé") is a prehistoric archaeological site in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Construction of the site is attributed to the Mogollon culture.

Casas Grandes is one of the largest and most complex Mogollon culture sites in the region. Settlement began after 1130 CE, and the larger buildings developed into multi-storied dwellings after 1350 CE. The community was abandoned approximately 1450 CE.

The Casas Grandes complex is located in a wide, fertile valley on the Casas Grandes or San Miguel River, 56 km (35 mi) south of Janos and 240 km (150 mi) northwest of the state capital, the city of Chihuahua. The settlement relied on irrigation to support its agriculture. The valley and region have been inhabited by indigenous groups for thousands of years.

Casas Grandes is regarded as one of the most significant Mogollon archaeological zones in the northwestern Mexico region, linking it to other sites in Arizona and New Mexico in the United States and exhibiting the expanse of the Mogollon sphere of influence.

Archaeological Zone of Paquimé, Casas Grandes

The Archaeological Zone of Paquimé, Casas Grandes is located at the foot of the Sierra Madre Occidental range near the headwaters of the Casas Grandes River in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

This World Heritage site is estimated to contain the remains of some 2,000 rooms in clusters of living rooms, workshops and stores, with patios.

The predominant building material is unfired clay (adobe); stone is used for specific purposes, such as the lining of pits, a technique from central Mexico.

Paquimé, Casas Grandes, which reached its apogee in the 14th and 15th centuries, played a key role in trade and cultural contacts between the Pueblo culture of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, and the more advanced civilizations of Mesoamerica.

The extensive remains, only part of which have been excavated, are clear evidence of the vitality of a culture which was perfectly adapted to its physical and economic environment but which suddenly vanished at the time of the Spanish Conquest.

The archaeological zone is distinguished by its impressive buildings in earthen architecture, mostly residential building structures that originally must have been several stories high and the remains of ceremonial monuments which have earthen architecture with masonry coatings.

There are remains from hundreds of rooms, with doors in a "T" shape and the pre-Hispanic site still maintains its original planning on three axes: axis of housing units, the axis of squares, and the axis of ceremonial buildings.

Paquimé, Casas Grandes is the largest archaeological zone that represents the peoples and cultures of the Chihuahua Desert. Its development took place in the years 700-1475 and it reached its apogee in the 14th and 15th centuries.

Its architecture marked an epoch in the development of the architecture of the human settlement of a vast region in Mexico and illustrated an outstanding example of the organization of space in architecture.