272 pages, 6 x 9
11 halftones, 10 illustrations, 9 tables
Release Date:12 Mar 2015

Ancient Paquimé and the Casas Grandes World

The University of Arizona Press
Paquimé, the great multistoried pre-Hispanic settlement also known as Casas Grandes, was the center of an ancient region with hundreds of related neighbors. It also participated in massive networks that stretched their fingers through northwestern Mexico and the U.S. Southwest. Paquimé is widely considered one of the most important and influential communities in ancient northern Mexico and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ancient Paquimé and the Casas Grandes World, edited by Paul E. Minnis and Michael E. Whalen, summarizes the four decades of research since the Amerind Foundation and Charles Di Peso published the results of the Joint Casas Grandes Expeditions in 1974.
The Joint Casas Grandes Expedition revealed the extraordinary nature of this site: monumental architecture, massive ball courts, ritual mounds, over a ton of shell artifacts, hundreds of skeletons of multicolored macaws and their pens, copper from west Mexico, and rich political and religious life with Mesoamerican-related images and rituals. Paquimé was not one sole community but was surrounded by hundreds of outlying villages in the region, indicating a zone that sustained thousands of inhabitants and influenced groups much farther afield.
In celebration of the Amerind Foundation’s seventieth anniversary, sixteen scholars with direct and substantial experience in Casas Grandes archaeology present nine chapters covering its economy, chronology, history, religion, regional organization, and importance. The two final chapters examine Paquimé in broader geographic perspectives. This volume sheds new light on Casas Grandes/Paquimé, a great town well-adapted to its physical and economic environment that disappeared just before Spanish contact.
This book admirably meets the long-standing need for a volume that enables students and professionals to access both early and recent archaeological research in this large and archaeologically important area.”—William Lipe, past president, Society for American Archaeology
The work of the present authors in northwestern Mexico has added greatly to our knowledge of the Northwest/Southwest, and their work continues to challenge many of the interpretations of the Joint Casas Grandes Expedition, as readers will see.”—John Ware, The Amerind Foundation
Michael Whalen and Paul Minnis have made major contributions to the archaeology of Casas Grandes, its history, and its region. In this volume, they bring together the leading researchers to survey the state of Casas Grandes prehistory. And the view is rich, exciting, and hopeful! A key volume for anyone interested in the ancient Southwest, and one of its most important chapters.”—Stephen H. Lekson, author of A History of the Ancient Southwest
For archaeologists interested in this region, and the Greater Southwest in general, this volume is indispensable.”—Journal of Anthropological Research

“There is much to fire the imagination of the generalist reader in Ancient Paquimé and the Casas Grandes World: trade routes, connections to west Mexico and the gulf coast, trade in macaws and management of resources are just the start.” archaeology.about.com


Paul E. Minnis is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. He has studied Paquimé since 1984. He is past president of the Society of Ethnobiology, treasurer and press editor for the Society for American Archaeology, and co-founder of the Southwest Symposium. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books.  

Michael E. Whalen is a professor of anthropology at the University of Tulsa. His research interests include complex societies, processes of sociocultural evolution, prehistoric social structure, and ceramic analysis. Before Casas Grandes, he worked in southern Mesoamerica and the U.S. Southwest. His published works include books, chapters, and journal articles on Oaxaca, western Texas, and northwestern Chihuahua. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society.

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