The Casas Grandes World

The Casas Grandes World focuses on a remarkable prehistoric culture that extended through parts of present-day Chihuahua, Sonora, New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona, centering on the large Mexican site of Casas Grandes. The thousands of prehistoric sites in this vast area have only recently been considered related to each other, yet it now appears that for more than 200 years, from about AD 1200 to 1425, the people of the region traded with each other, made coursed-adobe pueblos in the desert country, manufactured magnificent pottery, and produced some of the most extraordinary rock art in North America. Casas Grandes was recently designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations.

During is florescence Casas Grandes served as a conduit or nexus between the Anasazi of the ancient American Southwest and the Mexican civilizations to the south. Using the seminal work of Charles Di Peso as a touchstone, and drawing on significant new archaeological work, this volume offers a reevaluation of the extent, history, and meaning of the great site and its far-reaching connections. It also considers influences on the Hohokam of Arizona and the peoples of west Mexico, positing the existence of a vast sphere of Casas Grandes cultural influence.

Curtis Schaafsma is curator of anthropology, Laboratory of Anthropology, Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe.

Carroll Riley is emeritus distinguished professor of anthropology, Southern Illinois University, and now resides in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Among his books are Rio del Norte: People of the Upper Rio Grande from Earliest Times to the Pueblo Revolt and The Kachina and the Cross: Indians and Spaniards in the Early Southwest, both available from the University of Utah Press.

Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations
List of Tables

I. Introduction

II. The Core Area
1. Reflections on the Casas Grandes Regional System from the Northwestern Periphery ~ Paul R. Fish and Suzanne K. Fish
2. The Villa Ahumada Site: Archaeological Investigations East of Paquimé ~ Rafael Cruz Antillón and Timothy D. Maxwell
3. Investigating the Paquimé Regional System ~ Michael E. Whalen and Paul E. Minnis
4. A West Central Chihuahuan Perspective on Chihuahuan Culture ~ Jane H. Kelley, Joe D. Stewart, A.C. MacWilliams, and Loy C. Neff
5. The Robles Phase of the Casas Grandes Culture ~ David A. Phillips Jr. and John P. Carpenter
6. Was Casas a Pueblo? ~ Stephen H. Lekson
7. A Preliminary Graph-Theoretical Analysis of Access Relationships at Casas Grandes ~ David R. Wilcox

III. The Outer Sphere
8. The Black Mountain Phase in the Mimbres Area ~ Darrell G. Creel
9. The Mimbres Classic and Postclassic: A Case for Discontinuity ~ Harry J. Shafer
10. Cerro de Trincheras and the Casas Grandes World ~ Randall H. McGuire, Maria Elisa Villalpando C., Victoria D. Vargas, and Emiliano Gallaga M.

IV. The Larger View
11. The Aztlatlán Tradition of West and Northwest Mexico and Casas Grandes: Speculations on the Medio Period Florescence ~ Michael S. Foster
12. Tlalocs, Kachinas, Sacred Bundles, and Related Symbolism in the Southwest and Mesoamerica ~ Polly Schaafsma
13. The Sonoran Statelets and Casas Grandes ~ Carroll L. Riley
14. The Postclassic along the Northern Frontiers of Mesoamerica ~Alice B. Kehoe
15. The Mexican West Coast and the Hohokam Region ~ Clement W. Meighan
16. Shell Exchange within the Southwest: The Casas Grandes Interaction Sphere ~ Ronna J. Bradley
17. The Dentition of Casas Grandes with Suggestions on Epigenetic Relationships among Mexicans and Southwestern U.S. Populations ~ Christy G. Turner II

V. Toward a New Synthesis
18. The Casas Grandes World: Analysis and Conclusion ~ Curtis F. Schaafsma and Carroll L. Riley


Praise and Reviews:
“This volume will be a standard reference used by students and scholars for years to come.”—David Kirkpatrick, Human Systems Research, Las Cruces   

"Schaafsma is the right person to pull this material together because of his important early work in the upper Chama Valley, which defined the Piedra Lumbre phase, and because of his extensive knowledge of the ethnohistorical (Spanish) literature."—Robert Preucel, University Museum, University of Pennsylvania.

“There is much valuable informational here. A valuable contribution to the archaeological literature on Casas Grandes, northern Mexico, and the southern U.S. southwest. Includes useful syntheses and presentation of new data.”—American Antiquity

“A marvelous antidote to our lack of understanding of the crucial importance of the Casas Grandes culture center as an intermediary between the Anasazi centers of the American Southwest and northern Mexico cultures.”—The Telluride Watch

“Essential addition to collections in the archeology of the region.”—CHOICE

“A major contribution in that it presents much new data that will provide scholars with many research questions for years to come.”—The Albuquerque Archeological Society