Paul E. Minnis – “The Boring Side of Paquime”
The size and massive architecture of Paquimé (Casas Grandes) in northwestern Chihuahua has impressed visitors for centuries, ever since the first Spanish entradas to the area. During the Medio Period, approximately A.D. 1200-1450, this site was one of the major and most influential communities in the SW/NW (Southwest U.S./northwest Mexico).
The Joint Casas Grandes Expedition’s excavations, guided by the Amerind Foundation and Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, during the mid-20th century revealed even more impressive archaeological data such as 1½ tons of shell, hundreds of tropical parrots, an amazingly well designed water system, and extraordinary architecture engineering. Yet, to have a fuller understand the society—any society, for that matter—we need to look beyond all the glitter and goodies. Study of farming, humble outlying villages, groundstone, turkeys, and even barely visible charred plant remains paint a fuller understand of this remarkable society. Maybe boring isn’t really boring after all.
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