Casas Grandes Phenomenon

Christine S. VanPool and Todd L. VanPool

in The Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195380118
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Casas Grandes Phenomenon

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Between AD 1200 and 1450, the Casas Grandes Phenomenon—a distinctive political and religious system—swept across northwestern Mexico, southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, and westernmost Texas. The hallmark of this phenomenon is its symbolic system, dominated by horned serpent and macaw imagery that is reflected on polychrome pottery and rock art, and in architecture. Southwestern archaeologists generally agree that the Casas Grandes phenomenon reflects one of the most socially complex pre-Columbian cultural systems in the North American Southwest. The area is dominated by pueblolike communities built on river flood plains, but the defining characteristics are best illustrated at Paquimé (formally called Casas Grandes), the economic and political heart of the system.

Keywords: Casas Grandes Phenomenon; religious system; symbolic system; macaw imagery; cultural systems; flood plains

Article.  5131 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology of North America

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