Archaeological Zone of Paquimé, Casas Grandes

Archaeological Zone of Paquimé, Casas Grandes

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 south-western 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.

Zone archéologique de Paquimé, Casas Grandes

Paquimé, Casas Grandes, qui atteignit son apogée aux XIVe et XVe siècles, joua un rôle essentiel dans les relations commerciales et culturelles qu'entretenaient la culture « pueblo » du sud-ouest des États-Unis et du nord du Mexique et les civilisations plus avancées d'Amérique centrale. Les nombreux vestiges, qui n'ont été que partiellement dégagés, témoignent de la vigueur d'une culture parfaitement adaptée à son environnement physique et économique et qui devait pourtant disparaître brutalement au moment de la conquête espagnole.

منطقة باكيمي الأثرية في كازاس غراندس

لعبت باكيمي في كازاس غراندس التي وصلت الى ذروة ازدهارها في القرنَيْن الرابع عشر والخامس عشر، دورًا أساسيًا في العلاقات التجارية والثقافية التي كانت تقوم بها حضارة "بويبلو" في جنوب غرب الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وفي شمال المكسيك، والتي كانت تقوم بها أيضًا الحضارات الأحدث منها في أميركا الوسطى. وتشهد الآثار العديدة التي لم يتمّ استخراج سوى جزءٍ منها، على قوّة ثقافة تكيّفت بشكلٍ تامٍ مع بيئتها الطبيعيّة والاقتصاديّة والتي كان اختفاؤها محسومًا عند الغزو الاسباني.

source: UNESCO/ERI

大卡萨斯的帕魁姆考古区

大卡萨斯的帕魁姆在公元14世纪至15世纪达到了鼎盛时期,它当时作为贸易和文化纽带连接着现在美国西南部地区和墨西哥北部地区,以及中美洲其他一些高度文明的民族。该遗址拥有大量文物,尽管只有一部分被挖掘了出来,但仍然足以证明当时该地区文化的活力,并且显示出这一文化与当地的地理经济环境之间的和谐统一。但是,这一文明在西班牙征服时期突然消失了。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Археологический памятник Пакиме, район Касас-Грандес

Пакиме в районе Касас-Грандес, достигший апогея развития в XIV-XV вв., играл ключевую роль в торговых и культурных связях между территориями, населенными индейцами пуэбло на юго-западе нынешних Соединенных Штатов и на севере Мексики, и более развитыми цивилизациями Центральной Америки. Внушительные руины, раскопанные только частично, являются ярким свидетельством жизненной силы культуры, которая была превосходно приспособлена к природным и экономическим условиям этого региона, но внезапно исчезла ко времени испанского завоевания.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Zona arqueológica de Paquimé (Casas Grandes)

Paquimé (Casas Grandes) desempeñó un papel clave en las relaciones comerciales y culturales entre la cultura pueblo –que se extendía por el sudoeste del actual territorio de los Estados Unidos y el norte de México– y las civilizaciones más avanzadas de Mesoamérica. Alcanzó su apogeo en los siglos XIV y XV. Los numerosos vestigios de este sitio, excavado tan sólo en parte, atestiguan la vitalidad de una cultura perfectamente adaptada al medio ambiente y el entorno económico, que desapareció bruscamente en tiempos de la conquista de México por los españoles.

source: UNESCO/ERI

パキメの遺跡、カサス・グランデス

source: NFUAJ

Archeologische zone van Paquimé, Casas Grandes

De zone Paquimé, Casas Grandes bereikte haar hoogtepunt in de 14e en 15e eeuw. Het gebied speelde een belangrijke rol in de handel en de culturele contacten tussen de Pueblo cultuur van het zuidwesten van de Verenigde Staten, het noorden van Mexico en de meer geavanceerde beschavingen van Midden-Amerika. De uitgebreide ruïnes zijn het bewijs van een vitale cultuur – perfect aangepast aan de fysieke en economische omgeving – die plotseling verdween op het moment van de Spaanse verovering. De overblijfselen tonen ook de ontwikkeling van de lemen architectuur in Noord-Amerika en de vermenging hiervan met de meer geavanceerde technieken van Midden-Amerika.

Source: unesco.nl

  • English
  • French
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Japanese
  • Dutch
© UNESCO
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief Synthesis

The archaeological zone of Paquimé is located in the Municipality of Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico. It is located at the foot of the Sierra Madre Occidental range near the headwaters of the Casas Grandes River. It 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. 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 of hundreds of rooms, with doors in a "T" shape and the prehispanic site still maintains its original planning on three axes: axis of housing units, the axis of squares, and the axis of ceremonial buildings.

It 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. Paquimé played a key role in trade and cultural contacts between the Pueblo culture of the south-western 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, 

Criterion (iii) : Paquimé, Casas Grandes, bears eloquent and abundant testimony to an important element in the cultural evolution of North America, and in particular to prehispanic commercial and cultural links.

Criterion (iv) : The extensive remains of the archaeological site of Paquimé, Casas Grandes, provide exceptional evidence of the development of adobe architecture in North America, and in particular of the blending of this with the more advanced techniques of Mesoamerica.

Integrity

The inscribed property, 146 hectares, contains the most significant archaeological remains to convey the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. As the site has remained largely unexcavated, there is still a high degree of material integrity. Conservation and maintenance interventions have maintained the attributes of the property and there are currently no large threats derived from development.

Authenticity

Preserved and protected as an exceptional archaeological zone, the changes in its appearance had been prevented as well as and any major reconstruction activity. The site is undoubtedly a major archaeological reserve and maintains a high degree of authenticity.

Conservation work is mainly limited to re-rendering the original walls with earthen materials, with the same nature and properties as the original, to maintain its physical integrity and leave a sacrificial layer exposed to weathering and subsequent decay.

The factors underpinning the authenticity of Paquimé are also linked to the characteristics and attributes of the cultural environment of the peoples of the Grande and Colorado rivers regions. These ties are manifested in Paquimé in the magnificence of the constructions, in the shapes of the buildings, its architectural finishes including the famous design form of “T” and facades with porticos 

Protection and management requirements

The provisions for the protection and management of the archaeological zone are supported in the legal framework provided by the 1972 Federal Law on Historic, Archaeological and Artistic Monuments and Zones. The Archaeological Monuments Zone of Paquimé was created by Presidential Decree on 2 December 1992. The decree identified the boundaries and a buffer zone between the archaeological zone and the neighbouring town of Casas Grandes. The buffer zone is protected through the urban development plan.

The area protected by the decree has also been integrated in the records of the Declaration of Area Landmarks and Urban Development Plan Casas Grandes Chihuahua and the Public Registry of Property at the Casas Grandes Municipality in Chihuahua.

The property is managed by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), through its regional office in Chihuahua, in collaboration with state and municipal governments. INAH has human resources for the implementation of site management and museum activities geared towards the conservation of the site.

The institute provide the funds for the operation of the site and the development of research and education, but these funds are limited, which causes delays in the implementation of conservation and management actions. These shortcomings are reflected in the needs for facilities both at the site and the museum, the maintenance of the perimeter, among others. Additional elements that have yet to be addressed are archaeological materials warehouses, a special library and research facilities.

The management and conservation of the property will need to promote education and outreach, particularly children's workshops, the production of workbooks for children of different ages, public lectures on the topics of culture. Efforts will also need to be focused on presentation and interpretation and in fostering the scientific value of the property through systematic research, the creation of specialised facilities regarding the Paquimé culture and the conservation of earthen architecture. Work on supporting national and international workshops on the conservation of earthen architecture should also be continued.

Long Description

Paquimé Casas Grandes bears eloquent and abundant witness to an important element in the cultural evolution of North America, and in particular to pre-Hispanic commercial and cultural links. The extensive remains illustrate the development of adobe architecture in North America, and in particular the blending of this with the more advanced techniques of Mesoamerica.

The so-called Pueblo Culture of the south-west United States, based on agriculture, spread slowly southwards during the 1st millennium AD. A village of pit houses was founded at the site of Casas Grandes, in north-western Chihuahua, during the 8th century by Mogollon people from New Mexico. It developed slowly until the mid-12th century, when it underwent a dramatic expansion and cultural shift. The pit dwellings were replaced by more elaborate above-ground adobe structures on a complex layout. The presence of features such as platform mounds, ball courts, a sophisticated water-distribution system, and specialized storage buildings for exotic products such as macaws and turkeys, shell and copper artefacts, and agave indicates influence from the more advanced civilizations of Mesoamerica. It is uncertain whether this represents an invasion from the south or an indigenous expansion to handle a greatly increased volume of trade. Paquimé became a major mercantile centre, linked with a large number of smaller settlements around it. It has been estimated that the population during its peak period of prosperity, in the 14th and early 15th centuries, was of the order of 10,000, making it one of the largest proto-urban agglomerations in northern America.

Following the Spanish conquest of Mexico, a new social and economic structure on the European model was imposed upon the region, in which Paquimé played no part. It rapidly declined, and early Spanish explorers reported only small farming communities living in north-western Chihuahua. The final break-up came in the later 17th century, when intensive Spanish colonization of the area resulted in the displacement of the surviving inhabitants.

The archaeological site is located at the foot of the Sierra Madre Occidental range near the headwaters of the Casas Grandes River. It 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. Typical of these is the House of the Ovens, a block made up of a single-storey room and four stone-lined pits, with a mound of burnt rocks alongside. It forms part of a larger complex consisting of nine rooms and two small plazas. The pits were used for baking agave or sotal, using heated stones. The House of the Serpent consisted originally of 26 rooms and three plazas. It was later extended and adapted to provide enlarged facilities for raising macaws and turkeys, which seems to have been its primary function. A similar sequence can be observed in the House of the Macaws, so named because 122 birds were buried beneath its floors.

The Mound of the Cross, close to the House of the Ovens, consists of five low stone-lined and earth-filled mounds. The central mound is in the shape of an uneven cross, the arms of which roughly correspond with the cardinal points, which suggests that it played a role in celebrations to mark the equinoxes and solstices. The function of the Mound of the Offerings is less clear. It consists of a multilevel structure of rammed rubble, a puddle adobe precinct, and a ramp leading to one of the water-storage cisterns. The central portion contains seven rooms containing altar stones, statues and secondary burials. The Mound of the Bird takes its name from its outline, which resembles a headless bird facing east. No structures were found within it.

The water system consists of reservoirs linked by channels which distributed water to each of the room-blocks. The House of the Wells takes its name from the large storage cistern in one of its plazas that was fed from the common network. The sophistication of the system is shown by the presence of silting ponds at the entrance to each reservoir.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

The so-called Pueblo Culture of the south-west of the United States of America, based on agriculture, spread slowly southwards during the 1st millennium AD. A village of pit houses was founded at the site of Casas Grandes, in north-western Chihuahua, during the 8th century by Mogollon people from New Mexico. It developed slowly until the mid 12th century, when it underwent a dramatic expansion and cultural shift.

The pit dwellings were replaced by more elaborate above-ground adobe structures on a complex layout. The presence of features such as platform mounds, ball-courts, a sophisticated water-distribution system, and specialized storage buildings for exotic products such as macaws and turkeys, shell and copper artefacts, and agave indicates influence from the more advanced civilizations of Mesoamerica. There is still uncertainty among archaeologists as to whether this represents an invasion from the south or an indigenous expansion to handle a greatly increased volume of trade.

Paquimé became a major mercantile centre, linked with a large number of smaller settlements around it. It has been estimated that the population during its peak period of prosperity, in the 14th and early 15th centuries, was of the order of 10,000, making it one of the largest proto-urban agglomerations in northern America.

Following the Spanish conquest of Mexico a new social and economic structure on the European model was imposed upon the region, in which Paquimé played no part. It rapidly declined, and early Spanish explorers reported only small farming communities living in north-western Chihuahua. The final breakup came in the later 17th century, when intensive Spanish colonization of the area resulted in the displacement of the surviving inhabitants.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation