The role of geography in the development of Paquimé: a cost-surface analysis to determine patterns of trade for copper bells from western Mexico into the southwestern United States
Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Paquimé is a pre-Hispanic site in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. The chronology for its development begins with an understanding of the events of the Medio period, AD 800-1520. This period is divided into Phase I (AD 800-1250) and concludes in Phase II (AD 1250-1520). During Phase I, Paquimé is little more than a village in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert. In the span of a few years near the beginning of Phase II, Paquimé exploded onto the international scene, exhibiting characteristics of both Mesoamerica and the American Southwest.
Archaeologically, Paquimé is a site rich in architecture, public works, and artifact assemblages. Unfortunately, archaeologists disagree about the activities that caused these features to be at Paquimé. Despite years of work there, it is still unclear to archaeologists why Paquime developed more than other communities in the region. Paquimé may have participated in the trade network between what is today Mesoamerica and the American Southwest because of its convenient geographical location The precise role of Paquimé in the long-distance trade routes is not known, and the level of its importance is in dispute.
Why did Paquimé grow into one of the largest pueblos of the Southwest? Exchange of exotica between what is now the United States and Mexico may have been a factor in the growth of Paquimé. The movement of goods through exchange networks provided residents of polities like Paquimé with access to foreign-produced 'elite' goods. The movement of 2 these goods through space likely occurred along the path or paths of least resistance - the trade route(s) that offered optimum movement with minimum effort. It also provided opportunities for Paquimé to grow and develop through interactions with other polities.
This research project has been designed to utilize a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to elucidate the impetus for the development of Paquimé, a pre-Hispanic polity that developed in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua during Phase II of the Medio period.
(Abstract is an excerpt of the thesis introduction).
Hale, Lynn, "The role of geography in the development of Paquimé: a cost-surface analysis to determine patterns of trade for copper bells from western Mexico into the southwestern United States." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2004.
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