Viejo Period, Chihuahua culture, community organization


he history of the Medio Period is marked by population growth, aggregation, ideological shifts, and the building of the large, central polity of Paquimé (Casas Grandes). But before this colossal social transformation took place, people in northwest Chihuahua lived a lifestyle that had persisted for at least 400 years, which is known as the Viejo Period. his period is far from the beginning of human occupation in this area; Paleo points, extensive Archaic remains, the early agricultural site of Cerro Juanaqueña (Hard and Roney 1998), and an early pithouse period preceded Paquimé and can be seen as more distant precursors of the Chihuahua culture. Di Peso’s (1974, vols. 1–3) postulated-Plainware Period has yet to be isolated, but may exist. However, the Viejo Period is certainly the beginning of a lifestyle of increased sedentism associated with more intensive maize agriculture and life in hamlets and small villages. his way of living produced a social milieu that formed a foundation for transition to the Medio Period.

Original Publication Citation

Kelley, Jane H., and Michael T. Searcy 2015 Beginnings: The Viejo Period. In Ancient Paquimé and the Casas Grandes World, Chihuahua, Mexico, edited by Paul E. Minnis and Michael E. Whalen, pp.17-40. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



University of Arizona Press




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor