Paquime, diet, archaeology


As part of a larger multinational project, we gathered and analyzed 112 samples of dental calculus (fossilized plaque) from human remains discovered at Paquimé and other sites in the Casas Grandes river valley to identify various microfossils still present in the silica matrix. Once identified, we used the prehistoric plant remains to reconstruct human/plant relationships present during the Viejo and Medio periods in and around Paquimé. Our data suggest that maize was used throughout both time periods, which supports current theories regarding Paquimean diet. Various types of grasses were also found, as were unspecified types of algae. Using our data, together with what is already known regarding prehistoric plant use in northwestern Mexico, we suggest that the ancient inhabitants of Paquimé and its surrounding environs had a varied plant diet. Further, we claim that other plants were vital to sustaining life outside of dietary needs, as grasses, shrubs, and trees all likely provided necessary resources for the production of prehistoric Paquimean material culture.

Original Publication Citation

King, Daniel, Michael T. Searcy, and Kyle Waller 2016 Dietary Patterns of Paquimé: New Evidence from Dental Calculus and Microfossils. Paper presented at the 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



Society for American Archaeology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor