aDNA, archaeology, Casas Grandes, migration


Migration as an archaeological topic has addressed huge distances, such as the colonization of the Americas, as well as smaller regions, such as the peopling of specific sites. The use of genetics as a medium to enhance our understanding of population movement can be an asset. There are potential pitfalls, however, such as the misrepresentation of DNA ranging across the landscape without human vectors or motivations. Genetic data must be interpreted through the lens of all available data from the site and surrounding region in order to understand how it its into the potential for human migration. These ideas will be presented with mitogenome data accumulated from the site of Paquimé in Casas Grandes, Mexico, which has long been tied to hypotheses of migration from the south and north. How such migrations could be identified genetically and 􀜪t into the larger understanding of the site will be discussed, particularly in respect to the cultural transformation and fluorescence that marks the transition from the Viejo to Medio periods. While mitogenome data points to in situ population growth, our genetic evidence aligns with the archaeological record that individuals were migrating into the region from both the north and south. Our data points to the potential of individuals being brought to the site from elsewhere in what is now Mexico for sacrificial purposes, as well as regional migrants attracted to the site for reasons that may be associated with other cultural factors.

Original Publication Citation

Snow, Meradeth, and Michael T. Searcy 2021 Migrating Genes: Using aDNA and Archaeological Data to Explain Migration in the Casas Grandes Region of Northern Mexico. Paper presented at the 90th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



American Association of Physical Anthropologists




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor