Casas Grandes, mitochondrial, DNA, archaeology


The Casas Grades region in northwest Chihuahua, Mexico, is ideally situated to explore the notion of contact between the Southwest/Northwest and Mesoamerica, as it lies geographically in the borderlands where traditions of both culture areas were practiced. In order to explain these ties, past researchers have suggested the flourishing Casas Grandes population in the thirteenth century AD was caused by migrants from Mesoamerica, as first suggested by Di Peso in his pochteca hypothesis. Others, such as Lekson and his Chaco Meridian hypothesis, suggest migration from the north. Mitochondrial genetic data from earlier and later time periods provides the ability to reanalyze which, if any, direction these connections can be made. Comparing the full mitogenomes from 140 individuals, we show that low levels of migration occurred diachronically, although they still may have contributed to hybridized cultural practices. While the likelihood for wide-scale population replacement is soundly rejected, the genetic data suggest the possibility of smaller-scale migration.

Original Publication Citation

Snow, Meradeth, and Michael T. Searcy 2022 A Reanalysis of Population Dynamics in the Casas Grandes Region of Northern Mexico Using Mitochondrial DNA. Paper presented at the 87th Annual Meeting of the of the Society for American Archaeology, Chicago.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



Society for American Archaeology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor