Paquimé Archaeological Site
UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Mata Ortiz

Archaeologists and historians that have studied this site, establish similarities between the Paquimé, Mogollón and Hohokam cultures, from southwestern United States.  There are also vestiges of the Paquimé culture in Janos, Galeana and Villa Ahumada, and unmistakable Mezzo-American elements have been found dating from the years AD 350 to 1200.

The Paquimé culture has been divided in three eras:  Old Era from AD 700 to 900, Middle Era from 900 to 1060, and the Late Era from 1060 to its disappearance in 1340, when the city was destroyed by fire and abandoned.  When the buildings collapsed, hundreds were killed.

The Late Era produced multi-storied apartment buildings and a commerce system that extended from as far north as southern Colorado to as far as southern Mexico.

Their buildings were not made of adobe, as such, but were constructed of cast mud and caliché, using no straw or grass as a binder.  They plastered their walls to a smooth finish, usually with mud or caliché, and painted them white or decorated them with colored patterns and designs.

Their dwelling roofs were built with pine timbers of planks as supports, over which they placed a level of fibers and several inches of mud and earth.  The doors in their homes were usually made in the T-shape design so functional as a protective measure.

The Paquimé enjoyed many comforts for they had an efficient water system which brought hot water from the hot springs to the north, and distributed it all parts of the building complex.  They also had a drainage system that flushed away the refuse.  These water channels are visible throughout the ruins.

Many treasures were found buried in the corners of rooms, under the mud floors.  A beautiful museum houses the many artifacts and explains the history of the area.  A scale model of the city is on display.  I was not allowed to take pictures in the museum.

The first serious archaeological work taook place in the 1960s and during the 1990s the splendid Northern Cultures Museum was built.  UNESCO declared this area "Cultural Heritage for Humanity."

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