What Ancient Civilization Lived in Chihuahua?

Chihuahua, a state in northern Mexico, has a rich history of ancient civilizations that once inhabited the region. One such civilization is the Paquimé culture, also known as the Casas Grandes culture.

History of the Paquimé Culture

The Paquimé culture thrived from around AD 1060 to 1340 and is known for its impressive architecture and pottery. The culture was named after its largest settlement, the archaeological site of Casas Grandes (Spanish for “big houses”), which is located in present-day Chihuahua.


The Paquimé people were skilled architects and engineers who built multi-story buildings made of adobe and stone. The buildings had distinctive T-shaped doorways and were often decorated with intricate geometric designs. Some of these structures were as tall as four stories and had up to 50 rooms.


The Paquimé people were also known for their exceptional pottery. They used a technique called “coiling” to create their vessels, which involved rolling long strips of clay into coils and then stacking them on top of each other to form the desired shape. The pottery was then decorated with intricate patterns using a range of techniques including incising, painting, and appliqué.


Despite their impressive achievements in architecture and pottery, the Paquimé culture declined in the late 14th century for reasons that are still unclear. Some theories suggest that they faced environmental challenges such as drought or overuse of natural resources, while others suggest that they may have been invaded by neighboring tribes.


Despite their decline, the legacy of the Paquimé culture can still be seen in present-day Chihuahua. The archaeological site at Casas Grandes is a popular tourist destination and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The distinctive T-shaped doorways and intricate geometric designs of their buildings have also influenced modern architecture and design in the region.


The Paquimé culture was an ancient civilization that lived in Chihuahua from around AD 1060 to 1340. They were known for their impressive architecture and pottery, but declined for reasons that are still debated by historians. Despite their decline, their legacy can still be seen in present-day Chihuahua and continues to inspire modern architecture and design.