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By Gordon F. M. Rakita

Ancestors and Elites examines the connection among emergent social complexity and altering ritual practices on the prehispanic website of PaquimZ, Chihuahua, Mexico.

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Extra info for Ancestors and Elites: Emergent Complexity and Ritual Practices in the Casas Grandes Polity (Archaeology of Religion)

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Moreover, in such a situation, populations should aggregate in places most conducive to labor-intensive agricultural practices. Minimally, these would include river valleys and locations with significant floodplain or alluvial land (see Minnis et al. 2006). , at Paquimé, along the Río Piedras Verdes and Arroyo La Tinaja, in the Arroyo Seco Valley, at Galeana near the Río Santa María) where water is most available and cultivatable land is abundant. Evidence from human burials also supports the idea of a rapid increase in population during the Early Medio period.

Their relatively low numbers and high diversity of forms suggest an opportunistic acquisition process. Twenty-two Pilon phase burials were uncovered by excavators. Again, most burials were in sealed pits (also approximately 80 cm deep) within the community’s plaza area. Two unsealed burial pits were located within the fill of previously abandoned structures. All were primary, and most were single interments. Three multiple burials were encountered. Facing and orientation of the deceased, as with the Convento phase, were variable.

The increasing proportion of these polychrome types is mirrored by a concomitant decline in the percentage of bichrome types. Data from surveys completed in the 1930s (Brand 1933, 1935; Carey 1931; Sayles 1936a, 1936b) have amply demonstrated that considerable geographic variation existed in the distribution of the various Medio period polychrome types (see also Fish and Fish 1999, fig. 6). In particular, Villa Ahumada Polychrome is localized around the middle Santa María and Carmen rivers, Babicora Polychrome around the Babicora Basin, Ramos Polychrome around Paquimé, and Carretas and Huerigo Polychrome throughout the northern Bavispe and Carretas drainages along the Sonoran-Chihuahuan border.

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