Journal of World Prehistory

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 373–401

Prehistory of Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexico

  • David A. PhillipsJr.


The “North American Southwest” includes much of Mexico as well as the southwestern United States. The area north of the international border has been studied intensively and its culture history is widely known; the portion south of the border has usually been ignored. This essay proposes a new term for the entire culture area, “Northern Mexico,” and provides a summary of local sequences for two states in the region, Chihuahua and Sonora. The general sequence in the U.S. Southwest (Paleo-Indian, Archaic, and Ceramic periods) also holds in northwest Mexico. Preceramic occupations are poorly known. The Ceramic period saw the rise of a number of local cultures, which varied greatly in adaptation and social complexity. The basic culture pattern of Northern Mexico is derived from that of central Mexico, but direct Mesoamerican intervention in the region was apparently limited. While the issue of Mesoamerican-Northern Mexican relationships has dominated scholarly debate for decades, the greater need is to define and explain cultural variability within and between local sequences.

Key Words

Chihuahua Sonora Casas Grandes Northern Mexico 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. PhillipsJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Section, Laboratory of AnthropologyMuseum of New MexicoSanta Fe

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