Temporary Exhibits

Casas Grandes Pottery and Painted Watercolors
from the Tom Lea Collection

October 1st –31st, 2017


Tom Lea Sr. acquired a collection of Casas Grandes pottery in the 1920s which included polychromes and plainwares dating to the Casas Grandes Medio Period (AD 1200 – 1450). According to accounts, noted artist Tom Lea III created a catalog of twenty vessels with painted watercolors and text in 1928. The El Paso Museum of Archaeology and the Tom Lea Institute are proud to present this exhibit of ten ceramic vessels and their corresponding watercolors in honor of Tom Lea Month.

Please join us on Sunday,October 29th from 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology for an afternoon of Tom Lea inspired activities including painting and plastic pottery making. At 1:00 PM Museum Director Jeff Romney will give a presentation on Casas Grandes pottery highlighting pieces on display from the Tom Lea collection. Admission is free!



Paquimé and the Casas Grandes Culture

May 20 - October 21, 2017​

El Paso Museum of Archaeology

The El Paso Museum of Archaeology announces Paquimé and the Casas Grandes Culture which opens to the public on May 20th, 2017.  Admission is free.  

The Exhibition

The Casas Grandes culture straddled the frontier region separating the great city-building empires of Mesoamerica and the rich mosaic of ancient cultures that inhabited the American Southwest roughly AD 700-1450.  Its driving center was arguably the city of Paquimé, or Casas Grandes as it is called today, an extensive ruin located in northwest Mexico, in the state of Chihuahua. The formative stages of the culture are recognizable as early as the 1st century AD.  In its heyday, AD 1200 –1450, Paquimé was the largest city in northern Mexico, covering nearly 88 acres, and was one of the largest cities in the greater Southwest. 

This exhibition highlights Paquimé’s importance as a center of regional trade and culture during the 13th and 14th centuries AD.  Located on Mesoamerica’s northern frontier, the city became an important trade center through which substantial quantities of turquoise, shell, colorful parrots, copper items and other commodities flowed north and south.  The Casas Grandes culture is noted for their complex technology of raising and perhaps breeding tropical birds such as Scarlet Macaws in a non-tropical environment, a remarkable accomplishment even by today’s standards.

The Casas Grandes culture is renowned for having produced some of the finest and most accomplished geometric pottery of the Pre-Columbian world.  This exhibition affords a wonderful opportunity to view many examples of this famous, visually-pleasing pottery.  Indeed, the collection of Casas Grandes pottery held at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology is possibly one of the largest in the Southwest and many pieces from the Naylor Collection donated a few years ago will display now for the first time. 

Complimenting this exhibition will be a smaller photograph exhibitionin the Museum’s auditorium showing three petroglyph sites in the Casas Grandes region. 

Paquimé (AD 1200-1450). Courtesy Jeff Romney



The Rocks Speak: Petroglyphs of the Casas Grandes Region

Through October 21, 2017​

El Paso Museum of Archaeology - EPMArch Auditorium

 
The Rocks Speak: Petroglyphs of the Casas Grandes Region exhibit focuses on three petroglyph sites near the archaeological site of Paquimé, located in Chihuahua, Mexico.  Assumed to date predominantly from AD 1200 – 1450 these petroglyphs include “bird men,”horned serpents, a priestly figure wearing a horned serpent headdress, concentric circles, stick figures, stepped patterns, and other unique designs.This exhibition complements Paquimé and the Casas Grandes Culture, our larger exhibit in the Museum’s North Gallery.