"A traveler without observation is a bird without wings."
CUEVA DE LA OLLA
Ancient Mogollon Cave of the Pot
Located about 47 KM’s away from the Pueblo Magico town of Casas Grandes is an important region called Valle de las Cuevas, or Valley of the Caves. This region is noted for having an ancient human record, dating back to 5500 BCE. As with many peoples of the Americas, the staple crop of this area was an ancestor of maize.
Cueva de la Olla is one of many sites that was inhabited in this region. The name “Cave of the pot” comes from the presence of a cuexcomate, a Nahuatl word describing a large vase-like granary made from stone. These granaries were necessary in this region due to cold winters, and the need to store food. There are granaries throughout the Sierra Madre Occidental that resemble the granary at this site.
Though hunters & gatherers settled in this region eons ago, it wasn’t until 950 – 1060 CE that the granary and structures here were constructed. Archaeologists theorize the Mogollon, Anasazi or Hohokam peoples arrived in this region, gradually evolving into the Paquime peoples of Casas Grandes.
It remains a mystery as to what became of the Paquime culture. Some theorize the Paquime may have retreated into the mountains due to famine, and may be the ancestors of today’s Raramuri peoples, who reside in the Sierra Tarahumara.