CASAS GRANDES (i.e., in Spanish, Great Houses), a town of Mexico, in the province of Chihuahua, situated on the Casas Grandes or San Miguel River, about 35 miles S. of Milos and 150 miles N.W. of the city of Chihuahua. It is celebrated for the ruins of early Mexican buildings still extant, about half a mile from its present site. They are built of " sun-dried blocks of mud and gravel, about 22 inches thick, and of irregular length, generally about 3 feet, probably formed and dried in situ." The walls are in some places about 5 feet thick, and they seem to have been plastered both inside and outside. The principal edifice extends 800 feet from N. to S. and 200 E. to W.; its general outline is rectangular, and it appears to have consisted of three separate piles united by galleries or lines of lower buildings. The exact plan of the whole has not as yet been made out, but the apartments have evidently varied in size from mere closets to extensive courts. The walls still stand at many of the angles with a height of from 40 to 50 feet, and indicate an original elevation of several stories, perhaps six or seven. At a distance of about 450 feet from the main building are the substructions of a smaller edifice, consisting of a series of rooms ranged round a square court, so that there are seven to each side besides a larger apartment at each corner. The whole district of Casas Grandes is further studded with artificial mounds, from which are excavated from time to time large numbers of stone axes, metates or corn-grinders, and earthen vessels of various kinds. These last have a white or reddish ground, with ornamentation in blue, red, brown or black, and are of much better manufacture than the modern pottery of the country. Similar ruins to those of Casas Grandes exist near the Gila, the Salinas, and the Colorado, and it is probable that they are all the erections of one people. Squier is disposed to assign them to the Moquis.
See vol. iv. of The Xativ,e Races of the Paelfic States of Avorth America, by Squier,whose principal authorities are the Solidus del Estado de Chihuahua of Escudero, who visited the ruins in 1819 ; an article in the first volume of the Album. Mexicans, the author of which was at Casas Grandes in 1842; and the Personal Xarrative of Mr Bartlett, who explored the locality in 1851.