One critical element to the development of ceramics in Mata Ortiz is its proximity to the Paquimé or Casa Grandes archeological site. Paquimé is one of the most important archeological sites in northwest Mexico/southwest U.S. region and center of the Mogollon culture. This culture reached its peak around 1400, with evidence of its influence hundreds of kilometers from its center in present-day Chihuahua state. Excavations of Paquimé were undertaken between 1958 and 1961 by archeologist Charles C. Di Peso, which sparked local interest in the site, However, by the time the pottery revival began in Mata Ortiz, Paquimé had not been studied as well as other desert cultures in the region and there was little expert knowledge about its pottery. Since then, the Museo de las Culturas del Norte was opened at Paquimé in 1997 and it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.