The Medio period (ca. A.D. 1150–1475) at the primate center of Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico, is characterized by polychrome pottery with elaborate, finely painted designs. This originally was presumed to be the peak of an evolutionary sequence that began with coarse, simple decoration. New research and dating show that this was not the case. Instead, fine painting and an elaborate set of design motifs are added to the older, simpler style at about A.D. 1300. Both types of decoration are produced through the fourteenth century. The addition of the new style is coincident with the rise of Casas Grandes and was one part of a symbolic package that emphasized the prestige of the center. It is further argued that the collapse of the primate center in the fifteenth century saw the demise of its symbolism. The older and simpler part of the Medio period tradition, however, likely continued to be made at small, scattered post-Casas Grandes communities. These have been unrecognizable in surface surveys, as their sparse surface ceramic assemblages contain Medio period utilitarian wares. This has led to the supposition that the Casas Grandes area was abandoned after the fall of the primate center. This long-popular belief may be incorrect.