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Central America (Geographic Keyword)

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The 2016 Season at El Rayo, Nicaragua: Civic-Ceremonial Structures, Tombs, and Feasting from the Bagaces to Sapoa Transition (2017)

Citation DOCUMENT Shaelyn Rice. Geoffrey McCafferty. Sharisse McCafferty. Dieuwertje van Boekel.

Expanding on prior field seasons, the 2016 field school at El Rayo, with the support of the Institute for Field Research, continued the exploration of the unique Bagaces to Sapoa transition period site, located on the Asese Peninsula, Lake Nicaragua. This season focused of the excavation of four loci, continuing to explore previous questions regarding cultural activities in Pacific Nicaragua. Loci 2 and 4, which had been studied in previous field seasons were expanded, while new Loci 6 and 7...

About Face: A Head-On Examination of Pre-Columbian Social Identity (2017)

Citation DOCUMENT Emilie LeBrell. Geoffrey McCafferty.

A desire for art to reflect social identity is made apparent through prolific representations of human faces in Pre-Columbian ceramics. The ceramic art of Greater Nicoya and the surrounding regions demonstrates an intrinsic drive to communicate distinct group characteristics and illustrates the importance of individuals’ bodies as instruments of both personal expression and social relationships. Physical expressions of collective identity foster a sense of belonging and satisfy the human desire...

Absolute Chronology of the Early Formative Revisited: Bayesian Analysis, Radiocarbon Chronology, and the Emergence of Pottery in the Americas (2016)

Citation DOCUMENT John Hoopes.

In 1987, the author’s doctoral dissertation featured a comprehensive analysis of calibrated radiocarbon dates associated with the earliest ceramic complexes in the Americas towards a model for the emergence of sedentary lifeways. This resulted in a critical evaluation of James Ford’s posthumously published model for the Early Formative diffusion of pottery as well as other cultural features in a region extending from the Southeastern U.S. through Mesoamerica and the Isthmo-Colombian Area to the...

Afrocolonial Archaeology in Panama: La Villa de Santiago del Principe, the first free African peoples of the Americas (2015)

Citation DOCUMENT Tomas Mendizabal. Jordi Tresserras. Javier Laviña. Ricardo Piqueras. Marta Hidalgo.

The first free African peoples of the Americas were the inhabitants of the town of La Villa de Santiago del Príncipe, founded in 1579 when Don Luis de Mozambique and his followers became the first group of cimarrones (escaped slaves) to negotiate a peace with the Spanish Crown, after decades of what came to be known as the "Cimarron wars". These were a conflict in which cimarrones would predate upon Spanish isthmian trade routes and even support foreign attacks on the mainland. Weary of the...

All in Good Time: the "New Highland Chronology" and the Sculptures of Kaminaljuyú, Guatemala (2015)

Citation DOCUMENT Lucia Henderson.

This paper considers the impact of the new highland chronology proposed by Dr. Inomata on prevailing interpretations of the stone sculptures of Kaminaljuyú. The revised chronology moves the archaeological record of Kaminaljuyú approximately 300 years forward, shifting the site’s sculptures to a wholly new cultural and chronological framework. This paper begins the process of re-contextualizing the art of Kaminaljuyú by investigating the ways in which the new chronology disrupts and/or supports...

Always facing east…except when they’re not: Preliminary analysis of mortuary trends at Cahal Pech, Cayo, Belize (2015)

Citation DOCUMENT Kirsten Green. Ashley McKeown. Rosanne Bongiovanni.

Mortuary patterns and practices change over time and it is the goal of this poster to present preliminary analysis of the evolution of mortuary behavior of the Maya. This poster examines different variables pertaining to mortuary practices of the Maya throughout the Classic and Terminal Classic time periods at the core site of Cahal Pech in San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize. The analysis focuses on burial position, orientation, presence or absence of grave goods, temporal period, burial type,...

Analysis of In-tact Mummy Bundles from the 2014 Field Season at Panquilma (2015)

Citation DOCUMENT Anna Kelleher. Sudarsana Mohanty.

The Ychma site at Panquilma, dates from the 13th to 15th centuries, in the Lurin Valley of central coastal Peru. The site provides an interesting case study for the development of ideologies, specifically mortuary rituals, due to the close proximity and relationship the Ychma community maintained with the important Andean religious center of Pachacamac. Significantly, during excavations in the 2014 field season, two in-tact mummy bundles were found at the site. One was of an adult, found in...

The Ancient City of Dos Hombres: Material Expressions of Power (2017)

Citation DOCUMENT Rissa Trachman.

Investigations at the ancient Maya city of Dos Hombres have been guided by an interest in social, political and economic organization, based on architecture and material culture remains. Excavations in the civic ceremonial center of Dos Hombres have been focused in the northern plaza, a very public space that likely was a place of commerce, public ritual and sacred space, thereby the prime backdrop for publicly legitimizing authority. Newly excavated data, especially architectural exposures as...

Ancient Urbanites: The Spatial and Social Organization of Outlying Temple Groups at Ceibal, Guatemala (2017)

Citation DOCUMENT Melissa Burham.

Recent investigations of minor temple groups at Ceibal, Guatemala shed light on the social and spatial organization of ancient Maya cities. Many researchers suggest that minor temples were important integrative hubs in lowland Maya settlements. Because minor temples were constructed at regular intervals around the urban epicenter of Ceibal, it appears that they were integral to city planning, and likely the centers of localized communities. Although they may have been discrete social units, the...

Aplicación de la topometría digital en conservación e investigación de los monumentos mayas (2015)

Citation DOCUMENT Adelso Canan. Alexandre Tokovinine. Barbara Fash.

La documentación de los monumentos prehispánicos, ha sido uno de los objetivos principales de los investigadores de la cultura maya por la información que sus imágenes e inscripciones proveen sobre la historia, organización social y cosmovisión de los habitantes de las antiguas ciudades de Guatemala, México, Belice y Honduras. La documentación topométrica digital de alta resolución también conocida como escaneo en tres dimensiones (3D) representa una nueva fase en la investigación y...

Apropiación de recursos naturales, configuración territorial y paisajística en torno al río Lerma, Zona Metropolitana La Piedad-Pénjamo (2015)

Citation DOCUMENT Angeles Alberto-Villavicencio.

En este trabajo se analizan las formas de apropiación de los recursos naturales y el uso de los servicios ecosistémicos del río Lerma para las actividades cotidianas y económicas durante la época reciente, asimismo, se explican los procesos de configuración territorial y transformación paisajística en torno al río en la zona Metropolitana La Piedad-Pénjamo. Se analizan los procesos de degradación de la calidad ambiental del río que han alterado la provisión de servicios ecosistémicos, y se ponen...

Archaeology of Religion in Nicaragua (2017)

Citation DOCUMENT Monica Briseno.

This past summer I was given the opportunity to participate in an archaeology field school conducted in the country of Nicaragua. For the past 15 years, archaeologists have excavated sites along the shore of Lake Cocibolca in search for Mexican colonization. During my participation in the field school, we continued this quest through investigations at the site of El Rayo, the most significant site for studying the potential impact of outsiders on indigenous cultural traditions. The core...

Archaeology, Epigraphy and the Development of Long-term Alliance at La Corona, Guatemala (2016)

Citation DOCUMENT David Stuart. Marcello Canuto. Tomas Barrientos.

The integrated program of epigraphic and archaeological research at La Corona, Guatemala aims to document, analyze and understand the development of this highly unusual Maya center during of the Classic period. Known as Saknikte’ in ancient texts, La Corona served as the locus of a small court with its own dynastic history and exhibiting close and long-lasting familial and political ties with the far larger Kaanul or “Snake” kingdom centered at Dzibanche and Calakmul. Architectural excavations...

Architecture and Its Reflection of State Organization and Settlement Pattern in the Cochuah Region during the Terminal Classic Period (2015)

Citation DOCUMENT Tatiana Young.

A change in architectural style is often a result of changes in power and political organization. During the Terminal Classic Period which the Cochuah region exhibited changes in the settlement pattern, in sites layout, and in architectural components. The organization of space, directions, the location and the architectural design of buildings underwent some changes during this period. All registered sites in the Cochuah region were occupied during this period. In addition to occupation...

Arquitectura Preclásica en el Grupo Balam Acrópolis Central de El Mirador, Peten (2015)

Citation DOCUMENT AnaBeatriz Balcarcel.

La Gran Acrópolis Central es el corazón del sitio arqueológico El Mirador, el cual presenta diferentes grupos de edificaciones de variada complejidad. Uno de ellos es el Grupo Balam con arquitectura del Preclásico Tardío. Se investigó los aspectos físicos, espaciales, funcionales, sociales e ideológicos a través de una secuencia arquitectónica minuciosa. El estudio permitió conocer no solamente los materiales y sistemas constructivos, las remodelaciones arquitectónicas, el arte en estuco...

As Good as it Sounds: Archaeology of Las Delicias, Managua, Nicaragua (2015)

Citation DOCUMENT Jessica Manion. Geoffrey McCafferty. Carrie Dennett.

In 2008, housing development on the shore of Lake Xolotlan in a suburb of Managua discovered an extensive cemetery dating to the Late Tempisque period, ca. 1­300 CE. Dozens of individuals were recovered, along with a rich array of grave goods. A new phase of development in 2014 has been closely monitored by the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture. In July heavy machinery exposed a number of additional skeletons and a team from the University of Calgary volunteered to assist in the excavation...

Asking New Questions to Central Nicaraguan Pottery (2015)

Citation DOCUMENT Natalia Donner.

Pre-Hispanic Central Nicaraguan pottery has often been addressed as "poorly studied", or "problematic". Therefore, researchers still have a lot of questions regarding the region’s development and specially its interactions with other areas. Even though a ceramic sequence was established at the end of the 1980’s (Gorin 1990, Espinoza and Rigat 1994), analyses have traditionally focused on type-variety and modal traits, often concentrating on decoration techniques and motifs. As a result, we lack...

At Water’s Edge: Ritual Maya Animal Use in Aquatic Contexts at Cancuen (2015)

Citation DOCUMENT Erin Thornton. Arthur Demarest.

Excavations at the Late Classic Maya site of Cancuen (Petén, Guatemala) uncovered small-scale hydraulic systems including stone-lined canals and reservoirs within the site’s architectural core. The abundance of other nearby potable water sources, along with the elaborate form of the system demonstrate that it served an ideological rather than practical function. This interpretation is supported by the artifactual material deposited in the reservoirs, as well as by the fact that the hydraulic...

The Best of All Worlds: Exploring exchange and interaction with Nicoyan, Caribbean Costa Rican and Panamanian societies at the Southern Costa Rican site of El Cholo. (2015)

Citation DOCUMENT Roberto Herrera.

Recent work at the mid to late Formative site of El Cholo reveals that from at least the 3rd century AD, occupants of this mound complex interacted with Costa Rican Caribbean watershed social groups as well as western Panamanian Chiriquí societies. Evidence also demonstrates contact from as far north as the Guanacaste Nicoya region in place by the 10th or 11th centuries AD. Further analysis of the site suggests that interaction was likely initially predicated on trans-cordilleran ethnic and...

The Blue Creek rejollada revisited: transitional imprints on sedimentological records (2016)

Citation DOCUMENT Luisa Aebersold. Tim Beach. Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach. Tom Guderjan. Fred Valdez.

Early to mid-Holocene humans domesticated a wide variety of plants and animals, which widely changed societies and environments around the world. The Archaic period in the Maya Lowlands was suited for this transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture with its abundant resources such as edible wild plants and animals, fertile soils, and abundant freshwater. To better understand long-term societal and environmental changes by early inhabitants, we studied sedimentation and paleosols in a...

Booms, Busts, and Changing (Anti)Market Engagement in Pacific piedmont Guatemala (2015)

Citation DOCUMENT Luisa Escobar. Guido Pezzarossi.

Located in the cacao-rich Pacific piedmont region of Guatemala, the colonial period Kaqchikel Maya community of San Pedro Aguacatepeque produced cacao for the Iximche Kaqchikel polity prior to colonization. With the 16th century global cacao boom that followed Spanish colonization, cacao producing communities in the region became critical sources of this increasingly desired regional and global exchange good. The bust of the global cacao market in the latter part of the century, coupled with...

Camp Granada, the Next Generation: Recent Excavations at the El Rayo site, Pacific Nicaragua (2016)

Citation DOCUMENT Sharisse McCafferty. Geoffrey McCafferty.

El Rayo, located on the Asese Peninsula in Lake Cocibolca, continues to surprise with its archaeological resources. Initially identified as a small fishing community on the lakeshore, investigations in 2009 and 2010 revealed extensive mortuary remains as well as rich domestic refuse. In the summer of 2015, a field school by the Institute for Field Research re-opened excavations at the Locus 3 mortuary complex, uncovering additional burial urns in diagnostic Sacasa Striated ‘shoe-pot’ urns. A...

Categories, Space, and New Perspectives in A Late Classic Maya Community (2016)

Citation DOCUMENT Joshua Wright. Sarah E. Jackson. Christopher F. Motz. Linda A. Brown.

An interest in indigenous viewpoints has grown in recent years in archaeology, coupled with a commitment to integrating these perspectives more closely into the excavation process. To facilitate this there is a need for field recording systems that offer a means of incorporating the multivocality reflected in various perspectives, which can include not only alternative interpretations but also category systems for the archaeological data recovered. The Say Kah Archaeological Project, in the...

Central American Filter Funnel: Earliest American Adaptation To Tropical Forests (1989)

Citation DOCUMENT Alan L. Bryan.

This resource is a citation record only, the Center for Digital Antiquity does not have a copy of this document. The information in this record has been migrated into tDAR from the National Archaeological Database Reports Module (NADB-R) and updated. Most NADB-R records consist of a document citation and other metadata but do not have the documents themselves uploaded. If you have a digital copy of the document and would like to have it curated in tDAR, please contact us at

Central Peten Jato Black-on-Gray: A Look at Gray wares and Black Wares, Monkeys and Mortuaries (2016)

Citation DOCUMENT Prudence Rice.

Jato Black-on-Gray is an extremely rare Terminal Classic pottery type in central Petén, typically recovered as mortuary furniture. It is a hybrid, combining typical Petén forms with aspects of color, decoration, and use borrowed from wares and groups such as Chablekal Fine Gray and Achote Black, more common in western and southwestern Petén. In particular, an incised monkey image on a Jato vase from Tayasal ties it to common motifs on Chablekal bowls, which are also from burial contexts but were...

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America