Trade, exchange, production and consumption in pre-Columbian and colonial Lower Central America (Panama Nicaragua and Costa Rica)

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

This symposium examines material manifestations and theoretical aspects of trade, exchange, production and consumption in pre-Columbian and colonial Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Both organic (plant and animal) remains and a variety of artifact classes (including, but not limited to, ceramics, stone tools and shell artifacts) are examined and discussed. The production, use and discard of material goods is examined with attention paid to evidence of craft specialization and long- and short-range trade and exchange. Production and consumption of perishables, especially plant and animal foods, is examined in terms of identification of regional consumption patterns and possible human effects on these resources and past environments. This symposium hopes to renew interest in this dynamic geographic region linking Mesoamerica and Andean South America.

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  • Documents (8)

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

  • As Good as it Sounds: Archaeology of Las Delicias, Managua, Nicaragua (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only 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...

  • Chinina, Panama. First evidence of pre-hispanic raised fields in Central America (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Juan Martin. Rainer Schreg. Tomás Mendizábal. Dolores Piperno. Richard Cooke.

    Aerial photography has been known as an extremely useful tool of archaeological prospection for nearly one century. In recent years however it gained increasing importance by two reasons: First the availability of high quality aerial photographs via internet made it quite easy to start archaeological surveys even in remote areas. Second archaeological perspectives on past human societies changed in recent decades. Modern ecological problems caused an increasing interest in landscape...

  • "Conspicuous Consumption" in Ancient Costa Rica and Panama (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Scott Palumbo.

    This paper reviews the evidence for mortuary ranking in pre-Columbian Costa Rica and Panama, specifically as it relates to participation in broader trade and exchange networks. An interpretative approach originally developed by Halstead and O'Shea is evaluated against the Binford-Saxe model. SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the...

  • Exchange, production and consumption of exotic and exclusive goods in the delta of Diquís, Costa Rica. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Francisco Corrales-Ulloa. Adrián Badilla-Cambronero.

    Exchange and consumption of various goods in late prehistoric period chiefdom societies of the Diquís Delta, southern Costa Rica is discussed. Because of its geographical position and socio-economic development the Diquís region had a major role in exchange and regional relations, in Greater Chiriquí (southeastern Costa Rica and western Panama), and at the extra regional level (southern Central America). Various goods (metal objects, statuary, polychrome and biscuit pottery, polished axes, stone...

  • Farming and Foraging in Late Ceramic Period Society at Sitio Drago, Western Caribbean Panama (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lana Martin.

    This paper examines patterns in plant and animal remains excavated from midden contexts at Sitio Drago, a 1400-year-old village site located on a Caribbean island in Panama. To date, most studies of farming and foraging in ancient Panama have focused on villages located in the central highlands and Pacific foothills – regions with a cooler, drier tropical climate that better facilitates agricultural productivity. Although highly informative, these studies alone do not provide us with a complete...

  • Guns, Shipwrecks, and Investigations of Spanish Colonial Trade and Privateering in the 17th Century: The Chagres River Maritime Borderland, Panamá (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Frederick Hanselmann. Christopher Horrell. Melanie Damour-Horrell. Bert Ho.

    For more than 500 years, Panamá’s Chagres River has been a nexus for maritime activity. The river served as the original trans-isthmian passage between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean where precious metals, gems, and other commodities were transported in support of Spain’s empire and mercantilist policies. The wealth created by this trade led to the establishment of Spanish cities, ports, and fortifications on either side of the isthmus protecting the maritime borderland of Spanish...

  • Trade, Exchange, Production and Consumption at Sitio Drago, Bocas del Toro, Panama (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Thomas Wake.

    Sitio Drago is a large (18 ha) pre-Columbian settlement strategically located on the NW corner of Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro, Panama. Prior to the 21st Century Bocas del Toro had been characterized as recently colonized, poorly populated, having a relatively low degree of sociopolitical elaboration and isolated. Continuing research over the last 10 years on Isla Colon, focusing on Sitio Drago, illustrates that the site and by extension, the region, has a much longer population history, a...