Farming and Foraging in Late Ceramic Period Society at Sitio Drago, Western Caribbean Panama

Author(s): Lana Martin

Year: 2015


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 picture of food production in Lower Central American chiefdoms. Villages located in the warmer, wetter climate of the western Caribbean lowlands contribute an additional narrative of marginal landscape improvement, giving us more insight into sustainable adaptations possible in societies past and present. This paper presents the first integrative analysis of plant and animal remains from Western Panama. Preliminary findings indicate people at Sitio Drago intensively processed staple plant food crops of either maize or manioc while relying heavily on tree fruits and palm nuts, suggesting a long-term investment in producing fertile agricultural fields and managing locally-available forest resources. Results of this project highlight the diverse array of subsistence economies and productive landscape modifications capable of supporting large-scale populations, particularly in marginal regions.

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Cite this Record

Farming and Foraging in Late Ceramic Period Society at Sitio Drago, Western Caribbean Panama. Lana Martin. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396151)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;