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The Quest for Gold: An Examination of Socioeconomic Exchange and Autonomy in the Parita River Valley, Panama

Author(s): Mikael Haller

Year: 2015

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Through the Parita Archaeological Research Project (PARP), we have investigated socioeconomic change in Central Region of Panama using several different scales of analysis. More specifically, we examined the relationship between episodes of social change and the following factors: sociopolitical organization, craft specialization and economic interdependence, and control and manipulation of trade goods, subsistence resources and ritual space. Despite the presence of some long-distance trade goods, the majority of goods, high-status and utilitarian, appear to have been acquired locally. Our results do not support the existence of chiefdoms with great disparities in wealth and power, as detailed by the chroniclers in the sixteenth century for Panama and suggested by excavation of elaborate burials. On the other hand, we argue that there was more socioeconomic autonomy than previously thought.

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The Quest for Gold: An Examination of Socioeconomic Exchange and Autonomy in the Parita River Valley, Panama. Mikael Haller. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396506)


Chiefdoms Panama

Geographic Keywords
Central America

Spatial Coverage

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

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