Traveling and trading in Ancient Costa Rica

Author(s): Yajaira Núñez-Cortés

Year: 2015


Evidence of trading between Greater Nicoya and the Central region of Costa Rica increases in the later Pre-Columbian periods (AD 800-1550), likely tied to the expansion of commercial networks from more complex chiefdoms. Different trading routes have been proposed, including the Central Pacific as one the possible gateways to the Central Valley. The feasibility of trade routes in that region is explored and evaluated here taking into account the known archaeological sites and routes followed by the first Spaniard explorers in the Conquest time.

Local as well as inter-regional exchange included more archaeologically visible goods such as polished stone, gold and polychrome ceramics. However, other more perishable items such as cacao, maize, salt, cotton, animal skins, etc. could have been part of an established trading network moving across the territory of modern Costa Rica by land and river routes, and even beyond it by sea routes. Ethno-historical documents are used here as a necessary tool to understand the economic dynamics in the area and the type of products moving in Colonial times, providing insight into pre-Hispanic trade.

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Cite this Record

Traveling and trading in Ancient Costa Rica. Yajaira Núñez-Cortés. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396511)


Costa Rica Trade

Geographic Keywords
Central America

Spatial Coverage

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