The Use of Shell Ornaments at Las Capas, an Early Agricultrual Site in Southern Arizona

Author(s): Christine Lange

Year: 2015


Recent excavations at the site of Las Capas, located along the Santa Cruz River in the Tucson Basin in southern Arizona, have given us an opportunity to examine an Early Agricultural period site in this area. Along with other pieces of material culture such as flaked stone and ground stone tools, ornaments manufactured from marine shell were also part of the lifeway of the local inhabitants. Deriving from locales in California and northern Mexico, where established marine shell ornament manufacturing industries were thriving, the shell ornaments of personal adornment recovered from this Early Agricultural site suggests that the local inhabitants were active participants in maintaining social and economic networks outside of the immediate surroundings. They also reveal that Early Agricultural period populations placed a high value on their shell ornaments. The study of shell ornaments recovered from Early Agricultural sites gives us a glimpse into the past as we attempt to understand the social, economic and cultural ways of earlier populations.

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Cite this Record

The Use of Shell Ornaments at Las Capas, an Early Agricultrual Site in Southern Arizona. Christine Lange. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396949)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;