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Mountain Doorways: Caves, Shelters, and Rock Art in Past and Present Southwestern Honduras

Author(s): Alejandro Figueroa

Year: 2016

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Caves and shelters hold a special place among Mesoamerican cultures. Some of the earliest evidence of human occupation in this region is found inside these natural features, where well-preserved materials attest to the detailed knowledge past populations had of their surrounding landscapes and resources. In later time periods, caves were treated as the portals to the underworld and became an essential part of Mesoamerican ideology. The landscape of the Santa Elena highlands of southwestern Honduras is defined by its numerous shelters and caves, all of which have been used and continue to be used to some degree by its inhabitants. This paper presents the results of a multi-disciplinary research project that demonstrated significant long-term use of sheltered sites in this area, documenting their use as residences, locales for communal gatherings and rituals, and as places of burial. This study and previous work in the area suggest that caves, shelters and the rock art within have been and continue to be sites charged with meaning and importance for the groups that have visited and inhabited them for the past 10,000 years.

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Mountain Doorways: Caves, Shelters, and Rock Art in Past and Present Southwestern Honduras. Alejandro Figueroa. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403494)


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