"Nicoya Polychromes" Beyond Greater Nicoya

Author(s): Larry Steinbrenner

Year: 2016


In the mid-20th century, Doris Stone described Las Vegas Polychrome, a brightly coloured ceramic ware found at sites in Honduras’ eastern highlands and the Comayagua Valley, as being “strongly reminiscent of western Nicaragua and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.” Meanwhile, contemporary archaeologists were happily classifying near-identical ceramics from eastern El Salvador as “Nicoya Polychromes”. More than a half century later, Las Vegas Polychrome remains only nominally defined, examples from El Salvador continue to be mistakenly viewed as imports from Nicaragua or Costa Rica, and the potential connections of both groups of ceramics to the comparatively better-known pottery of Greater Nicoya remain almost completely unexplored. This presentation will focus on some of the remarkable similarities between Las Vegas Polychrome and analogous ceramic types from Nicaragua and outline some of the most pressing unanswered questions concerning the ware, such as the potential significance of its presence along trade routes connecting Mesoamerica and Lower Central America and the mechanisms that might have contributed to the Early Postclassic production of roughly analogous ceramic types across a region that now spans four different modern countries in Central America.

Cite this Record

"Nicoya Polychromes" Beyond Greater Nicoya. Larry Steinbrenner. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403943)


Spatial Coverage

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