The Columbian Exchange in Mesoamerica: Early Colonial Documents and Zooarchaeology in Guatemala

Author(s): Nicolas Delsol

Year: 2017


At the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century, the massive introduction of new animal species in the Americas put an unprecedented stress on both the environment and Native American societies. Although archaeological animal remains are often used to inform discussions on American-European transculturation in other areas, few such studies have been done in southern Mesoamerica. This talk will use historical sources and published zooarchaeological data to provide a first overview of the human-animal relationship during the first century of Spanish colonization in the Maya world. Primary data will be drawn from historical accounts from the former capital of the Audiencia, Santiago de Guatemala, and comparative zooarchaeological data from the period across Mesoamerica. During the early colonization, the trade of cattle hides and other animal products that can be traced archaeologically, was a significant source of riches for the European colonists. Santiago was also an important regional center and meeting place for the exchange of ideas between many ethnic groups including Spaniards, Mexican auxiliaries, Mayans and eventually, African slaves. The aim of this talk is to emphasize the relevance of further zooarchaeological research for informing us about this period of rapid cultural and environmental change.

Cite this Record

The Columbian Exchange in Mesoamerica: Early Colonial Documents and Zooarchaeology in Guatemala. Nicolas Delsol. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 428848)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15674