How Modern Boundaries Blind Us to the Pre-Columbian Known World:a view from the Southwest/Northwest

Author(s): Randall McGuire

Year: 2017


Archaeologists live in a North America divided by lines. These lines include the borders of nations, the boundaries of states and provinces and the limits that we as archaeologists have drawn around culture areas. These lines affect in subtle and complex ways, how we frame questions, how we define the boundaries of our studies, what journals we read, what colleagues we talk to, where we go to school and dozens of other aspects of archaeology. Most if not all of these lines had no meaning for the ancient peoples of the continent. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Southwest of the United States and the Northwest of México. Here archaeologists have traditionally drawn a hard boundary between a Southwest and a Mesoamerican culture area. The national border between the U.S. and México has aided and abetted in this conception. International, collaborative research has allowed archaeologists working in northern México to transcend both the political border and the cultural areas. The result of this research has been a more dynamic, integrated and expansive understanding of interregional interactions on a continental scale.

Cite this Record

How Modern Boundaries Blind Us to the Pre-Columbian Known World:a view from the Southwest/Northwest. Randall McGuire. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429396)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 13188