The Monagrillo Ceramic Complex of Panama in Subsistence and Social Contexts

Author(s): Carly Pope

Year: 2017


The Monagrlon ceramic complex has been identified at myriad archaeological sites around Parita Bay, Panama. These vary widely in geography from costal, to inland, to riverine places. In these different environments, there is disparate and varied evidence of agriculture, indications of hierarchical social structures, and relationships with the creation of pottery at Panamanian sites. I theorize that maritime resources as opposed to cultivation formed the basis of these sedentary or semi-sedentary groups, which made and used Monagrillo pottery to meet specific social needs. Some have posited that ceramics were initially created to store or cook staple grains, but the evidence from Panama indicates that agriculture was either not practiced or not relied on at the time pottery first appears in the archaeological record. Instead, maritime resources likely formed the foundation of these economies, as evinced by their geographicnpositions and the abundance of shell and fish bones excavated in the strata containing this incipient pottery. Without an agricultural impetus to create pottery, another catalyst for its invention must have existed. The scale and decoration of these sherds indicate that this catalyst was likely social: the expression of group or individual identity, status in a hierarchical society, or ideology..

Cite this Record

The Monagrillo Ceramic Complex of Panama in Subsistence and Social Contexts. Carly Pope. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429905)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Ceramics Panama Pottery

Geographic Keywords
Central America

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17485