Archaeology of Religion in Nicaragua

Author(s): Monica Briseno

Year: 2017


This past summer I was given the opportunity to participate in an archaeology field school conducted in the country of Nicaragua. For the past 15 years, archaeologists have excavated sites along the shore of Lake Cocibolca in search for Mexican colonization. During my participation in the field school, we continued this quest through investigations at the site of El Rayo, the most significant site for studying the potential impact of outsiders on indigenous cultural traditions. The core theoretical perspective focused on the interpretation of culture change, especially ethnicity, in the centuries leading up to the Spanish Conquest in 1522 CE. As such, the results are of fundamental importance to developing claims of cultural identity by existing indigenous groups in the region. Ethnohistorical accounts from the 16th century CE describe the indigenous cultures of Pacific Nicaragua, including strong evidence for shared Mesoamerican cultural and linguistic traits. Using the ethnographic information, ceramic analysis, and research I collected during my time in Nicaragua I will attempt to interpret the religious aspects of pre-Columbian indigenous cultures, bolstered by a cultural comparison of pre-Columbian indigenous cultures of Nicaragua to that of Mesoamerica.

Cite this Record

Archaeology of Religion in Nicaragua. Monica Briseno. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430189)

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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): 17510