Natural Springs: A Critical Life Force in ancient Costa Rica

Author(s): Christine Dixon; Rachel Egan; Nancy Gonlin

Year: 2017


Water is a life sustaining substance, sought after, fought over, and revered in both the past and present. The relationship between humans and water resources is an essential component of our human history that warrants archaeological focus. Natural springs have been identified as key locations of archaeological remains throughout the Americas – places inherently intermixed with practices of drinking, bathing, cooking, and worship of the divine. In Costa Rica, the documentation of Silencio Phase (750 C.E.-1020 C.E) footpaths has led to a critical discovery of the significance of springs in this ancient landscape. This paper contextualizes recent discoveries in the Arenal area of Costa Rica by utilizing case studies of the meanings and uses of springs throughout the Intermediate and Mesoamerican regions. Findings suggest that the spring as a focus of investigation is an understudied component of Costa Rican archaeology and a vital component of ancient life.

Cite this Record

Natural Springs: A Critical Life Force in ancient Costa Rica. Christine Dixon, Rachel Egan, Nancy Gonlin. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430591)

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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): 16451