Mohammed’s Paradise: indigenous society and natural surroundings in southern Central America

Author(s): Alexander Geurds

Year: 2017


Human-environment relations are a point of interest in the archaeology of indigenous southern Central America, defined here to encompass Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. As such, it does not seem to deviate from other world regions. This focus in past and contemporary research reflects the weight given to the idea of natural surroundings as resource endowments, following the cultural ecology approach. Elsewhere, such emphases on material, and indeed economic, sides of human interactions with their surroundings were met with criticism in social and human geography and later also in archaeology. This led up to the manifold contributions by what came to be known as landscape archaeology, or the interest in relations between people and place.

This paper examines the status of such conceptual rethinking for the regional archaeology of southern Central America. Certainly, the widespread volcanism situated in a unique continental isthmian setting with significant tectonic activity, offers a geography with a particular set of conditions for human societies living there. Alongside regional trajectories of cultural development demonstrating remarkable stability, it seems feasible therefore to develop particular regional notions on the natural surroundings. But which concepts are mobilized in analyses of the archaeological record in this region?

Cite this Record

Mohammed’s Paradise: indigenous society and natural surroundings in southern Central America. Alexander Geurds. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431634)


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): 16804