The Archaeology of Travel in Greater Nicoya

Author(s): Adam Benfer

Year: 2018


Sometime before AD 1, a dynamic interaction and exchange network developed among the villages and hamlets of Greater Nicoya. The range and frequency of trade within this region is demonstrated by geochemically sourced ceramic and stone artifacts. The travel routes along which these artifacts were traded remain poorly understood. Geographic information systems (GIS) offer a means to predictively model the optimal terrestrial and aquatic travel routes that interconnected the settlements of Greater Nicoya. Accounting for both pedestrian travel on land and canoe-borne travel in the rivers and lakes, I use a GIS to present a probable simulation of the travel infrastructure that facilitated the regional movement of trade goods. I then test and refine the results of my simulations against the rest of the archaeological record. By interpreting this simulated travel network and the given distribution of traded goods within an intersocietal interaction framework, I discuss the role that intraregional movement and mobility played in the evolution of the societies that once thrived in this section of southern Central America. While some trade goods traveled long distances, most interactions were oriented locally or among neighboring polities.

Cite this Record

The Archaeology of Travel in Greater Nicoya. Adam Benfer. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444791)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -92.153; min lat: -4.303 ; max long: -50.977; max lat: 18.313 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21551