"Across the Agua to Managua" and Beyond: Getting Past Migration in Nicaraguan Prehistory

Author(s): Larry Steinbrenner

Year: 2018


Despite being the largest country in Central America, Nicaragua’s archaeological record remains the least explored and most ignored. One consequence of this is that reconstructions of Nicaragua’s prehistory have tended to rely overmuch on rather sparse (and not necessarily reliable) ethnohistoric accounts in which migration from Mesoamerican homelands is heavily emphasized, generally to the detriment of other kinds of cultural phenomena, including indigenous developments that are not explicitly "Mesoamerican". Meanwhile, only sporadic attention has been paid to the archaeological record itself, and the potential evidence that it provides for (a) actual migration and/or conquest, (b) interaction and mobility between groups within Nicaragua and beyond, and (c) multiculturalism across Greater Nicoya. This paper argues that understanding of Greater Nicoya’s multicultural prehistory would benefit from approaches in which archaeological interpretations are informed but not dominated by ethnohistoric evidence—approaches that not only treat migration as a cultural phenomenon that must be demonstrated in the record rather than taken for granted but which also are capable of recognizing archaeological evidence of potential interaction between diverse groups.

Cite this Record

"Across the Agua to Managua" and Beyond: Getting Past Migration in Nicaraguan Prehistory. Larry Steinbrenner. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444796)

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): 22045