Shell and Symbolism in Mesoamerica and the Andes: Are There Parallels?

Author(s): Christopher Beekman

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Coastal Connections: Pacific Coastal Links from Mexico to Ecuador" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Much research on the links between Mesoamerica and South America has focused on the methods of exploitation of shell (e.g. Spondylus, Strombus) and its possible trade across sub-regions. However, superficially similar methods of exploitation may be local solutions to common problems and methods for sourcing shell remain in their infancy. There has been less consideration of the potential parallels in shell's meaning across larger regions. This paper examines iconographic and burial contexts (particularly from Colima, Mexico and the central coast of Ecuador) in order to evaluate the meanings associated with specific shells and their uses, their association with specific social identities, and their symbolic pairings with other materials.

Cite this Record

Shell and Symbolism in Mesoamerica and the Andes: Are There Parallels?. Christopher Beekman. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450555)

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24010