Reconstructing Shell Trade Corridors in Northwest Mexico

Author(s): Andrew Krug

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "25 Years in the Casas Grandes Region: Celebrating Mexico–U.S. Collaboration in the Gran Chichimeca" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Questions over the nature of long-distance exchange are central to competing models of socio-political evolution in Northwest Mexico. At Paquimé, the preeminent site in northern Chihuahua, Mexico, from 1250 to 1450 AD, excavations recovered abundant non-local goods, including macaws, copper bells, and nearly four million marine shells. To evaluate the numerous hypotheses of procurement and trade, archaeologists need to understand the possible routes for the purveyors of shell and the eventual distribution of marine shell consumption throughout Northwest Mexico. By mapping the distribution of shell consumption and reconstructing trade corridors archaeologists can better contextualize the social relationships and motives that led to Paquimeños acquiring millions of shells from the Gulf of California. In this study, I perform a least-cost pathway analysis to evaluate possible trade corridors from various locations along the Sonoran coastline. Hot spot analyses are used to demonstrate the distribution of Olivella, Glycymeris, and Nassarius shell artifacts at archaeological sites in Northwest Mexico. Each of these analyses—least-cost and hot spot—are crucial for understanding the distribution and concentration of shell artifacts and defining possible trade corridors that delivered millions of marine shells into the North American Southwest.

Cite this Record

Reconstructing Shell Trade Corridors in Northwest Mexico. Andrew Krug. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451063)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -123.97; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -92.549; max lat: 37.996 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25867