Caves beyond the Dripline: Reconceptualizing the Subterranean-Surface Dichotomy


This is an abstract from the "Studies in Mesoamerican Subterranean Archaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

As cave archaeology emerged as a specialty in the 1990, an unfortunate consequence has been the reification of the distinction between surface and subterranean archaeology. We would note that there have always been problems with this dichotomy. Andrews (1970), for instance, mentions that the entrance to Balankanche Cave was in the middle of a plaza surrounded by four vaulted range structures. Plainly, the formal boundary of the cave was defined by the architecture outside of the cave. Good and Obermeyer, as well as Tucker and colleagues have documented plazas built out from cave entrances leaving no doubt that in the indigenous conception, the cave extended beyond the dripline. Recent cave surveys conducted in 2016-2017 as part of the Proyecto de Arqueología y Paisaje del Centro Sur de Michoacán noted plazas associated with caves at varying degrees of proximity. When viewed as a group, a clear pattern emerges. This presentation seeks to critically examine the Subterranean-Surface dichotomy to recognize features that functioned as extensions of cave space while not being outside of the cave.

Cite this Record

Caves beyond the Dripline: Reconceptualizing the Subterranean-Surface Dichotomy. Cinthia M. Campos, James Brady, José Luis Punzo Díaz. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451109)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.117; min lat: 16.468 ; max long: -100.173; max lat: 23.685 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22943