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Eduardo Williams

Pre-Columbian culture of north-west Mexico. It belongs to the area between the Sinaloa River in the north and the Río Grande de Santiago in the south, probably extending as far south-east of this area as the Chapala Basin of Jalisco–Michoacán, and it flourished c. ad...

Article

Chimú  

John R. Topic

Pre-Columbian kingdom on the north coast of Peru; the term is also used of an associated culture and art style. Chimú art developed, from earlier roots, during the period c. ad 850–1000, flourished from c. 1000 to 1470, and continued, with modifications, into Spanish colonial times. The Chimú capital, ...

Article

Culture area of the Isthmian region of Latin America, which is more broadly classed by archaeologists as part of the Intermediate area (see South America, Pre-Columbian, §II). It comprises the Atlantic watershed and central highlands areas of Costa Rica, from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean and from the Nicaraguan to the Panamanian border. Environments include the low coastal wetlands of the Caribbean and the Pacific drylands, numerous river valleys and plateaus, and an almost continuous chain of mountains and volcanoes running north–south. Despite a diversity of ecological niches, the archaeological remains of the region are similar enough to be considered as a single cultural group. The prehistoric archaeological record begins ...

Article

Huastec  

Beatriz de la Fuente

Region and culture of Mesoamerica, that produced distinctive Pre-Columbian architecture, sculpture, pottery and shell ornaments. From the Middle Pre-Classic period (c. 1000–c. 300 bc) to the Late Post-Classic period (c. ad 1200–1521) the Huastec people occupied the Gulf Coast of Mexico; today they inhabit southern Tamaulipas, northern Veracruz, eastern San Luis Potosí and parts of Querétaro, Hidalgo and Puebla....

Article

George Bankes

Pre-Columbian culture of South America that extended throughout several valleys on the south coast of Peru and flourished between c. ad 1000 and 1476. The Ica–Chincha pottery style was first recognized by the German archaeologist Max Uhle, and regional variations have since been defined by archaeologists from the University of California at Berkeley, especially by ...

Article

Maya  

Jeremy A. Sabloff and John W. Fox

Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples, whose civilization flourished in parts of what are now Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador from c. 300 bc to the 16th century ad. The ancient Maya region is usually divided by archaeologists into two areas, the Lowlands and the Highlands, according to geographical and cultural differences (...

Article

H. B. Nicholson

Stylistic and iconographic tradition in Mesoamerica during the Post-Classic period (c. 900–1521).

The term was coined in 1938 by the American archaeologist George Vaillant for what he variously defined as a ‘culture’, ‘civilization’ or ‘culture complex’ that developed after the Teotihuacán collapse in the region of the modern Mexican state of Puebla and the western portion of Oaxaca, an area known as the Mixteca (from the predominant indigenous language of the region). He hypothesized that Mixteca–Puebla diffused into the Basin of Mexico during what he termed the ‘Chichimec’ period, providing ‘the source and inspiration of Aztec civilization’. He believed that aspects of the complex spread widely throughout Mesoamerica during its final major era, the Post-Classic, which he suggested should be labelled the ‘Mixteca–Puebla period’....

Article

Sinú  

Warwick Bray and Trent Barnes

Archaeological zone and style of metalwork produced in the three great 16th-century chiefdoms of Fincenú, Pancenú, and Cenúfana in the Caribbean lowlands of Colombia during the millennium before the Spanish Conquest. The Sinú style also extended to the San Jorge Basin and the lower Cauca and Nechí drainages. Many of these lowland areas are seasonally flooded but were turned into prime farmland by the construction of more than 500,000 ha of ridged and drained fields linked by a canal network. Besides landscape architecture, the Sinú zone is noted for its goldwork (...

Article

Toltec  

Richard A. Diehl

Term applied to Pre-Columbian peoples of Central Highland Mesoamerica, north of the Basin of Mexico, and to their cultural and artistic traditions.

The Toltecs were one of the dominant cultural and political groups in Mesoamerica during the Early Post-Classic period (c. ad 900–c....