Pre-Columbian culture of the Isthmian region of Latin America (classed archaeologically as part of the Intermediate area; see South America, Pre-Columbian, §II). Due to the paucity of archaeological investigation, the full geographic extent of Chiriquí material culture is not known. Chiriquí materials have been found in western Panama in Chiriquí Province and part of Bocas del Toro Province, and in south-eastern Costa Rica in the Pacific coastal region of Diquís and parts of Puntarenas and San José provinces. Thus the northern extent may be defined by the Talamanca and central mountain ranges of Costa Rica and Panama. The western and eastern boundaries are uncertain: Chiriquí-like materials have been found almost as far west as Quepos in south-central Costa Rica and as far east as the Veraguas River (Río Tabasara) in central Panama. The territory thus defined is extremely varied, having jagged coastlines with peninsulas, gulfs, bays, and deltas, and mountain ranges up to 4000 m high. A range of wet and dry tropical and temperate climates provided numerous ecological niches in which cultures developed. The Spanish entered the region in the mid-16th century. By the 19th century large collections of Pre-Columbian pottery, carved stonework, and metalwork had been made, including the ...
Joan K. Lingen
David M. Jones and Jaime Litvak King
Pre-Columbian site in Mexico, about 10 km south-west of the city of Puebla in north-central Puebla State. A huge Mesoamerican city and place of religious pilgrimage, it flourished throughout the Classic and Post-Classic periods (c.
The Great Pyramid appears today as a large hill. It was surveyed in 1847 by the American Robert E. Lee and excavated by ...
Peter W. Stahl
Pre-Columbian culture, named after the site of La Chorrera on the River Babahoyo, in the Guayas Basin, Ecuador. It flourished between c. 1000 and c. 500
The Chorrera style shows particular affinity to the earliest stages of the art of the Engoroy phase (c. 900–c. 500
The culture represents the apogee of the early art styles of Ecuador, having a wide geographical distribution and serving as a basic foundation for subsequent developments. During the Late Formative period, the use of metal was introduced, along with the manufacture of earrings and new types of figurines, figure modelling, red and white zoned ceramics, and negative-painted wares. The ...
Pre-Columbian site in Mexico, formerly on the Lerma River in southern Guanajuato, c. 129 km north-west of Mexico City. It gives its name to a distinctive ceramic style that flourished in the region during the Late Pre-Classic period (c. 300
Chupícuaro was a farming community with a ceramic industry. Its art style spread to central and western Mexico along the Lerma River and to the north, perhaps as far as the south-western USA. Fragments of burnt adobe floors, fire-pits (Náhuatl ...
George E. Stuart
Pre-Columbian Maya site at Lake Cobá and Lake Macanxoc, 40 km inland from the coastal site of Tulum in the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. The area is also the location of the modern town of Cobá, founded in the 1940s. At the height of its power Maya Cobá was apparently an important regional centre and perhaps acted as a commercial hub in the distribution and redistribution of goods between the interior of the northern lowlands and the ports of the East Coast. It also served as the seat of powerful rulers, and as such doubtless played a key role in rivalries with neighbouring states, such as Chichén Itzá, to the west and north. Along with Tikal and Calakmul, Cobá is among the largest sites of the Maya Lowlands, and its system of elevated roadways is not matched at any other known Maya site. Although the discovery of Cobá is attributed to ...
Joan K. Lingen
Pre-Columbian culture of central Panama. It flourished in Coclé Province on the Gulf of Panama, and together with the Pre-Columbian culture of Veraguas Province (see Veraguas) it comprises the central Panamanian culture area. This is classed more broadly by archaeologists as part of the Intermediate area (see South America, Pre-Columbian, §II). The nature of Coclé culture has been variously interpreted: according to Richard Cooke, Coclé and Veraguas cultures are homogeneous, with local differences of degree, not kind. The earlier view held by Samuel K. Lothrop considered Coclé to be a distinct archaeological or cultural region comprising Coclé Province and the eastern Azuero Peninsula provinces of Herrera and Los Santos. Lothrop based his interpretation on the presence of Coclé artefacts throughout this area, inland from the lowlands of the Pacific watershed to the mountainous areas, from sea level to over 4000 m, culminating at the continental divide in northern Coclé Province. The eastern portion comprises a narrow, desolate coastal strip and a wide savanna grassland plain, cut by numerous rivers, and the western and northern parts the high peaks of the continental divide. The annual rainfall in this tropical forest region varies from marked wet and dry seasons in the flat eastern coastal area to year-round rains in the western and northern sections....
George F. Andrews
Maya site on the broad coastal plain of Tabasco, c. 3 km north-east of the modern town of Comalcalco, Mexico. There were two major periods of occupation: an early period from c. 1200
Maya site of the Classic period (c.
The central part of the city is organized along a north–south axis in a grandiose composition resulting from numerous phases of remodelling. At its northern extremity, a ceremonial square served as the setting for the most important carved monoliths; it was delimited on three sides by enormous flights of steps, and on the fourth, southern, side by a radial pyramid. The southern extremity of the site ends in a wide, raised flight of steps that accommodates the undulating terrain to create the artificial platform known as the Acropolis. A smaller square is integrated into the north-east corner, next to the elegant ballcourt and the famous Hieroglyphic Stairway. From the centre of this southern flight of steps rise the remains of a temple (Temple II). Complex calculations concerning the eclipses of the planet Venus are sculpted on its interior walls, a reminder of Copán’s important role as a centre of ...
Pre-Columbian site in Mexico, on the southern periphery of modern Mexico City. It flourished in the Late Pre-Classic period (c. 300
Cuicuilco’s occupation began c. 900
Pre-Columbian culture and art style of South America. It was centred on a small, dry valley c. 50 km north of the Chicama Valley, Peru. Various sites were located and excavated in the 1930s by Rafael Larco Hoyle.
Ceramics from Cupisnique burials and stone-walled structures in the Chicama Valley were attributed to the north-coast version of the
Chavín style in the Central Andean area. Lumbreras suggested that Cupisnique ceramics were contemporaneous with the ‘Ofrendas’ style of Chavín and therefore dated between c. 800 and c. 300
revised by Michael Schreffler
City in Peru, in the heart of the Andes, 3560 m above sea-level. Cuzco occupies the head of the fertile valley of the Huatanay River. The climate is temperate, with a rainy season from December to March. It was the capital of the Inka Empire. Now a city of over 400,000, a majority of whom are native Andeans, it is the present-day capital of the department of Cuzco.
Ann Kendall, revised by Michael Schreffler
Archaeological evidence shows that the larger Cuzco region was inhabited by c. 1200
Zapotec site in Mexico, in the Valley of Oaxaca. Dainzú (Zapotec: ‘hill of the Organ cactus’) is in fact only one excavated section of the ancient city now called Macuilxóchitl. Investigations have revealed
stone reliefs of ball-players in action, massive architectural terracing against a hillside, and embedded reliefs of a kind unique to Mesoamerica. Associated remains suggest that construction began before c. 200
Jeff Karl Kowalski
Site of a Mesoamerican Pre-Columbian Maya city, c. 15 km north of Mérida, Yucatán. Excavation and mapping carried out between 1956 and 1965 revealed that the site covers more than 19 sq. km and contains about 8400 ruined structures, most of which are small platforms that formerly supported perishable pole-and-thatch houses. The majority of some 240 stone-faced, vaulted buildings probably served as élite residences, although the largest pyramidal platforms and vaulted structures, located around the central Cenote Xlacah (cenote: Maya tz’onot, a natural water hole with collapsed limestone sides), probably served for religious and administrative functions. Most of the visible remains lie within this administrative and ceremonial core. North-east of the Cenote Xlacah is the large, open, centralized Main Plaza; another plaza lies to the south-west. Surrounding these are several pyramid-temples and many ranges of vaulted rooms. A central east–west axis is formed by two long sacbeob (raised causeways; sing. ...
George F. Andrews
Site of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican
Maya urban centre, occupied from c. 700
revised by Rex Koontz
The site of El Tajín, 21 km west of the Gulf of Mexico, close to the city of Papantla in Veracruz, was a primary urban center on the Gulf Coast of Mexico c. 600–1000 CE. The site was originally discovered by Europeans in 1785, although the indigenous people of the region were probably always aware of it. For more than a century after its discovery, the site was considered to be no more than the Pyramid of the Niches, the central monumental building first uncovered in 1785. It has only been in the last century that the rest of the urban core has slowly come to light, and serious studies of the urban periphery and important satellite centers have only been undertaken since the 1960s. While it is clear from ceramic evidence and architectural style distribution that the El Tajín realm at its apogee once encompassed a large part of north-central Veracruz, no significant survey or other systematic study of the realm has been attempted....
Indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic coasts of Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland. They are biologically classified as Arctic Mongolians and are descended from peoples of a region in north-east Asia, who probably began to migrate c. 12,000
For main discussion see under Native North American art.
Native North American art, §I, 1(i): Geography and peoples: Arctic
Native North American art, §I, 6: Status of art and role of the artist
Native North American art, §III, 1: Carving and sculpture: Arctic
Native North American art, §XI, 1: Quillwork: Introduction
Native North American art, §XV, 3(ii)(a): Other late 20th-century developments: Tourist art
Native North American art, §XVII, 1: Historiography: Anthropological approaches...
Phil C. Weigand
Site in the highland lake district of Jalisco, Mexico. A Pre-Columbian settlement dating mostly to the Post-Classic period (c.
The most important ceremonial plaza, surrounded by low platforms, lies beneath a Franciscan convent (1534), which is one of the earliest in west Mexico. Another section is under the adjacent ...
Pre-Columbian culture and art style that flourished in northern coastal Peru during the Early Intermediate period, between c. 300
Joan K. Lingen
Pre-Columbian culture of the Isthmian region of Latin America (classed archaeologically as part of the Intermediate area; see South America, Pre-Columbian, §II). It flourished in the north-western portion of modern Costa Rica and the south-western part of Nicaragua, bordered to the north by the Gulf of Fonseca and the Honduran border, to the south by the Gulf of Nicoya, to the east by Lake Managua, Lake Nicaragua, and the Costa Rican Cordillera Volcanica, and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. In the past the region was tropical dry forest land but is now mostly low hills and flatlands around lakes Managua and Nicaragua. Despite marked seasonality, there is little annual rainfall, and thus few permanent rivers. Gran Nicoya culture is defined principally by artefacts from the sites of Nacascolo, Papagayo, Ruiz, Las Haldas, Vidor, and Ometepe and Zapatera islands in Lake Nicaragua. The cultural uniformity of the region was recognized and defined by ...
Warren B. Church
Pre-Columbian site in Río Abiseo National Park, Peru, occupied c. 450
Stone cornices divide virtually all of the 26 known circular buildings into two levels. Tenoned heads and an unusual variety of stone friezes featuring anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, and geomorphic motifs structurally incorporated into the tabular slate masonry distinguish Gran Pajatén from similar highland rain-forest sites near ...