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Colin McEwan

[anc. Salangome]

Pre-Columbian site in Manabí Province, Ecuador, 8 km inland in the Buenavista River Valley. It was a principal town, controlled by a lord, of the powerful indigenous polity of Salangome, recorded in 1528 by the navigator of the Spanish explorer and conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Human occupation at Agua Blanca spanned at least 5000 years and included components of all the principal ceramic-using cultures identified along Ecuador’s coasts. The ceramic sequence began with Valdivia wares in the early 3rd millennium bc, and continued uninterrupted during the Manteño culture (c. ad 800–c. 1500) encountered by the Europeans in the 16th century.

The visible archaeological remains at Agua Blanca are of Manteño date. They comprise the wall foundations of several hundred domestic structures, storehouses, temples, and other public buildings, which together make the site the largest and best-preserved of all surviving Manteño towns. The orientations of some buildings were clearly governed by astronomical considerations. The long axis of the principal temple, for example, is directed towards the point of sunrise on the December solstice, and this alignment determined the east–west axis of many buildings at the site. A secondary or derived axis, at right angles to the first, determined the layout of other structures. In still other areas, buildings were arranged radially around a central mound, a practice resembling the principles of spatial organization expressed in the earlier dated ...

Article

Izumi Shimada

Region in La Leche Valley on the north coast of Peru, which contains numerous archaeological sites. The central part of the valley, over 55 sq. km in area, has been designated the Poma National Archaeological and Ecological Reserve because of the concentration of some 30 major Pre-Columbian cemeteries and mounds nested within dense semi-tropical thorny native forest. The most notable period of local cultural development was the Middle Sicán (see Sicán), c. ad 900–1100, when the Sicán funerary–religious precinct (see fig.), the dominant feature of Batán Grande, was built. Delineated by some dozen monumental adobe pyramids, it covers an area extending c. 1.6 km east–west and 1 km north–south.

The long-term funerary and religious importance of the Poma Reserve is underlined by the limited evidence for widespread or intensive agricultural activity there, despite its abundant fertile alluvium. As the beginning and end of various major canals, Batán Grande controlled the vital local water supplies and thus held political control over the adjacent valleys. Although a Late Sicán shift of settlement away from Batán Grande removed much of this political significance, the site clearly retained its eminence as a key burial and metallurgical centre up to the Spanish conquest. The Spanish name for the area in fact derives from the hundreds of large ...

Article

David M. Jones and Jaime Litvak King

Site in the Toluca Valley, Mexico. It was the capital and principal ceremonial centre of the Matlazinca people. The name derives from calli (Náhuatl: house) and ixtlahuaca (field or plain), thus ‘Place of houses on the plain’. Calixtlahuaca is one of the few Matlazinca sites known with substantial remains, and its architectural ruins, scattered on the hillside between the modern villages of Calixtlahuaca and Tecaxic, combine elements from central and northern Mesoamerica. Most of the site lies beneath the villages or the fields between the villages. Surface survey and excavations were carried out between 1930 and 1938 by José García Payón.

Calixtlahuaca was occupied between c. 1700 bc and ad 1510, when it was destroyed by Aztec forces. After the Spanish Conquest, Matlazinca survivors returned and established the two villages. Occupation has been divided by archaeologists into five periods: from c. 1700 bcc. 200 bc, Pre-Classic remains represented by figurines and traces of terrace walls; from ...

Article

Muriel Porter-Weaver

Pre-Columbian culture and ceramic assemblage found in Mexico. It is named after the Capacha ceramics from Colima and part of Jalisco and the site of El Opeño in Michoacán, which flourished during the Early Pre-Classic period (c. 2000–c. 1000 bc). Similar ceramic assemblages from these sources, along with other shared cultural features, indicate early contact between Mesoamerica and north-west South America (see below).

The Capacha ceramic assemblage, radiocarbon dated to c. 1350 bc, was named by Isabel Kelly. It consists largely of pottery once placed in graves or tombs but subsequently looted. Although no living sites or mounds are known, the ceramics are the oldest so far found in Colima. The pottery is predominantly monochrome and made of a thick, heavy, grainy paste. The most common form is a large, open-mouthed jar with a cinctured body, measuring up to 380 mm high and locally called a bule...

Article

Henning Bischof

Pre-Columbian site near Casma, Ancash Department, on the northern coast of Peru. The site, known especially for its clay and stone reliefs, dates from the late Pre-Ceramic period (c. 2500–c. 1800 bc) or Initial Period (c. 1800–c. 900 bc). There is no evidence for ceramics contemporary with the main construction phases, which are dated by thermoluminescence and radiocarbon analyses to c. 1800–c. 1500 bc. Stratigraphic superimpositions support this date, placing Cerro Sechín before the Chavín culture. There were also several less significant reoccupations, especially during the Chimú period (c. ad 1200–c. 1500).

First excavated by Julio C. Tello in 1937, Cerro Sechín was re-excavated and partially reconstructed by Arthur Jiménez Borja, Lorenzo Samaniego, and Alberto Bueno between 1969–74. Further investigations were carried out from 1979–85 by the Catholic University of Peru. Most of the carvings remain in situ, although some were removed to the Museo Nacional de Antropología y Arqueología, Lima, and a few others were stolen. The ...

Article

David C. Grove

[Chalcacingo]

Pre-Columbian site in the Central Highlands of Mexico, c. 100 km south of modern Mexico City. A major centre, it was occupied during the Early and Middle Pre-Classic periods, between c. 1400 bc and c. 500 bc, and is the only Central Highland site with a large number of Olmec ‘Frontier’-style low-relief monuments. Excavations have been carried out by Roman Piña Chan (1953) and by David Grove (1972–6).

Chalcatzingo was established in the centre of the Amatzinac Valley between two large hills that dominate the valley floor, the Cerro Chalcatzingo and the Cerro Delgado. The slopes, first occupied c. 1400 bc, were terraced c. 1000 bc. During Chalcatzingo’s zenith—c. 700–c. 500 bc—public and élite earthen and stone-faced platform mounds were built on the upper terraces, while residential structures were spread across the lower terraces. Although excavated artefacts show the Chalcatzingans to have been culturally central Mexican, the monuments indicate close associations with the Gulf Coast Olmec culture. Its public architecture and monumental art distinguish Chalcatzingo from most other Pre-Classic Central Highland sites....

Article

Chavín  

Pre-Columbian artistic and cultural tradition of the Central Andean area of South America. It is named after the site of Chavín de Huántar, and it flourished during the later part of the Initial Period (c. 1800–900 bc) and the Early Horizon (c. 900–c. 300/200 bc).

The stone sculpture and architecture at Chavín de Huántar first attracted scientific attention in the late 19th century. In 1939 the Peruvian archaeologist Julio C. Tello presented his evidence that the Chavín culture formed the basis of Pre-Columbian civilization in Peru, a view that was soon generally accepted. Although many achievements have been attributed to Chavín, its diagnostic features remain the style and iconography of the stone-carvings found at the ruins at Chavín de Huántar. However, it is no longer thought that this site itself was the source of all related phenomena.

Archaeological finds with Chavín features occur over a range of ...

Article

Coclé  

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....

Article

George F. Andrews

Pre-Columbian Lowland 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 bc to ad 100 and a late period from c. ad 800 to 1350. The earliest description of the ruins was provided by (Claude-Joseph-)Désiré Charnay, who visited the site in 1880, while a more complete account was provided by Frans Blom and Oliver La Farge in their pioneering study of little-known Maya ruins in Tabasco and Chiapas during the 1920s. During 1956–7, Gordon Eckholm of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, carried out a preliminary exploration and ceramic study at the site, and this was followed in 1960 by a limited programme of excavation and stabilization by a team of archaeologists from the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico. In 1966 an extensive mapping project was conducted by a team from the University of Oregon, and several years later a major programme of excavation and reconstruction was initiated, again by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Directed by ...

Article

Gordon R. Willey, David M. Jones, Gordon Brotherston, Peter W. Stahl, Elizabeth P. Benson, Warwick Bray, H. Stanley Loten, Ursula Jones, Karen Olsen Bruhns, Frederick W. Lange, Sara Lunt, Annemarie Seiler-Baldinger, Elizabeth K. Easby, M. E. Moseley, W. Iain Mackay, Susan A. Niles, Pauline Antrobus, Duccio Bonavia, George Bankes, R. José Berenguer, Daniel Schávelzon, Irmhild Wüst, Tania Andrade Lima, José R. Oliver, Ann M. Mester, Luis A. Borrero, Colin McEwan, Anthony Alan Shelton, William J. Conklin, Peter Cloudsley and Joanne Pillsbury

In 

Article

Robert D. Drennan

In 

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Article

Gordon R. Willey, David M. Jones, Gordon Brotherston, Peter W. Stahl, Elizabeth P. Benson, Warwick Bray, H. Stanley Loten, Ursula Jones, Karen Olsen Bruhns, Frederick W. Lange, Sara Lunt, Annemarie Seiler-Baldinger, Elizabeth K. Easby, M. E. Moseley, W. Iain Mackay, Susan A. Niles, Pauline Antrobus, Duccio Bonavia, George Bankes, R. José Berenguer, Daniel Schávelzon, Irmhild Wüst, Tania Andrade Lima, José R. Oliver, Ann M. Mester, Luis A. Borrero, Colin McEwan, Anthony Alan Shelton, William J. Conklin, Peter Cloudsley and Joanne Pillsbury

In 

Article

Article

Gordon R. Willey, David M. Jones, Gordon Brotherston, Peter W. Stahl, Elizabeth P. Benson, Warwick Bray, H. Stanley Loten, Ursula Jones, Karen Olsen Bruhns, Frederick W. Lange, Sara Lunt, Annemarie Seiler-Baldinger, Elizabeth K. Easby, M. E. Moseley, W. Iain Mackay, Susan A. Niles, Pauline Antrobus, Duccio Bonavia, George Bankes, R. José Berenguer, Daniel Schávelzon, Irmhild Wüst, Tania Andrade Lima, José R. Oliver, Ann M. Mester, Luis A. Borrero, Colin McEwan, Anthony Alan Shelton, William J. Conklin, Peter Cloudsley and Joanne Pillsbury

In 

Article

Article

Gordon R. Willey, David M. Jones, Gordon Brotherston, Peter W. Stahl, Elizabeth P. Benson, Warwick Bray, H. Stanley Loten, Ursula Jones, Karen Olsen Bruhns, Frederick W. Lange, Sara Lunt, Annemarie Seiler-Baldinger, Elizabeth K. Easby, M. E. Moseley, W. Iain Mackay, Susan A. Niles, Pauline Antrobus, Duccio Bonavia, George Bankes, R. José Berenguer, Daniel Schávelzon, Irmhild Wüst, Tania Andrade Lima, José R. Oliver, Ann M. Mester, Luis A. Borrero, Colin McEwan, Anthony Alan Shelton, William J. Conklin, Peter Cloudsley and Joanne Pillsbury

In 

Article

Robert D. Drennan

In 

Article

Gordon R. Willey, David M. Jones, Gordon Brotherston, Peter W. Stahl, Elizabeth P. Benson, Warwick Bray, H. Stanley Loten, Ursula Jones, Karen Olsen Bruhns, Frederick W. Lange, Sara Lunt, Annemarie Seiler-Baldinger, Elizabeth K. Easby, M. E. Moseley, W. Iain Mackay, Susan A. Niles, Pauline Antrobus, Duccio Bonavia, George Bankes, R. José Berenguer, Daniel Schávelzon, Irmhild Wüst, Tania Andrade Lima, José R. Oliver, Ann M. Mester, Luis A. Borrero, Colin McEwan, Anthony Alan Shelton, William J. Conklin, Peter Cloudsley and Joanne Pillsbury

In 

Article

Kotosh  

Yoshio Onuki

Pre-Columbian Andean site covering c. 1 ha, 5 km to the west of modern Huanuco, Peru, at an elevation of 1950 m above sea level. Its importance was first pointed out by Julio C. Tello in the 1930s. Between 1960 and 1966 Seiichi Izumi led intensive excavations on behalf of the University of Tokyo. A dense accumulation of building debris has been divided into six construction and occupation periods with distinct cultural characteristics: Mito, the Pre-Ceramic occupation, c. 2000 bc; Wairajirca, including the earliest pottery in the upper Huallaga Basin, c. 1800–c. 1200 bc; Kotosh, c. 1200–c. 1000 bc; Chavín, c. 1000–c. 500 bc; Sajarapatac, c. 500–c. end 1st century bc; and Higueras, c. beginning 1st century ad–600.

Among the most remarkable discoveries are the temple complexes constructed on the well-built, stone-faced platforms of the Mito period. The Temple of Crossed Hands, 9 m × 9 m in plan and 2 m high, has an entrance in the south wall, and large and small niches on the interior walls. Two pairs of crossed hands sculpted in mud plaster were found beneath small niches flanking the large central niche on the north interior wall. A round hearth was set into the centre of the floor, beneath which ran its two flues. All the interior surfaces were neatly coated with mud plaster of a creamy white colour. This was the first ceremonial public building of the Peruvian Pre-Ceramic period to have been subjected to large-scale stratigraphic excavation under strictly controlled conditions....