Prehistory of Native Americans on the Central American Land Bridge

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Prehistory of Native Americans on the Central American Land Bridge
Prehistory of Native Americans on the Central American Land Bridge: Colonization, Dispersal,
and Divergence
Author(s): Richard Cooke
Reviewed work(s):
Source: Journal of Archaeological Research, Vol. 13, No. 2 (June 2005), pp. 129-187
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41053219 .
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JournalofArchaeological
Research,Vol.13,No. 2, June2005 (© 2005)
DOI: 10.1007/S10804-005-2486-4
ofNativeAmericanson theCentral
Prehistory
AmericanLand Bridge:Colonization,
Dispersal,and Divergence
RichardCooke1
TheCentralAmericanland bridgehas servedas a passagewayforanimalsand
humansmovingbetweenNorthand SouthAmerica.Nevertheless,
afterthefirst
wavesofhumanimmigration
at theend ofthePleistocene,contactbetweenthe
nativepeopleswhoremainedon thisisthmus
and otherpeoples livingin continentalareas wherecivilization
ultimately
developed,is characterized,
according
tothefieldrecord,bythetransfer
and goods,untilca.1400
ofcrops,technologies,
BP whenspeakersofMesoamericanlanguagesoccupiedthenorthwestern
edge
(GranNicoya).Theancestorsofmodern-day
speakersofChibchanand Chocoan
socialandculturaldiversification
within
theconfines
languagesunderwent
mostly
the
land
Precolumbian
Some
residents
altered
of
bridge.
vegetation
immediately
after
firstarrivalat least11,000yearsago, and begantoadd domesticated
crops
to theirsubsistence
between9000 and 7000 BP. Maize and manioc(or
inventory
outsidetheland bridge,wereintroduced
in Preceramic
cassava), domesticated
times,earlyin theperiodbetween7000 and 4500 BP, and graduallydominated
as theybecamemoreproductive,
and as humanpopulations
regionalagriculture
increasedand spreadintovirginareas.Diversity
inmaterialcultureis visibleca.
6000 BP, and becomesmoreapparentaftertheintroduction
ca. 4500
ofpottery
BP. By2000 BP cultureareas withdistinctive
inventories
are discernible.
artifact
Between2500 and 1300 BP hierarchies
amongregions,sites,social groups,and
individuals
domswhoseelitemembers
cameto
pointto theestablishment
ofchief
demandlargenumbersof costumeand sumptuary
goods.A fewspecial centers
withstonesculptures
and low-scalearchitecture
serveda social universelarger
thanthechiefdom,
suchas clustersofrecently
fissionedsocial groupswithmemoriesofa common
Social interactions
on thelandbridge,endowedwith
heritage.
1Smithsonian
Unit0948,APO AA 34002,Panama;e-mail:[email protected]
TropicalResearchInstitute,
si.edu,[email protected]
129
© 2005 Springer
Science+Business Media,Inc.
1059-0161/Ö5/0600-0129/0
130
Cooke
bottomlands,
productive
highlandvalleys,and coastalhabitats,
appearalwaysto
havebeenstrongest
amongneighboring
groups.
KEY WORDS: CentralAmericanland bridge;continuity;
Precolumbian
agriculture;
exchange;
chiefdom.
INTRODUCTION
TheCentralAmericanlandbridge(betweensouthernmost
Nicaraguaandthe
Juanaxis in northernmost
Colombia[Fig. 1]) unitedNorthandSouth
Atrato-San
Americabetween3.2 and3.7 millionyearsago. It becamean obstacleto marine
humansandtheirdogs
anda passagewayforterrestrial
onesincluding
organisms
their
the
Late
Glacial
and,
subsequently,
Stage(LGS [14,000-10,000B.P.])
during
and
and
Jackson
and
Coates
Obando,
1996;
Lessios,
1993;
crops(Bermingham
Ranere
and
and
Pearsall,
1998,
209-226,
286-296;
D'Croz, 1997; Piperno
pp.
the
fact
that
the
land
Less
well
advertised
is
Cooke,2003; Webb,1997).
bridge's
influenced
and an orography
circulation,
positionvis-à-vistropicalatmospheric
ofisthmian
havecreateda multitude
ofmultiple
platejunctions,
bytheproximity
- notonlyof
and diversity
endemism
andinsularlandscapes,whichhavefavored
terrestrial
plantsandanimalsbutalso ofhumansocieties(AndersonandHandley,
Barrantes
etal, 1990;Constenla,1991;CroppandBoinski,2000; Herlihy,
2002;
1997).
Fig. 1. The CentralAmericanland bridge,showinglocationof Paleoindianand EarlyHolocene
sites.
preceramic
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
131
The Spanishwho settledthe land bridgeafterA.D. 1502 observedmany
onhilltops
fromsmallvillageswithhousesscattered
kindsofsettlements
ranging
amidforeststo largetownsin savannasand alongriverswithgardens,closely
thefuneralsof chiefsbedecked
packedhouses,and smallplazas. Theyattended
theirprowess
and honoredwithstonetabletsand chantsas befitted
withfinery,
and position.Theydescribedfieldsof maize and manioc(or cassava), larders
withdeercarcasses,andhugecatchesoffishhauledin withcottonand
brimming
armedwithspearsand wooden
sisalnets.Theyfought
againstbandsof warriors
sword-clubs.
by thenumberof NativeAmericanlanguages
Theywerestartled
thatwerespokenthere(Columbus,1988,pp. 101-103; Oviedo y Valdés,1849,
derivedfrom
to them,much- butnotall- of thisdiversity
p. 235). Unbeknown
on the
whosecontinualresidenceand in situdivergence
an ancientpopulation,
andis likelytohaveextendedinsomeareas
landbridgespannedseveralmillennia
to theLGS.
land bridgewere
Of course,manysalientfeaturesof the pre-Columbian
settled
at
its
northern
not
Some
social
who
edgeduring
groups
patently indigenous.
thelast ~1400 yearsof thePrecolumbian
periodbroughtwiththemlanguages
in Mesoamerica.Two cropsthatbecame
and socialbehaviorthathad originated
- maize (Zea mays)and manioc(Manihot
themainstays
of regionalsubsistence
- developedfromtheirwildancestors
incontinental
in
foci,theformer
esculenta)
southwestern
MexicoandthelatterintropicalSouthAmericabeforetheirancient
(ca. 7000 B.P.)dispersalacrosstheland bridge(Iltis,2000; Olsen and Schaal,
1999,2001; Perry,2002b; Pipernoand Pearsall,1998,pp. 120-126, 158-163).
are at painsto explainnotonlywhenand how theseand other
Archaeologists
domesticated
theland bridgebutalso
plantsarrivedon and dispersedthrough
whenand howpottery,
and
marine
shellfinery
were
metallurgy,
lapidarywork,
transmitted
since thesetechnologiesare demonstrably
moreancientin MesoSouthAmerica(Bray,1992;CookeandSánchez,2001; Garberetai, 1993;
and/or
Guerrero,
1988; Hoopes, 1994b; Oyuela, 1995; Pires-Ferreira,
1975; Snarskis,
1984,pp. 217-218). Althoughit has been claimedthatsome of thesefeatures
wereintroduced
orcrossedtheisthmus
bymigratory
people,whoentered
byland
or sea (Drolet,1980,p. 331; Lathrap,1977;Lundberg,1977/1978;Willey,1971,
(Sharer,1984,p. 64) is more
pp. 285-286), the"elusive"conceptof diffusion
seen
as
the
mechanism
their
for
popularly
principal
dispersaland acceptance
(Bray,1984,pp. 324-327; Fonseca,1997;Linné,1929;Meggers,1997).
The followingsummary
assesses how thehistoricaldevelopment
of landNative
American
societies
has
to
the
dual
modes
of
bridge
responded
bridge
and barrier.
It looks at evidenceforthecontinuity
of social
(or discontinuity)
in materialculture,
groupson thelandscape,innovations
changesin subsistence,
andshifting
socialinteractions,
whether
the
observed
inquiring
changescan most
be
in
terms
of
or
continental
local, regional,
parsimoniously explained
peoples,
- colonization,
andprocesses.Itconcentrates
onthreethemes
events,
dispersaland
The thirdofthese,particularly,
is relatedtoproduction
andexchange
divergence.
and
even
as
well
as
withconflict
(of food,everyday
goods,valuables,
people),
132
Cooke
sites.
Fig. 2. The CentralAmericanlandbridge,showingcultureareasandarchaeological
lifethatimpressed
the
another
and cooperation,
pervasivedualityof land-bridge
"these
"When
are
not
remarked
Oviedo
(1853,p. 140)
wagingwar,"
Spanish.
they
natives[ofDanen] spendtheirtimemakingpactswitheach otherand bartering
all theirbelongings."
as radiocarbon
datesarepresented
Pre-Columbian
(B.P.).
yearsbeforepresent
2a
in
their
calibrated
B.P.
followed
14C
dates
are
B.C./A.D.
by
given years
Specific
Hood
were
Darden
and
[BetaAnalytic].)
(Calibrations provided
by
range intercept.
insteadof'theAguadulce
I usebriefnamesforsites(i.e.,AguadulceandVampiros
Shelter'and 'Cueva de los Vampiros')(Figs. 1 and2).
MIGRATIONS, FOREIGN INFLUENCES,
AND LOCAL DEVELOPMENT
to
haveproposedfancifulVölkerwanderung
Even respectedarchaeologists
For
Uhle
land
on
the
culture
example,
pre-Columbian bridge.
change
explain
tradition
ofcentralPanama
theGranCodé polychrome
(1924) attributed
pottery
fromSouth
(Sánchez,2000) to theMaya,Lothrop(1942a, p. 258) to wanderers
or
Ecuador.
from
Colombia
to
warriors
and
Ichon
America,
(1980,pp. 314-325)
and
Mason
Kidder
Caamaño
(1940,p. 76) popular(1940,p. 458),
(1943),
Jijóny
thatrecentimmigrants
ized the idea amongarchaeologists
broughtChibchan
Kirk
also
and
continental
Colombia
from
McDermid,1974).
(see
languages
Snarskis(1981,p. 84) relatedcertaincultural
changesincentralCostaRica tothe
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
133
ca. A.D.500-700 of foreign(probablysouthern)
"apparentintromission
peoples
andtradition"
modelsenvisagepre-Columbian
cul(myemphasis).Less dramatic
turehistory
as a waxingandwaningofinfluences
fromnorthandsouthas though
thelandbridgeweresolelyan appendageto orderivation
of continental
cultures
(Baudez,1970;Baudezetal, 1993,p. 1; Snarskis,1984,pp.204-206,220; Stone,
1977,pp. 174-184;Willey,1971,pp. 259-260).
In contrast,
someof theearliestwritings
influenced
by Boasian paradigms
Native
proposedthat,in spite of the colonial experience,some present-day
Americanpeoplesof theland bridgeand thoseresponsibleforprecontact
culturesrepresented
a historicalcontinuum
(Holmes, 1888; Joyce,1916, pp. 90152). This directhistoricalapproach,which,simplyput,meansworkingback
intoprehistoric
timefroma documented
historicculture(Willeyand Sabloff,
1974,p. 114), was acceptedby culturalecologistJulianSteward(even though
hisexampleof deculturation
betweena pre-Columbian
archaeologicalculture
- theKuna- was ill-chosen)(Linares,1977b,
Codé- and a postcontact
ethnia
over
pp. 78-79; Stewardand Faron,1959,pp. 224-300). It has beeninvigorated
- and muchmoreeffective
- collaboration
thelast 20 yearsby thegrowing
betweenarchaeologists
and the practitioners
of otherhistoricaldisciplines,i.e.,
humanpopulation
andhistorical
paleoecologists,
geneticists,
linguists.
Since WorldWarII, theprovisionof settlement
data derivedfrom
pattern
of
or
features
systematic
pedestrian
surveys particular
regions macrogeographical
and of long regionalartifact
14C
dates
has
acted
as a
sequencessupported
by
thatappealto external
and
techpalliativeto hypotheses
populations,
ideologies,
forculturechange.Forexample,manyresearchers
nowpronologiesas catalysts
that
the
in
time
and
of
ceramics
from
more
pose
gradualdivergence
space
widely
is a robustconfirmation
of autochthonous
spreadandmoresimplepredecessors
of specificsociocultural
regionaldevelopment's
beinga powerfulconditioner
on
the
land
2000;
trajectories
bridge(Corrales,
Hoopes, 1992a, 1994b;Linares,
1980f;Sánchezand Cooke,2000). Lithicstudies,whichin theArenalregionof
CostaRica andin centralPanamacovermaterials
thatextendbackintotheLGS,
haveled to similarproposals(Ranereand Cooke, 1996; Sheets,1994a,p. 252).
The terms"conservative,"
"stable,""indigenousphenomena,"
"stronglocal traand "resistant
to change. . . and externalinfluences"
are appliedto the
ditions,"
relevant
artifact
sequences(Bray,1984,pp. 308-309; Hoopes, 1992a,pp. 70-73;
1984b,
Lange
p. 191; Lange et al, 1992, p. 278; Sheets,1992, p. 33, 1994b,
p. 325).
in theneotropics
sincethe
Paleoecologicalstudies,whichhaveproliferated
to reconstruct
theimpactof humansettlement
1960s,haveenabledresearchers
and agriculture
on thevegetation
of a growingnumberof watersheds
alongthe
landbridge.Some of theserecordscan be comparedwithmaterialculture,settlementpatterns,
and data aboutplantand animalusage obtainedby archaein
the
same
areas,e.g., centralPacificPanama (Pipernoand Pearsall,
ologists
134
Cooke
Costa Rica (Hornand Kennedy,2000; Northrop
and Horn,
1998), southeastern
1996),andhighland
Chiriqui(Behling,2000). Otherpaleoecologicalrecordsrefer
to areas whosearchaeologyhas been poorlyor neverstudied,e.g., thecentral
CaribbeanofPanama(Piperno,1985,1988,pp.202-210),thenarrow
plateauthat
extendswestwards
fromPanamaCitytoPuntaChame(PipernoandJones,2003),
theColombianChocó (Berríoet al, 2000), and theeasternDarién(Bush and
Colinvaux,1994; Catat,1889; Piperno,1994). People livedin one Panamanian
watershed
from~ 11,000B.RuntiltheSpanishsettlement
(La Yeguada)continually
of thecentralhighlandsaroundA.D. 1550 (Castillero,1994; Cooke, 1993) after
whichforest
overa millennially
regrowth
impacted
landscapeis paleoecologically
striking
(PipernoandPearsall,1998,Fig. 5.8).
The directhistorical
fromresearchprojectsthat
approachalso has benefited
addressthephylogeny
of surviving
NativeAmericantribeson thelandbridge.
TenmodernNativeAmericanpolities,as wellas fivewhosepostcontact
language
loss has beendocumented
(Huétar,Dorasque,Chánguena,'Muoi,' and 'Cueva')
(Constenla,1991,pp. 31, 47; Pinart,1882,pp. 1-3; Romoli,1987,pp. 69-91),
speak(orspoke)languagesthatConstenla(1991,pp. 15-46) assignstotwogroupmorehistorically
relatedin deepertimeto each otherthanto
ings,themselves
families:
the
Chibchanstockof the Chibcha-Payaphylanguage
neighboring
human
lum(henceforth
Historical
Chibchan)andtheChocoanfamily.
linguistics,
that
and
concur
populationgenetics,ethnohistory, ethnopharmacology
presentan ancientpopulationstretched
alonga narrow,
dayChibchanpolitiesexemplify
et al,
diversecorridor
1993;Barrantes
(Arias,2003; Barrantes,
environmentally
1990; Batistaet al, 1995; Kolmanet al, 1995; Thompsonet al, 1992; Torroni
etal, 1993,1994).Theirfissioning
andfusingis envisagedas havingtakenplace
in or near the regionstheynow occupy(southernNicaraguato northwestern
alludesto populationbottlenecks
that
Colombia).Theirlow mtDNAdiversity
notonlybytheeffects
of Spanishconquestbutalso bypreconwereconditioned
tactprocessesrelatedto earlierdivergence,
i.e., smallfounderpopulationsize,
social and physicalisolation,and geneticdrift(Batistaet al, 1995; Kolmanand
1997). Privatepolymorphisms
amonggeographically
contiguous
Bermingham,
that
divergedlanguages(e.g.,theNgobéandBugle) show
groups
speakrecently
witha
betweenpopulations
social barriers
thatfissioning
couldlead to effective
- sufficiently
well
into
to
have
extended
it
commonancestry
long-lived, seems,
Kolman
and
time
1993,pp. 111-176;
Bermingham,
pre-Columbian (Barrantes,
1997;Layrisseetal, 1995).ThisarguesagainstthenotionthatSpanishconquest
societiesso muchthatpresent-day
i.e.,theKuna,
tribes,
disrupted
pre-Columbian
arepostcontact
(Stier,1979).
hybrids
A recentstudycompareddivergencein potterystylesin Costa Rica and
Chibchans(Corrales,2000).
of resident
Panamawiththephylogeny
present-day
ofthefissionAnother
assesseda regionalarchaeological
sequenceinthecontext
and
of
the
radiations
and
Ngobé) of
'Guaymf(Bugle
ing,dispersals, adaptive
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
135
forebears
Panamaandtheirpurported
western
(Linares,1977a,1980a;
prehistoric
andMarcus,1983).
Linaresetal, 1975;cf. Flannery
The ChocoanEmberáandWaunáan,residents
todayof easternPanamaand
affiliations
with
tohavetrans-Andean
northwestern
Colombia,wereoncethought
the 'Carib' and Kayapo (Kirkand McDermid,1974; Rivet,1943/1944).More
on
an ancientpopulationcentered
recentstudiesindicatethatthey,too,represent
cordillera
ofColombia
andadjacentpartsofthewestern
theAtrato/San
Juantrench
etal, 2002; Salzanoand
1991; Jorge-Nebert
(Arias,2003;ConstenlaandMargery,
1988). Like theChibchanKuna,theyhave movedwestward
Callegari-Jacques,
of theprecontact
acrosstheDariénand San Bias in thewake of theextinction
inthefaceofnativeresistance
CuevanpolityandofSpanishwithdrawal
(Herlihy,
1997;Romoli,1987,pp. 23-24, 50-55; Wassén,1963).
AlthoughtheChocoans' divergencefromChibchansoccurredlongerago
withintheformer
estimatesformajordivergence
thancurrent
(Kaufman,1990;
KolmanandBermingham,
1997),distinctions
amongpolitiesthatspeaklanguages
believed.For exassignedto each of thesegroupingsare weakerthanformerly
lackor haveverylow frequencies
ample,sampledmodernWaunáanpopulations
of theDiego (Dia) antigen,considereda typicalChibchangenetictrait(Arias,
et al, 1990; Layrisseet al, 1995). People who spokeChocoan
2003; Barrantes
of
languagesprobablyresidedin easternPanamaat contact.A shortvocabulary
theCueva"language"containsa fewwordscognatewithmodernKuna,andmore
withparallelsin contemporary
Waunáan(Constenla,1991,p. 45, 1995,p. 23;
Loewen,1963,p. 245; Romoli,1987,Table5).
Atthenorthern
lakesandinthe
edgeofthelandbridge(aroundtheNicaraguan
was quitedifferent.
TempisqueValley)thesituation
Peoplewhospokelanguages
- Chorotega(Mangue), Subtiaba
belongingto threeMesoamericanfamilies
(Tlapanec),andNicarao(Nahua)(Constenla,1994)- settledhereduringthefinal
- welldocumented
millennium.
Theirincursions
pre-Columbian
ethnohistorically
- respondedto complexdemoand historically,
but difficult
to date precisely
1981;
(Abel-Vidor,
graphicandpoliticaleventsinMesoamericaanditsperiphery
Fowler,1989,pp. 34-70; Healy,1980,pp. 19-34). Some specialistsunderline
theseimmigrants'
lackof important
Mesoamerican
culturaltraitsandplaydown
theirMesoamericanization
of local cultures(Lange, 1993; Lange et al, 1992).
and linguistics,
however,elucidatetheirhistoryand
Archaeology,
ethnohistory,
social behaviorwithdifferent
emphases(Fowler,1989,pp. 131-151,227-248).
on
the
coloredpolychromes
arederivedfrom
Ideograms
painted
region'sbrightly
Mesoamerican
1984,
103-117,
144-152;
religion(Day,
pp.
Healy,1980,p. 236),
howeverdilutedormeaningless
time(Lange,1971,p. 231;
theybecamethrough
Langeetal, 1992,pp. 271-272).
Sixteenth
A.D.documents
also referto "Mexican"tradingcolonies
century
locatedatorjustafter
contactdowntheCaribbeancoastofCostaRica andPanama
as faras Nombrede Dios (Jopling,
1994,p. 32; Lothrop,
1926,1,p. 10;Torquemada
136
Cooke
theirethnicidentification
is debatable,
folk
1969,1,p. 333). Although
postcontact
memoriessuggestthatsome of themwereinvolvedwithexpandingAztec and
in thearea (Fernández,1886, pp. 235-237; Healy,1980,
Maya tradeinterests
p. 23; Lothrop,1942b;Pinart,1900).
PASSAGE, SETTLEMENT, AND THE BEGINNINGS
OF PLANT CULTIVATION (LGS- 7000 B.P.)
Since it is unlikelythatthe firsthumanimmigrants
intoSouthAmerica
land
direct
sea
the
crossings(Dillehay,2000, p. 61),
skipped
bridgeby making
and paleogeography
of theearliesthumanoccupationis important
theantiquity
forunderstanding
thetimingand natureof humandispersalsintothiscontinent.
foraddressinga
The narrowness
of the isthmusenhancesits appropriateness
in
versus
inland
and
current
debates:
coastal
fundamental
question
migrations
Keefer
et
theiraccompanying
subsistence
orientations
2000;
al,
1998;
(Dillehay,
Sandweissetal, 1998).
enteredthelandbridgeearlyintheLGS. Two surfacePeopleprobablyfirst
werefoundinlandneartheConticollectedJobo-like
projectilepointfragments
nentalDivide(La Yeguada[Pearson,2002, Fig. 38c] andLake Alajuela [Ranere
and Cooke,2003,Fig. 5d]). I predictfromVenezuelanevidence(Cooke, 1998b;
will confirm
thistenuousindicationof
Jaimes,1999) thatfutureinvestigations
a protoArchaicand pre-Clovispresence{sensu Dillehay,2000, pp. 8, 128133).
- hunter-gatherers
wholived
Evidenceis morewidespreadforPaleoindians
and
hunted
1
made
fluted
large
projectile
points,
approximately1,500-10,000B.P.,
animals(Haynes,1992;Politis,1991;Ranere,2000). Evenso, fewburied
extinct
associationshave eluded ar14C-dateddepositsare known,and human-fauna
Pacific
At
Panama),thereare no indications
chaeologists. Vampiros(central
of a humanpresencein sediments
depositedbetween15, 190 ± 60 B.P.(16,640
dateof
a
thin
cal
and
[16,210]15,820 B.C.)
occupationfloorwitha bulksediment
11,550 ± 140 B.P.(12,080-11,980[11,520]11,950-11,200cai B.c.). In soils depositedoverthisfloorandbeneatha charcoaldateof8970 ± 40 B.P.(8260 [8230]
flakestypicalofClovisreduc8200cal B.C.)Pearsonandhisteamfoundovershoot
endscraper,
a thumbnail
a
tiontechniques
(cf. Ranere,2000,Fig. 3c-f), spurred
fluted
American
fishtail
to
South
blade
similar
fluted
and
a
bifacial
point
scraper,
flakes
and
Pearson
Cooke, 2002). Thinning
points(Pearson,2002, pp. 67-71;
werefound
detailstypicalofPaleoindianbifacialpointmanufacture
withtechnical
Pacific
and
of
Corona
in
the
stratified
basal deposits
Panama)
Aguadulce(central
datedat the formersite to 10,440 ±650 B.P.(11,750 [10,400] 8090 cal B.C.)
and at thelatterto 10,675 ± 95 B.P.(cal B.C.10,869-10,408)and 10,529 ± 284
B.P.(cal B.C. 10,700-10,263)(Cooke and Ranere,1992b; Pipernoet al, 1991,
2000).
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
137
These archaeologicalfindsoverlapat 2<rwitha categoricsignalforsudden humanactivitiesin theoak-ilexforestsaroundLake La Yeguada ~ 11,000
thereis no evidenceforhumanactivitiesduringthe
B.P.,where,as at Vampiros,
3000
years(Pipernoand Pearsall,1998,pp. 175-179). Theyalso are
previous
coevalwithNorthand CentralAmericanarchaeologicalsiteswherestonetools
wereused (Cooke, 1998b; Gruhnet al, 1977; Ranere
of theClovis tradition
and Cooke, 2003). Pedestriansurveysaroundthe La Yeguada lakeshoreidenof Clovis and slightlylaterassemblages(i.e., a
tifiedstonetoolscharacteristic
flutedElvirapoint)(Cooke and Ranere,1992c,pp. 252-262, Fig. 2; Gnecco
of Cloand Mohammed,1994; Pearson,1999a,b).Evidencefortheproduction
vis flutedpointsand otherstonetools comes fromthreesites:La Mula-West
are uniquelyClovis,
and SitioNieto(centralPacificPanama),whoseindustries
andTurrialba(CaribbeanCosta Rica), whichincludesClovis-likematerialsand
laterassemblages(Cooke andRanere,1992c,Figs.4 and5; Pearson,1998,2003;
Ranere,2000, pp. 114-119). Ranereand Pearsonproposethattechnicaldetails
debrisat La Mula-WestandSitioNietopointtoexhibited
bytoolsandworkshop
wardsearlyClovis.A dateof 11,300 ± 250 B.R(1 1,910-10,880[11,230]10,770without
tools,foundon
10,710cal B.C.)was obtainedin the1960s fora hearth,
thehightidalflatwheretheLa Mula-Westsite is located(Crusoeand Felton,
1974).
with
Lake and bog sedimentanalysesfromtheland bridgeare consistent
in
from
the
which
reconstructions
elsewhere
point
paleonvironmental
neotropics,
and atmotowardssignificantly
diminished
sea and landtemperatures,
rainfall,
altitudinal
depression
sphericCO2 (vis-à-vispresentvalues),and a concomitant
of vegetation
zones untiltheonsetof warmingconditions(10,000-8,500B.P.).
Worldwide
LGS climaticoscillations(e.g.,YoungerDryas) aredetectableabove
3000 m in thepollenrecord,butnotat lowerelevations(Bush and Colinvaux,
et al, 1992; Islebe and Hooghiemstra,
1990; Hooghiemstra
1997; Islebe et al,
and
1995; Leyden,1995; Piperno
Pearsall, 1998, pp. 104-105; Pipernoand
since
studiesof the Cariaco Basin
Jones,2003). However,
paleoceanographic
of Venezuelashow a 3^° reductionof sea surfacetemperatures
and increaswind
the
trade
this
chron
exing
velocityduring YoungerDryas,
presumably
ertedsome influence
on lowlandclimatealongtheland bridge(Hughenet al.,
1996; Lea et al, 2003). A reversalof sea level rise duringat thistimewould
be significant
forthe locationof humanactivitiesin now submergedcoastal
areas.2
Paleoindiantoolsoccurin CentralAmericain severalpaleobiomesincluding
páramoin Guatemala(Gruhnet al, 1977; Pipernoand Pearsall,1998,Fig. 4.1;
RanereandCooke,2003). Paleoecologicalevidencefora latePleistocenegrassy
savanna'sreplacement
has beenacquiredat a lowland
bya Holocenemesicforest
2A Paleoindianbifacial
at '40-50 feet'near
pointbladewas dredgedin 1963frommarinesediments
Balboa at thePacificentrance
tothePanamaCanal (BirdandCooke, 1978b,Fig. 2b).
Cooke
138
Pacific-side
lakein Panama(MonteOscuro)(PipernoandJones,2003). It is harcoredataforextensiveopenLGS habitatsin Guatemala
moniouswithsediment
and Venezuela(Curtiset al, 1999; Leyden,1995; Leydenet al, 1993). By exCostaRica
fromtheseandotherrecordsPaleoindiansitesinnorthwest
trapolation
and centralPanamawouldhave been locatedin xericopen or scrubbyhabitats
bands(Lynch,1983). Sitesof
of hunter-gatherer
conduciveto rapidmovements
farPaleoindianage nearParitàandPanamaBays wouldhavebeenconsiderably
therfromthecoastlinethantheyare todayas sea levelshad notyetcoveredthe
Othersiteslocatedin areas above 500-700 m
gentlyslopingmarineplatform.
>1500 mmwouldhave been situor in lowlandswithan annualprecipitation
La
atedwithinforests
Turrialba,
Yeguada,Lake Alajuela,andBahíaGloria)
(e.g.,
and
Ranere
Snarskis,1979). These would have
Cooke,
2003;
1983;
(Correal,
notonlybecausethe
different
frommodernforests,
been floristically
however,
LGS climatewas coolerand drier,butalso because megamammals
foragedin
them(JanzenandMartin,1982; Owen-Smith,
1987;PipemoandPearsall,1998,
wind velocityincreasedduringthe YoungerDryas (Hughen
p. 171). If trademoremoistthat
et ai, 1996), Caribbeanslopes wouldhave been considerably
ones. Gomphotheres,
Pacific-side
horse,and groundslothswerepresenton the
late Pleistoceneland bridge(Alvarado,1994; Pearson,2002, in press;Webb,
1997). Althoughtheyhave not yetbeen foundwithhumanculturalremains,
theywerehuntedinColombiaandVenezueladuringPaleoindiantimesandbefore
(Correal,1981;Dillehay,2000,pp. 157-160;Jaimes,1999;OscheniusandGruhn,
1979).
andcolonization
controlforinitialhumanpassagethrough
In sum,temporal
to add supportive
butis stilltoo imperfect
ofthelandbridgeis slowlyimproving
ofLGS lithic
dataforalternative
i.e.,(1) thesequentialdevelopment
hypotheses,
-*
-*
the
total
or partial
versus
fishtail
Jobo
Clovis
traditions
(2)
(El
points)
subsistence
different
traditions
and
other
of
these
reflecting,
perhaps,
synchrony
and bands withdissimilarculturalorigins(Dillehay,2000). Neither
strategies
at theClovis timeperiodbetween(1) a directional
is it possibleto distinguish
movement
of a culturally
population(i.e., a Clovispeoplemoving
homogeneous
into
South
from
North
America)and(2) constant
exchangeoftechnologquickly
buthighlymobile
ical information
heterogeneous,
culturally
amongwidespread,
Clovis
bands(a
horizon).
technological
afterClimateChange?
Continuity
thatpeople remainedon theland bridgeduringand after
The hypothesis
from
Holoceneclimaticandgeomorphological
support
changesreceivesstrongest
inrecordat La Yeguadawherehumandisturbance
thelongpaleoenvironmental
at a timewhenrainfallwas increasing
tensified
(Pipernoand Pearsall,1998,pp.
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
139
betweenLGS and early
175-179). Archaeologicaldata thatsupportcontinuity
arerestricted
to highlandCosta Rica and centralPanama.
Holocenepopulations
unfluted
Stonetoolsthatwouldbe classifiedas Archaic(i.e.,tangedandstemmed,
projectilepoints,and limacescrapers)in otherareasof theAmericasare scarce
whereintensive
footsurveyshavebeenconducted(Acuña,2000;
butwidespread
Cooke and Ranere,1992c,fig.6; Pearson,1999a,b;Ranereand Cooke, 1991,
pp.248-249,1996,Figs.3.4 and3.5; Sheets,1994a,pp.233-234; Snarskis,1984,
as well as thinning
flakesderivedfrombifacial
p.197). Thesekindsof artifacts,
infivecentralPanamarockshelters
arepresent
whoseoccupapointmanufacture,
tionsdatefrom10,500to7000 B.R(Figure1; Pearson,2002; Pipernoetal, 2000;
Ranereand Cooke, 1996). The demiseof thebifacialreduction
of chalcedony
alludesto thephasingoutof hunting
animalswithstone-tipped
spearsand,preinsilica-rich
stone
sumably,
By ~7000 B.P.,bifacialtoolswrought
spear-throwers.
vanishedfromtheland-bridge
after~2000 B.Rin the
record,to be reintroduced
CostaRicancordillera
butnot,as faras we know,farther
south(RanereandCooke,
1996;Sheets,1994a,p. 234).3
theantiquity,
nature,anddispersalofdomesticated
Currently,
plantsin both
Old and New Worldtropicsand of themeaningand evolutionary
and historical
relevanceof conceptssuch as cultivation,
and agriculture
are behorticulture,
in
reassessed
the
of
for
research,
ing
light paleoecological
improving
techniques
remains
and
and
identifying
plant
taxonomically developmentally, increasingly
studiesof thegenetichistory
of cultigensand theirwildforebears
sophisticated
ed.,1996;Pringle,1998;PipernoandPearsall,1998;Rindos,1984;Smith,
(Harris,
intomanytrop1998,2001b).Itis clearthatdomesticated
plantswereincorporated
ical subsistence
not
after
Holocene
climatic
systems long
changessetin.In some
areascultivation
led to geneticand ecologicalmodifications
of cultigens,
and to
levelsofforest
clearancethatcanbestbe describedas agricultural,
wellbeforethe
introduction
ofaspectsofmaterial
culturethattraditionally
havebeenconsidered
sinequa nonoffarmers,
suchas polishedstoneaxes andpottery
(Denhametal,
and
2003; PipernoandFlannery,
2001; Piperno Pearsall,1998,pp. 175-182;Pohl
etal, 1996;Pope etal, 2001).
Sincemost(butnotnecessarily
all) ofthe100orso pre-Columbian
cultigens
weredomesticated
in Middleand SouthAmericaand sincesomeofthesecan be
tracedtospecificgeographical
areasonthesecontinents
(Harlan,1992),datafrom
theland bridgeare important
forunderstanding
whenand how theydispersed
northand south.Multiproxy
analysesof archaeologicalsoils and stonetools
3JuliaMayo (2004) reportssmallbifaciallychippedwedgesfroma workshopused to prepareshell
beadsatCerroJuanDíaz (1400 B.P.).After~1000 B.R,pointedtoolswiththreefaceswereproduced
in centraland westernPanama.In illustrations
(e.g., Einhaus,1980,Fig. 15/4;Ranereand Cooke,
of westernPanama
1996,Fig. 3.9) theyappear bifacial,buttheyare not The Talamancatradition
(6800-4300B.R) producedbifacialwedgesandaxeliketoolsinbasaltsandandésites(Ranere,1980c,
forlaterpolishedaxes madeoutofthesamematerials.
Fig. 8/4).Thesemaybe prototypes
140
Cooke
datedbetween9000 and 7000 b.r at threecentralPanamaniansites(Carabali,
Vampiros,and Aguadulce)indicatethatbottlegourd{Lagenariasiceraria),arrowroot
(Marantaarundinacea),lerén{Calatheaallouia),anda squash(probably
Cucurbitamoschata)werecultivated
duringthisperiod.The bottlegourdis of
itspresumably
seabornedispersalto
Africanorigin,butitis notknownwhether
Americaoccurredbeforehumansarrivedon thiscontinent
(Sauer,1993,pp. 5153). The botanicaland ecologicalreasonsfortheirbeingdomesticated
by 7000
B.P.have been amplydiscussed(Piperno,1998,in press;Pipernoet a/.,2000a;
PipernoandHoist,1998;PipernoandPearsall,1998,pp. 213-217;Pipernoetal,
abovearelocatedin
2000b; Sanjuret al, 2002). Sincethethreesitesmentioned
an area thattodayreceivesless than1500 mmannuallyandhas 4-5 monthdry
dataaccordwithsubstantial
molecular,
seasons,thesepaleobotanical
ecological,
and hybridization
evidence,whichindicatesthatwildancestorsof manyimportantlowlandtropicalcropplantsare nativeto seasonallydryand neverhumid
withthehypothesis
tropicalforests(Piperno,in press).Theyalso are consistent
distributions
ofwildcarbohydrate
andscattered
thatthescarcity,
lowproductivity,
resourcesin un-or minimally
early
impactedNeotropicaldryforestsstimulated
55and
in
foodproduction
Pearsall,
1998,
1989,
pp.
Piperno
press;
(Piperno,
61). Some carbonizedremainsoftreeproductsalso wererecordedat Aguadulce
and
and Carabali:palm nuts(Attalea,Elaeis, Acrocomia),nance{Byrsonima),
this
situaand
fruits
Ranere,
1992b).
(Cooke
Ostensibly,
zapote
(Sapotaceae)
of gardensin whichthereare as
with"small-scalecultivation
tionis consistent
for
Harris's
ones"
as
domesticated
wild
(1989, p. 20) definition
many
species
- and withSmith's(2001a) conceptof low-levelfoodproduction.
horticulture
increasein secondary
Even so, thedeclineof treecoverand thecorresponding
fromtheLa Yeguadarecordbetween11,000and
treetaxa thatcan be inferred
wereofa
inthiswatershed
7000 B.P.showsthat,bythelatter
date,humanactivities
The
distinction
forest
curtailed
to
have
scale
regrowth.
effectively
sufficiently
large
treetaxais, besides,a
statein theaforementioned
betweena wildandcultivated
forests
Panamanian
ofAcrocomiainestablished
subtleone.Therareness
suggests
domesticate
as
an
allochthonous
the
land
entered
thatthiswidespread
bridge
palm
humanselection
(Janzen,1983; Piperno,1989). C. E. Smith(1980) identified
timeat archaeologicalsitesin Chiriqui(western
fruitsize through
forincreasing
Panama).
dataareassessedtogether,
In sum,whenpaleoecologicalandarchaeological
a good case can be made forthe continualoccupationof the seasonallyarid
centralPacificplainsand foothillsof PanamabetweentheLGS and 7000 B.P.
alludeto theculturaltransformations
Certaindetailsof thestonetoolinventory
of a residentpopulation,whichbeganto add cultivated
plantsto wildfoodreandcentralCostaRica,therealso is evidence
sourcesafter9000 B.P.In northern
of populationsalthoughthisarea lacks thesupportof vegetation
forcontinuity
history.
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
141
AGRICULTURE, DISPERSALS, AND FARMER/FORAGER
INTERFACES (7000-2500B.P.)
in areaswith
If plantdomestication
and cultivation
beganin theneotropics
movedintomoister
a well-defined
dryseason,one wouldpredictthatfarmers
laterin timeas a consequenceof landshortageand decliningsoil
environments
in
tandemwithgradualadaptationsof the plantfoodsto human
and
fertility
and
(HansellandRanere,1997;Linaresetal, 1975).Inthe
manipulation transport
- wheretodaythereis a short,
lowerChagresValley
sharpdryseason- Caribbean
forests
and
5000-4000 B.P.(Bartlett
beganto be felledand burntapproximately
Bartlett
et
In
the
1985,
1988,
1973;
al,
1969;
208-209).
Barghoorn,
Piperno,
pp.
easternDarién(Cana, upperTuyraValley),forestclearingwithfireis apparent
in sediment
coresbythetimethesampledlakesbeganto fillwithwater(~4000
The
ofmaizepollenheresuggestthat,as atLa Yeguada,
B.P.)- highconcentrations
of thedry
thiscropwas intentionally
plantedat thelake edge at thebeginning
season(Bush and Colinvaux,1994; Piperno,1994; Pipernoand Pearsall,1998,
dataprevents
an assessment
ofthecultural
p. 226). The paucityofarchaeological
ofthepeoplewhomovedintothesewetter
forests.
affiliations
SedimentsfromLa Yeguada datedto 5860 B.P.containpollen of a size
(>90 micronsin length)thatunequivocally
belongto maize.A singleCucurbita
a
cultivated
from
phytolith
"probably
species"datesto ~6000 B.P.(Pipernoand
Pearsall,1998,p. 225). Maize,manioc,squash{Cucurbita),yam(Dioscoreasp.),
and possiblybean (Phaseolus) occur as plantmicrofossils
in late preceramic
middens
at
and
on
stone
tools
stratified
within
(7000-4500B.P.)
nearbyAguadulce
them.Maize and arrowroot
werecultivated
on thehillslopesnearLadronesand
maizenearLos Santanasduring
thisperiod.Inpreceramic
depositsdatedtoshortly
before7000 B.P.at Aguadulce,Pipernofoundphytoliths
thatoriginated
fromthe
cobs of a primitive
maize race thatprobablypossessedharder(morelignified)
also suggest
glumesthantypicallyfoundin extantmaize varieties.Phytoliths
a changefromharder-to softer-glumed
maize varieties,and possiblysmallerglumedstrains,shortlyafter7000 B.P.Such changeswould have made maize
easiertoprocess.Starchgrainevidenceindicatesthatmaizewas beinggroundat
thissiteby~7000 B.P.(Piperno,1993,2001; PipernoandPearsall,1998,pp. 209227,221-225,286-297; Pipernoetal, 2000b;PipernoandHoist,1998).
How maize,manioc,and moschatasquash,whichweredomesticated
outside theisthmus(Iltis,2000; Nee, 1990; Olsen and Schaal, 1999; Sanjuret al,
con2002),wereoriginally
acquiredis an unanswerable
question:down-the-line
tactamongcontiguous
settled
in
savannas
and
forest
populations
dry
edges,and
accordsbetterwiththeavailabledata
alreadyaccustomedto planthusbandry,
thando humandiasporaefromcontinental
areas by land or sea (Drolet,1980;
Ranere
and
in theory,
thesecould
Cooke, 1996,p. 73), although,
Lathrap,1977;
haveoccurred.
142
Cooke
In thispartof centralPanama,mostsitesthatcorrespond
to thelatepreceramicperiod(7000-4500 B.P.)arelocatedon thePacificslopes> 15 kmfromthe
coastandgenerally
on spursnearstreams
andrivers(CookeandRanere,1992b,c;
infavorofhillskewssitedistributions
Weiland,1984).(Holocenesedimentation
ofthisarea,however,
makesit
slopesandagainstriverbottoms.)The geography
easyforthesamepopulationto takeadvantageof theresourcesofrainfallfarma seasonalactivity)withpalmnutand (May-August)nancefruit
ing(definitely
collection,hunting(mostlydeer),fishingin riversand estuaries,and gathering
shellfish
and crabs.Frankly,
current
datacannotdistinguish
between(1) an annualsubsistence
roundthatcontemplated
theseasonaloccupationofcoastalsites
likeCerroMangoteandhillslopeoneslikeAguadulceandLadronesbythesame
socialgroups(cf.Voorhieset a/.,2002), and (2) theexchangeofhabitat-specific
resourcesamonga dispersed,
butsociallyintegrated
relatively
sedentary
population(Cooke, 1984; McGimsey,1956; McGimseyet a/.,1986/1987;Ranereand
researchhas documented
notonlythevariety
Hansell,1978).Archaeozoological
and abundanceof littoralvertebrates
and invertebrates,
whichwereavailableto
theregion'sinhabitants
after7000 B.P.as postglacialsea-levelrisedroppedoff
et
also
theinlandandtranscordilleran
but
of shellfish
al,
1984),
(Clary
transport
and- duringthesubsequent
ceramic
smallestu(4500-2500
B.P.)
early
period
arinefish(Cooke,1995;Cookeetal, inpress;CookeandRanere,1992a,c,1999;
andCooke,2001; RanereandHansell,1978).Longwindy
Hansell,1979;Jiménez
seasons
around
Parità
fish,and
Bay are ideal forsaltingand dryingshrimp,
dry
and sizes offishspeciespresent
meat(ZoharandCooke, 1997).The distribution
in preceramic
and earlyceramicmiddens,as well as thetotalabsenceof fishing
are
withtheuse ofbarrier
zones,which
trapsin intertidal
implements, consistent
Cooke
and Tapia,
biomasses
of
2001b;
capturelarge
aquaticorganisms(Cooke,
field
for
them
been
found.
The
narrowness
of
even
evidence
has
not
1994),
though
ofitscoasts,andtheease withwhichfoodscanbe contheisthmus,
theproductivity
forthedietary
inlandhaveobviousimplications
servedandtransported
well-being
communities
of land-bridge
(cf. Linares,1980a,
throughout
farming
prehistory
p. 246).
Potteryand CultureChange
culturalrecord,reprehad appearedin theland-bridge
By 4000 B.P.pottery
tradisentedby twogeographically
disjunctand,in myopinion,verydifferent
tions:Monagrilloin centralPanama(4500-3200 B.P.)(Cooke, 1995; Willeyand
innorthwest
CostaRica (4000-2500B.P.)
McGimsey,1954) andEarlyTronadora
thatMonagrillowas derivedfrom
(Hoopes, 1994a,c).It cannotbe demonstrated
coeval pottery
complexesin SouthAmerica{contraFonseca, 1997; Meggers,
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
143
1997; Willey,1971). It has notbeenfoundeast of theEl Valle massif.4Neither
has itbeenrecordedalongthewesternAzueroand Chiriquicoasts,whichwere
inthe1960s(Linaresde Sapir,1968;Ranere,1968).It
surveyed
quiteintensively
to coastalhabitats{contraWilley,1971; Willeyand McGimsey,
is notrestricted
1954) havingbeenfoundat sitesin thecordilleracentraland in theveryhumid
of theRiverCoclé del Nortewhere,at Calavera,Monagrillosherds
headwaters
balsam(Humiriastrum
wereassociatedwithcarbonized
daguense)seedsdatedbetween3450 ± 40 B.Rand3150 ± 50 B.P.(fourdates,2a range:cal B.C.1770-1395)
forcutting
andburning
the
(Cooke,1995;Griggs,1998).The farmers
responsible
used
kind
of
forests
this
pottery.
Chagresvalley
probably
in
Hoopes (1995) andPratt(1999) havearguedthatpeopleadoptedpottery
SouthAmericabecause theywerechangingthe
CentralAmericaand northern
shared,andstoredfoodsandliquids.Theincreasing
waysinwhichtheyprepared,
such as gourds(Lagenaria,
of
sufficient
plantcontainers,
difficulty providing
in
at
the
moment
an
Crescentia),
increasingly
populatedlandscapemay
right
looks like a firstattempt
Wherever
it is found,Monagrillopottery
be relevant.
Its
scarce
decorations
are
not
to makeclaypots.
(cf.
ideographically
impressive
Pratt,1999). Pétrographie
analysessuggestit was an expedientitemmade with
2003). Its appearance
locallyavailableclays (Griggs,personalcommunication,
was notaccompaniedbynotablechangesin thestonetoolinventory
(Cooke and
Ranere,1992b;RanereandCooke,1996).
in humanpopulationsize withrespectto thelate preceramic,
Differences
ofmoreproductive
foodplants,
whichmight
reflect
thedemographic
repercussions
aredifficult
to assessawayfromthecoast.AlongtheParitàBay littoral,
however,
and also largerthanlate preceramic
ones
earlyceramicsitesare morefrequent
covers
(Cooke andRanere,1992c).Debrisat theMonagrillocoastalshellmound
14,000m2(WilleyandMcGimsey,1954),which,touse Curet's(1998) estimates,
pointsto a maximumpopulationof ~200 people. Witha size of about 1750
CerroMangote(7000-5000 B.P.)wouldhavebeen occupiedby
m2,preceramic
of theMonagrilloshellmound
30 odd people.The inhabitants
(4400-3200 B.P.)
consumedmaize,manioc,and palm fruits,
and, to judge fromlargenumbers
of grinding
stones,in considerablequantities(Pipernoand Hoist,1998; Willey
and McGimsey,1954). Whethertheyactuallygrewthesecropsin the coastal
environment
of thetimeor acquiredthemfromothercommunities
cannotbe
demonstrated.
Occupationdebrisat anotherearlyceramiccoastal site,Zapotal
a maximumpopulationof
(2345-1255 cal B.C.),covered30,000m2,suggesting
cobblescachedalongsidean oval or circularstructure
~500. Edge-ground
here
4Food carbonresiduesfromfoursherdsfoundat Cueva Bustamante(R. Majecito,east Panama)
(Figure2), formerly
assignedto theMonagrillostyle(Cooke and Ranere,1992c,p. 270) returned
datesbetween690 ± 40 B.R and 420 ± 40 B.R [cal A.D. 1310-1620]) (contraCooke and Ranere
[1992c,p. 270]).
144
Cooke
stonesfound
(Cooke and Ranere,1992c,p. 273) recalla largerpile of grinding
at thevillageofReal Alto,Ecuador(PipernoandPearsall,1998,Plate5.2). Only
willenablearchaeologists
to estimate
howmuch
however,
décapageexcavations,
of thelivingspace in theseapparentvillageswas actuallyoccupiedat a given
time.
Hoopes' proposal(1987, p. 507, 1992a,p. 70) thatEarlyTronadorais the
tradition
4500-2500 B.P.),
earliestvariantof a northern
(approximately
pottery
of Nicaraguato thecentralCosta Rican
whichextendedfromthelake district
andtypologically
andadjacentCaribbeanslopes,hasbeensubstantiated
highlands
the
of
who
modified
Corrales
159-160),
(2000,
proposed contemporaneity
by
pp.
does not look like a first
thisstylewithfiveothers.5EarlyTronadorapottery
antecedents.
fromearlier,as yetunidentified
butrathera development
attempt
at
structures
Sheets' researchteamfoundevidenceforroundpole-and-thatch
as a "small sedentary
TronadoraVieja (G-163), whichtheyinterpret
village."
of theArenal
undertephrafroman eruption
was stratified
The earlieststructure
volcanoat ~3800 B.P.(Bradley,1994; Sheets,1994b,pp. 314-315). Maize was
groundhereon metateswithlegs (ratherthancrudemillingbases). Kernelsand
theearliestcarbonized
recoveredfromthreehearthsrepresent
cupulefragments
fromthelandbridge(3330-2930cai B.C.)(Mahaneyetal, 1994,
maizefragments
pp. 305-306).
was
In Panamawestof theSantaMaríadrainagewhereMonagrillopottery
or
not
been
has
of
the
earliest
ceramics
the
either
elucidated,
chronology
produced,
did
Ranere
from
elsewhere
entered
this
(1980a,p. 28)
(CostaRica?).
region
pottery
until2450-2150B.P.In thefertile
in Rio Chiriquirockshelters
notrecordpottery
active
valleysof CerroPuntaand El Hato,on thewesternslopesof therecently
inthepaleoecologicalor
either
Bariivolcano,thereis nosignofhumanoccupation,
forhuman
records,untilafter3000 B.P.Threeprimary
hypotheses
archaeological
forests
and
Caribbean
and
humid
into
this
cool
beyonditderived
region
dispersals
maize
Panama:
in
western
fromtheLinares-Ranere
(1)
having
farming,
project
in theseasonallydryPacificfoothillsand plainsof westernPanama
originated
above1500 muntil
forests
and/or
adjacentCostaRica,didnotexpandintomontane
3000-2000B.P.whenitsappearance
theendofthemillennium
appearstohavebeen
humid
Caribbeanforests
of
the
settlement
the
sudden;(2)
perennially
permanent
moveddown
fromthecordillera
was notachieveduntil~1500 B.P.,whenfarmers
Barii
of
the
of
three
to
second
in
tothecoast(partially response
volcano)
eruptions
underwent
subsequently
{see also Behling,2000); and(3) Caribbeanpopulations
on the
distinct
fromthatofcoevalandancestral
an adaptiveradiation
populations
with
them
1977
ties
social
Pacificsidealthoughtheymaintained
(Linares, 'a,
strong
1980a,c,e;Linaresetal., 1975).
Behling's(2000) pollenrecordfromtheVolcánlakesinthelowerofthetwo
data.The fact
witharchaeological
basinsstudiedby Linares'teamis consistent
5Diñarte,La Pochota,
Barva,andLos Sueños.
Chaparrón,
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
145
thatitidentifies
humanimpactson thelandscapebyclearanceandtheuse
"strong
of fire"after~2860 B.P.,however,vouchesforan earlierimmigration
thanthe
oneproposedbyLinaresandalso wouldexplainsomedatesthatformerly
seemed
anomalouslyearly(Linares,1980f,p. 109; Linaresand Sheets,1980; Linares
etal, 1975;Shelton,1984).The factthatclearsignsofextensive
with
agriculture
maizeareapparent
after~3240 B.P.at LagunaZoncho,located30 kmsouthwest
of Volcán(Clementand Horn,2001), conforms
withthehypothesis
thatslashand-burn
in
the
cordillera
became
after
maize
races
agriculture
possibleonly
had acquiredphysiologicaladaptationsto cool moistclimates(Galinat,1980;
withCorrales'(2000)
Linares,1977a;Linaresetal, 1975).It also is harmonious
of
an
nucleus
of
farmers
located
in
the
Valle
del Generaland
proposal
early
watersheds
of
Costa
whose
southern
tradition
is
Rica,
Térraba-Sierpe
earlypottery
distinct
from
the
coeval
northern
tradition.6
Black
Creek
from
the
modally
pottery
southern
Caribbeancoastalplainof CostaRica was in place between3440 ± 40
B.P.and 2580 ±40 B.P.(1880-590 cai B.C.)(Baldi, 2001), indicating
thatsome
stretches
of thehumidAtlanticCoast were settledlong beforethe forestson
theisolatedAguacatePeninsula(Bocas del Toro)whereLinares(1980c,e,f)did
notdetectarchaeological
sitesolderthan~1400 B.P.Northrop
and Horn(1996)
that
a
disturbance
horizon
identifiable
in
sediments
from
Lake Bonillita
propose
~2560 B.P.represents
a firstincursionof maize-usingfarmersintothe upper
in thecoastallowlands,a similar
(Caribbean)ReventazónValley.Further
north,
horizon
is
visible
at
La
Selva
B.P.(Hornand Kennedy,2000).
~2700
farming
Thesemovements
correlate
withthedistribution
oftheLa Montañaceramicstyle,
whichis coeval withBlack Creekand is also a memberof Corrales'southern
tradition.
pottery
Ovategrinding
stonesaccompanytheLa Montañapottery
(Snarskis,1984,
8.3
seem
moreappropriate
forpreparing
maizethanrootcrops.
Fig.
n-p). They
Severalresearchers
haveproposed,
thatmaizeandmaniocweredietarily
however,
and ecologicallydichotomous.
Stimulatedoriginallyby Harris's(1969, 1972)
and seed-culture
vegeculture
complexes,thisidea has been fueledin tropical
Americabytwoindemonstrable
assumptions,
namely,thatsmallflakesof silicarichstonewereusedforgrating
manioc
andthatflatceramicplateswith
cyanogenic
raisededgesweregriddlesforbakingbitter(toxic)manioccakes (Acuña,1983;
Birdand Cooke, 1978a; Corrales,2000, p. 39; Fonseca,1992; Snarskis,1992,
evidenceforcyanogenic
p. 143; Stone,1966,p. 27). Thereis no documentary
varieties
of maniochavingbeencultivated
on thelandbridge.Perry(2002a) has
foundmaizestarch
onsimilartoolsfromVenezuela.Manyotherkindsofplantsare
fibrous
taxaandpalmkernels).Maniocandmaizearelikelyto have
grated(e.g.,
beendietarily
fromthetimetheirancestral
cultivars
crossedpaths
complementary
millennia
Their
microremains
arefoundtogether
on earlyPanamanian
many
ago.
tools(Pipernoand Hoist,1998). Theyremainedcomplementary
on the
grinding
6Curré,
Danzara,BlackCreek,La Montaña,and Sarigua(centralPanama).
146
Cooke
landbridgeuntilafter
inareaswithseasonaldrought.
Spanishconquest.Boththrive
Maniocdoes wellon poorsoils wheremaizedoes not.It producesmorecalories
per unitarea thanmaize,whichhas considerably
higherlevelsof proteinthan
manioctubers(Bray,1984,pp. 315-319; Cooke,1992;Linares,1979).
In sum,availablesediment
andarchaeological
datafrom
core,paleobotanical,
centraland easternPanamainvitethehypothesis
thatfarmers,
whoopenedplots
forcultivation
thevegetation
and who cultivated
maize,
by fellingand burning
graduallydispersedfromearlierpopulationnucleiin drierareas on thePacific
in thewakeofthephytophysiological
slopesintomorehumidforests
adaptations
of thisand accompanying
cultigensbetween7000 and 4000 B.P.(Hansell and
havebeenlinear
Ranere,1997; Piperno,1985). This dispersalwoulddoubtfully
sincethelandbridgeis todaycharacterized
inclimate,
local variations
bystriking
Holocenedrierperiods,whichwouldhavefacilitated
drainage,and topography.
treefellingandforest
thesepatterns.
To evaluate
disturbance,
mayhaveinfluenced
themvis-à-vishumanbehavior,
itis necessary
inthelocaleffects
tofactor
however,
oftheEl Niño/Southern
seemsto haveincreasedin
Oscillation,whoseregularity
themid-Holoceneand whosepresent-day
effectsare oftenfeltdifferentially
on
thePacificandAltanticsidesofthelandbridge(Curtisetal, 1996,1999;Hodell
et al, 1995; Lachniet,personalcommunication,
2003; Leyden,1997, Leyden
et al, 1993). Significantly,
thereis evidencethattheperiod7000-4000 B.P.was
drierthantodayon thecentralCaribbeanof Panama(Bartlettand Barghoorn,
1973;cf.Rull,1996).
is
northon theland bridge,data on thedispersalof earlyfarmers
Farther
hasaddressedpreceramic
restricted
toceramicperiodsbecauseverylittleresearch
sitesoutsidePanama{butsee Lange,1984b).Thereis,besides,littleevidencefor
incoastalPacificlowlands(Hoopes,1988,1996),either
pre-3500B.P.occupations
siteshave been missedby surveyteamsor because
because thecorresponding
were
not
here.
and statistical
however,
analysisofpottery,
living
Stylistic
people
in
slash-and-burn
farmers
were
two
nuclei
of
that
there
Nicaragua
early
suggests
halfofCosta
ofthenorthern
andCostaRica: one in theseasonallydryhighlands
Rica andadjacentNicaragua,theotherinthesoutheast
(ValledelGeneral,Térrabaareasprobablyaccounts
out
of
these
lowland
Coto,
Chiriqui).Dispersal
Sierpe,
recordjust
forthe patternof forestclearancevisiblein thepaleovegetational
in
is
this
observation
of
Froma phylogenetic
summarized.
view,
stimulating
point
the
Chibchan
of
initial
nodes
of
about
the
of
discussions
divergence
relating
light
on thespreadof
attendant
languagesand gene pools to culturaldiversification
Cooke
and
et
Ranere,1992c;
(Barrantes al, 1990; Constenla,1991;
agriculture
between
in
correlations
confide
to
It
is
Corrales,2000).
overly
though,
premature,
anda specificclusterofpeopleandtheirproto-languages:
traditions
theseartifact
and surveycoveragetoo
thetimedepthis simplytoo great,the14Cchronology
and
the
historical
and
amongspeakers
geographicalrelationships
incomplete,
Chibchanlanguagesand betweentheseand speakersof Matagalpan
of northern
defined.
languagestooimprecisely
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
147
of culturaland
theuniformity
Care also shouldbe takennotto overstress
subsistence
duringsuchearlytimeswhenpopulationslivedin small,
geography
Talamancapreceramic
peopleswho livedin thewestern
dispersedsettlements.
6600 to4300 B.P.usedstonetoolassemofPanamafromapproximately
highlands
ofPaleoindianassemblagesandarequiteunlikethose
features
blagesthatretained
thereRanereproposed,
totheeast(Ranere,1980a,b,c,d).
oftheircoevalneighbors
inmorehumidorinaccessiblepartsofthelandbridge
remained
fore,thatforagers
longafterpeoplein drierareasbeganto farm.Dickau (personalcommunication,
2004) reports
isolatinga smallsampleof starchgrainsthatappearto be froma
site.Zamia was an earlyfood
Zamia speciesat theTalamancaPhase Hornito-1
sourcein theWestIndiesand was cultivated
by theFloridaSeminoie(Berman
and Pearsall,2000; Cardwell,1987; Veloz-Maggiolo,1992). It is possiblethat
Dickau's researchwill identify
other,morewidespreadcultigenson Talamanca
of Ranere'shypothesis
toolsand thusfostera re-assessment
(1980a, p. 43) that
what
theTalamanca
Come
were
farmers."
forest
"notall earlytropical
may,
people
from
coevalpeocultural
differentiation
infer
stonetoolinventory's
idiosyncrasies
identified
3
Sheets
and
Panama
in
central
Cooke,
14)
(1994b,
1996).
p.
(Ranere
ples
hiatusbetweena pre-5000B.P.Archaicforaging
a temporal
population(Fortuna
ofmodin
Tronadora
B.P.
and
villages thevicinity
farming
phase)
post-3800 Early
Costa Rica (Hoopes (1994a) offersan opposing
ernLake Arenalin northwest
view).
ofa
withregardtothenatureandtiming
also is recommendable
Temperance
humanpresencealongtheCaribbeanslopesofthelandbridge.Paleoindianswere
activein Caribbeanand montaneLGS forests(Ranereand Cooke,2003). Sites
whosestonetoolssuggestoccupationsbetween10,000and 7000 B.P.havebeen
inCaribbeanCostaRica (Acuña,1983,2000) andPanama(Griggsetal,
reported
is provided
confirmation
Ranere
andCooke,1991).Indirect
2002;
bymanateeribs
foundin a 6000 B.P.middenat CerroMangote(centralPanama,Pacific),which
thereonlyacrossthecordillerafromtheCaribbean(Cooke and
can havearrived
recordedpeoplesengaged
andethnohistorically
Later
Ranere,1992c).
prehistoric
across mountainrangesand betweenthe
in constantcommercialinteractions
Atlanticand PacificCoasts. Small-scaleeconomicenterprises
may have been
and wettest
even
the
remotest
the
of
to
stimulate
penetration
enough
important
in
earlier
advocated
the
before
forests
pages.If true,
agricultural
expansion
long
thanby
is morelikelyto be elucidatedin thefuture
thispattern
by archaeology
paleoecology.
TERRITORIES, TRADE, AND SOCIAL RELATIONS
thatthe
withHoopes's(1992a) observation
Mostresearchers
arecomfortable
a
Formative
of
a
scheme,i.e.,
generalizeddevelopmental
once-popular
concept
differences
"mother-culture"
(Ford,1969),obscuresimportant
among
pantropical
148
Cooke
smallercommunities
ofthe
land-bridge
politiesthatdevelopedoutofthesimpler,
becamemoreproductive
inresponsetogenetic
preceding
periodas (1) agriculture
increasedandnucleated,
and(3) social
taxa,(2) populations
changesincultivated
tensionswereaggravated.
Froma geographical
pointof view,accelerateddiverafter~2500 B.P.wereconditioned
notonlybytheintrinsic
genceandcomplexity
microenvironmental
thatI stressed
on theopeningpage,butalso by
heterogeneity
to technologies,
goods,andpeoplefromMesoamericaand northern
propinquity
SouthAmerica(Hoopes, 1992b; Linares 1977a, 1979). Materiallyit is exemfeatures.
frombeinga
plifiedby widespreadand interrelated
Pottery
progressed
merereceptacle
toa mediumforideologicalexpression
as plastically
executedand
ones,appearedand diverpainteddesigns,includingzoo- and anthropomorphic
sified.Largerand functionally
morecomplexvesselsbearwitnessto innovative
and intricate
decorativetechniquessuchas differential
firing,
negativepainting,
calciumcarbonatefiller,and the simultaneous
use of severalpigments(Baldi,
2001; Baudez etal, 1993; Bonillaetal, 1987;Cooke,1995;Cooke etal, 2000;
Corrales,2000; Fonseca, 1997; Hoopes, 1996; Sánchez,1995; Shelton,1984).
levelsof crafting
in response,notonlyto
Grindingtoolsattainedsophisticated
and importance
of foods,such as large-kernelled
changesin the morphology
in mostsamplesofcarbonizedplantmacroremaize(nownumerically
dominant
of thiscultigen,
whichis
mains),butalso to theincreasing
symbolicimportance
of somecultureareas(Bird,1980; Einhaus,1980,
evidenton thestonestatuary
p. 466; Galinat,1980;Graham,1992;Linares,1980a,p. 243; Linaresetal, 1975;
ofobsidMahaneyetal, 1994;Snarskis,1981).In GranNicoyatheproliferation
ian toolsreflects
bothimproving
technicalskillsand expandingtradenetworks.
inlargenumPolishedstonetools(axes,chisels,etc.)werenowmadeeverywhere
orreworked
at specificsettlements
bers,oftenfashioned
(Linares,1980a,p. 242;
Sheetset al, 1980). This burgeoning
was surelyrelatedto theneeds
industry
in riverine
or lacustrine
zones
of farming
settlements
concentrated
increasingly
whichhadto be removedto
borderedwithmaturegalleryandperipheral
forests,
oflargedugoutcanoes
gainaccessto deepcolluvialsoils,andtotheconstruction
forthecolonizationof offshore
islands(e.g., Taboga and Taboguilla[Panama]
and Isla del Caño7 [Costa Rica]) (Finchand Honetschlager,
1986; Stirlingand
In
blades
some
areas
the
art
of
1964b).
makingprismatic
(present
during
Stirling,
butwithitsown technical
Paleoindiantimesbutsubsequently
lost)reappeared,
idiosyncrasies
(Langeetal, 1992,pp. 163-165;RanereandCooke,1996).Lastly
and
crafted
and mostimportantly,
expertly
prestigeand ritualitemsproliferated
new contacts,demands,ideologies,and social tensions,whichby at
stimulated
ofpolitieswithmanyofthecharacterleastby 1300 B.P.had led to theformation
isticsofchiefdoms.
on Isla Caño go backtotheSinancrá
thatsettlements
7Badilla(personalcommunication,
2003) reports
dated
period(1500-300 B.C.). Taboguillawas occupiedby ~2000 B.P. to judge froma recently
vesselfromButlerIsland(Lake Alajuela)(1990 ± 40 B.P. [cal B.C. 60-cal A.D. 90]), whichis very
and Stirling
similartovesselsreported
(1964b) on thisisland.
byStirling
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
149
CulturalGeography
in materialcultureallow archaedifferences
Before~2500 B.P.important
forethnicand
withimplications
traditions
regionalartifact
ologiststo identify
Butitwasnotuntilafterthisdatethatcultureareascame
differentiation.
linguistic
in
tothefore.Thepredominant
conceptsincethedawnofarchaeology
geographic
theregion(Holmes,1888;Joyce,1916),cultureareasareeitherpoliticaldivisions
towhichtheappendageGreaterorGranhas beenappended(i.e.,Greater
Nicoya,
features
GranChiriqui,GranCodé etc.)orphysiogeographic
(i.e.,inCostaRica,
and centralPacificCoast) (Cooke,
thecentralvalley,centralAtlanticwatershed
2002b;
1984; Corralesand Quintanilla,1996; Lange, 1984a,b;Martín-Rincón,
that
Snarskis,1981; Sánchez,2000). Most publishedreportsand mapsintimate
betweenthemwererigidlyfixedin timeand space untilcontact.
theboundaries
studiesof subreThis is, of course,nottrue.Detailedgeographical-historical
to (1) the
attention
are
culture
areas
within
increasingly
drawing
particular
gions
in
settlement
volcanic
events
of
chance
(i.e.,
redirecting
eruptions)
importance
(Linareset al, 1975; Sheets,1994b,p. 318); (2) sociopoliticalfragmenhistory
andnucleationattendant
tation,whichresultednotonlyfrompopulationgrowth
- theterm
butalso fromgrowingcompetitiveness
intensification
on agricultural
ofchangesin
is oftenused(Snarskis,1981,p. 84); (3) theinfluence
balkanization
betweenthelocation
ontherelationship
andsocialinteractions
economicpriorities
andbetweenthese
andartifact
ofrawmaterialsources,craftcenters,
distribution,
et
Cooke
and
and settlement
al,
2003a; Creamer,
(e.g.,
geography demography
in
of
the
manufacture
1983; Sheets,1994b);(4) community-level
specialization
small
commodities
certaingoods thatwereimportant
(e.g.,
regionalexchange
andritualitems,polychrome
metates,
polishedaxes,and- north
pottery,
prestige
ofPanama- obsidiantools)(Drolet,1986,1992; Lange etal, 1992;Ranereand
zones,inwhich
1980;Sheetsetal., 1980);and(5) fluctuating
Rosenthal,
boundary
at
culture
area
of
cultural
materials
than
therewasa greater
(e.g.,
epicenters
mixing
and
Sánchez
Linares
de
1968;
Cooke,
Linares,
1980b;
Cooke,1980;
2000).
Sapir,
with
who workin GranChiriquiare documenting
For example,archaeologists
smaller
of
into
the
diversification
spatial
pottery successively
improving
precision
someunitscharacterized
developments
by stylistic
categorieswhoseposterior
timesbelie a commonorigin(Baldi, 2001; Baudez et al, 1993; Corrales,2000;
Hoopes, 1996; Kudarauskaset al, 1980; Linares,1980f).At thesametime,the
ofceramics
cohesiveness
ofthiscultureareaaftertheintroduction
sociopolitical
and
the
a
shared
artistic
is confirmed
common
traditions,
exchangeof
by
ideology,
inferred
from
items.
cultural
and
Changing
geography
pottery
everyday prestige
to be harmonious
withlinguistic
andgeneticdata,
distributions
appearstherefore
whichpointtorecent(<1000 years)divisionsofthisarea'sChibchansintogeminatepolitieseachwiththeirownlanguage,i.e.,theBribriandCabécar,Chánguena
andDorasque,BugleandNgobé,and,morearguably,
CotoandBrunca(Barrantes
etal, 1990;Constenla,1985;Corrales,2000).
150
Cooke
It is important,
to be temperate
aboutrelating
nonetheless,
specificclusters
of pottery
to specificrecentethnias.Althoughthepostcontact
culturalgeograto unravelfromexistingwritten
sourcesbephyof the Caribbeanis difficult
cause of multipleexternalpressureson nativepolities,it can be arguedon the
basis of ethnohistoric
data thattheancestorsof thepre-Columbian
people who
livedaroundtheLagunade Chiriquí,at siteslikeCerroBrujo,wereChánguena
andnotGuaymi{contraLinaresandRanere,1971,1980) whoatcontactwerelocatedfarther
eastbetweentheCricamolaandCalovéboraRivers(Castillero,1994,
pp. 188-200).
An additionalstimulusto culturaldiversification
on the land bridgewas
providedby thearrivalof migrant
peoples fromMesoamericato GranNicoya
that
probablyno earlierthan1400 B.P.The archaeologicalrecorddemonstrates
each of thesegroups,whosegenesisoccurredin Mesoamerica,quicklyslotted
underwent
acculturation
andecologicalradiation,
intolocal economicnetworks,
and followeddifferent
(Benavideset al., 1992; Bonilla
demographic
trajectories
etai, 1987; Lange,1984b;Vásquez, 1994). Evenso, theChorotegaandNicarao
in the1520s(Healy,1980,pp. 21-22; Oviedoy Valdés,
languageswerethriving
1849,p. 390). Theirspeakerswerestillknownas naguatatosin thelatesixteenth
century
(e.g.,Fernández,1886,p. 205). Thisis whytheSpanishwhoinvadedthis
from
wherethedifferent
thenorthin the1520scouldpinpoint
groupsthey
region
werescattered
called"Mexicans"wereliving.In fact,theircommunities
among
thoseof indigenouspeoples,someof whom,liketheHuétar,spokea Chibchan
them(Constenla,1984,
languageandwerenotalwayspeaceablydisposedtowards
1991,pp. 30-45; Healy,1980,p. 21; Santosetal., 1994).GranNicoyaatSpanish
communities
to severaldifcontactwas morelikelyto havecomprised
belonging
ferent
ones(Langeetal, 1992,p. 13).
ethnias(Ibarra,1991,2001)thanmultiethnic
Chiefdoms
Thereis a generalconsensus(butsee Roosevelt,1979) thatpre-Columbian
in complexity.
These kinpolitieson thelandbridgedid notsurpasschiefdoms
live
in cities,
which
lacked
did
not
stratified
societies,
based,moderately
writing,
not
but
andwereorganizedintosmall,sometimes
expansive
populous
politically
territories
(Earle, 1991), are evidentovermuchof the land bridgeby contact
whether
therequisite
(Helms,1979; Ibarra,1990; Romoli,1987). It is doubtful
economic
nucleation,
integration,
populationdensitiesand degreesof settlement
in thisstudyarea before2500
wereattainedanywhere
and social differentiation
B.P.Most scholars,in fact,postponethegenesisof chiefdomsin theirregional
chronologicalschemesuntil2000 or 1500 B.P.,by whichdates archaeological
and meaningful
craftspecialization,
evidenceforcategoricwealthdifferences,
are apparentin
and function
in archaeologicalsite size, complexity
variability
severalcultureareas (Briggs,1989; Drolet,1984, 1992; Fonseca,1992; Haller,
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
151
2004; Hoopes, 1991; Linares1977b, 1980a,pp. 241-244; Quilterand Blanco,
of thedatesof thepolychrome
1995). Reassessments
pottery
producedat Sitio
wealthdifferentials
Contepushtheevidenceforindisputable
based on rankor
statusin GranCodé evencloserto contact(after1300 B.P.)(Cooke eta/.,2000).
scheme,i.e.,fromsomekind
Forcingthesedataintoa progressive
developmental
of tribeintosome kindof chiefdom(Fonseca, 1992; Hoopes, 1991) or intoa
lateraldichotomization
alongthesame lines ("tribes"coeval with"chiefdoms"
[Creamerand Haas, 1985]),obscuresthecoevalexistenceuntilSpanishcontact
ofmanytypesofcommunities,
manylevelsofpopulation
densityandnucleation,
and different
subsistence
emphases,oftenin thesame culturearea or economic
interaction
sphere(Linares,1977a,1979).
of theterm
Oberg(1955) is oftencreditedwithhavingbeen theinventor
chiefdom
whosetheoretical
formalization
occurredafterWorldWarII (Sahlins,
1958; Service,1962). Even so, Lothrop'sexcavationof theSitioContein Codé
(Panama)between1930and 1933(Lothrop,1937,1942a)first
openedNewWorld
to
the
of
few
a
adult
males
held
who
eyes
archaeologists'
opulence
swayoversmall
territories
un-orunderendowed
withpublicworks.Relyingas muchon
noticeably
contactperiodSpanishdocuments
as modernscholars,Lothropunderlined
many
behavioraltraitsconsideredarchetypical
of chiefdomseven thoughhe did not
use thistermhimself(Briggs,1989; Lothrop,1937,pp. 9-29; cf. Helms,1979;
Linares,1977b;Roosevelt,1979).8
Researchers
nowprefermulti-to unicausal(primemover)explanations
for
theformation
and maintenance
of chiefdoms(Drennan,1995; Flannery,
1972).
thegreatest
Worldwide,
degreeofvariability
amongthese"autonomous
political
units"(Carneiro,1981,p. 45) concernsthearticulation
ofbirthright,
achievement,
and
and
the
between
and
authority,
prestige, power,
relationship
gradesofsanctity
socialhierarchy.
Thesefeatures
characterize
thehierarchical
of
chieftypologies
domsthatseveralscholarshaveproposed(Goldman,1970,pp. 20-24; Sahlins,
1958,pp. 11-12; Stewardand Faron,1959,pp. 241-245). Theyhave been the
aboutthenatureof land-bridge
chiefdoms
focus,too,of disagreements
(Briggs,
1989;Helms,1979,1982;Hoopes,1991,1992a;Linares,1977b;Roosevelt,1979;
thanfrom
Snarskis,1981,1987).Theyareeasierto gleanfromthedocumentary
thearchaeologicalrecord.Even so, one detectsconsiliencewithregardto the
of thefollowingfeatures:(1) chieflypowerwas deeplyrootedin
commonality
andmonopolizedbymales;(2) thetransference
of power
genealogicalhierarchy
withinhigh-rank
social unitsin each chiefdomwas based as much(or more)on
achievement
as on ascription
andwas oftenaccompaniedbyinternecine
tension;
8Thus,on social
groups:"theIndianswholived(in Codé) weredividedintomanygroupseachruled
. .; on insignia:"each chiefhad his own devicewithwhichhis
by a chiefand varioussub-chiefs".
followers
blazonedthemselves".
. .; on warfare:"warwas wagedbythenativesofPanamafrequently
andformanyreasons,ofwhichthechief(ones) wereto acquiremorelandsandacquireprestige".
..
on social classes:"although
thecommunities
in whichthenativeslivedwerenotlarge,theirsociety
was dividedintoseveraldistinct
ranks."
152
Cooke
theirsuccessby accumulative
behaviorakinto potlatching
(3) chiefsadvertised
a certaindegreeofcontroloverfoodproduction
in orderto financeso(involving
cial gatherings);
livedat specialsettlements,
often
(4) chiefsandtheirentourages
movingbackandforth
amongvarioussites(accordingtoSpanishchroniclers
they
livedin specialhouses,whichmayhavebeenconfusedformeetinghouses);(5)
at siteswhosespecialfeaturesalludeto theirbeingcentersof power,thereis a
correlation
betweensimplearchitecture
andmonolithic
andsymbolsof
sculpture,
bothaggressivebehaviorand fecundity
(expressedby imagesof humanfemales
and maize); (6) frequent
warfarefocusedon raidsand skirmishes
amongrival
chiefsin nearbyterritories
and was accompaniedbythemistreatment
of prisonforcedlabor,branding,
andloss ofburialprivileges;
ers,including
mutilation,
(7)
a degreeofresourceredundancy
amongthemostpopulousor richestchiefdoms
thelong-term
prevented
politicaldominanceof anyone of them;and (8) to acorideologically
whichwere
significant
badgesofoffices,
quirespecialsumptuary
traderoutes,
oftenexhibited
at specialplacesandduringburials,chiefscontrolled
items(Drennan,1991,
landsortowards
prestige
especiallythosethatledtodistant
1995, 1996; Fitzgerald,1996; Haller,2004; Helms, 1976, 1979, 1994; Ibarra,
1990;Lange,1992a;Linares,1977b;Linaresetal, 1975;Snarskis,1987).
PrestigeGoods, EsotericIdeas, and theRelevanceofDistance
to ExchangeRelationsand Elite Formation
totherelationship
betweenideology,
Therelevanceoflong-distance
contacts
of discussions
wealth,and poweron theland bridgehas been at theforefront
forthe
Helms
eversinceanthropologist
originally
Mary
developed hypothesis,
foundinpreCarlSauer(1966),thatmostmetalornaments
mulatedbygeographer
crafted
ones- wereproducedin
ColumbianPanama- andall themostexquisitely
eliteseitherobtainedthemvia
continental
Colombia.She arguedthatPanamanian
themselves
toColombiancenters.Such
crafters
orbytraveling
oritinerant
traders
contactsand exchangeswithdistantlandsand elitesconsolidatedtheinfluence
andpowerofPanamanianchiefsbyallowingthemtouse valuableprestige
goods
the
andthatoftheirentourages
as rewardsandto enhancetheirsanctity
through
of
esoteric
36-70,
140;
1992,
1979,
1994).
knowledge(Helms,
pp.
acquisition
whichcanbetraced
InMesoamerica,
scholarsassociateearlyeliteinteraction,
with
demandforfineceramicsdecorated
backto 3500-2500B.P.,to an increasing
and objectscraftedfromgreenstone,
certainideologicallychargedmotifs,
shiny
and
and pearloysters[Spondylus
ironminerals,and marineshells(e.g., thorny
Clark
and
1975,
Pires-Ferreira,
1991;
Blake,1989;Love,
Pinctada])(Clark,1991;
andchalcedonieswereprimary
CostaRica,jadeite,serpentine,
1976).In northern
2500 and 1300 B.P.and
betweenapproximately
forskilledcrafting
commodities
ofeliteexchangeanddisplayonthe
tobe theearliestmanifestation
areconsidered
landbridge(Bishopet ai, 1993; Chenault,1988; Guerrero,
1988; Sharer,1984;
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
153
Snarskis,1984). Opinionsabouthow and by whomthisjadeite was obtained
and whoactuallyused it haveswungfroma bias towardsMesoamericaas their
fonsetorigo(Baiser,1980; Easby,1968, 1981; Stone,1973) to a morebalanced
thatbothlocal andimported
materials
wereusedforthemanufacture
proposition
of threekindsof elite-centered
(1) amulets,(2) stonemaceheads
paraphernalia:
orceremonial
and
ceremonial
stonestoolsandgrinding
stones
sticks,
(3)
digging
(or metates)(BishopandLange,1993,p. 129; Lange,1993,p. 288, Langeetal,
1992;Snarskis,1984,pp. 176-178,215-219). CostaRicanlapidariesusedmostly
localjadelikestonesand (probably)an unidentified
local jadeitesource(Bishop
and Lange, 1993,p. 129). Imported
itemswereinvariably
madeofjadeitefrom
theMotaguaValleysourcein Guatemala(Langeetal., 1981).
These ritualor prestigeartifactclasses share zoomorphicicons, e.g.,
earedandhook-beaked
crocodiles,
birds,humming
birds,bats,
raptors,
parrotlike
and felids(Fonseca and Scaglion, 1978; Snarskis,1986). Because thesetaxa
are symbolsof standard
cosmologicalspacesthroughout
tropicalAmerica,e.g.,
toattribute
a Mesoamerican
forests,
earth,andsky,itis perhapsa hyperbole
origin
tothem(Snarskis,1985,p. 26). Evenso, CostaRicanlapidaryworkharksbackto
olderMesoamerican
artistic
inthesamewaythatearlyland-bridge
traditions,
goldworkadvertises
its
antecedents
in continental
Colombia(Bray,
iconographically
1981, 1992). Rare Olmec,Izapan,and Classic Maya jadeite amuletsand slate
mirror
backsfoundin CostaRica (somewithlegibleglyphs)werenotmadethere
(Graham,1993; Lange, 1993,p. 284; Parsons,1993; Stoneand Baiser,1965).
Theywererecycledand (probably)heirloomed(Graham,1992,p. 191; Lange,
1984b,p. 171; Snarskis,1984,p. 219). Thishintsthattherawmaterialwas more
valuableto therecipients
thanthefinishedartifacts
and theirforeignideology.
SouthofcentralCostaRica,wherenojadeitesourceis known,lapidariesworking
between2000 B.P.and before1000 B.Rpreferred
approximately
agate,quartzite,
and
Some largebarsandbarpendantsarebeautifully
crafted
sericite, serpentine.
andmusthavebeenespeciallyesteemedas bothprestige
andritualobjects(Cooke
et al, 2000, Fig. 8.7 v and w; Hearneand Sharer,1992,plates38-40; Lothrop,
1937,plate3; cf.Helms,1993).
Metalobjectsarefirst
recorded
onthelandbridge~ 1800 B.P.9In Bray's opinion (1992, 1997) metallurgy
spreadherefromtheSinú,Tairona,and Quimbaya
centersofcontinental
Colombia.Whether
theyweremovedby landor bysea or
transmitted
or itinerant
craftsmen
is archaeologically
unfathomable.
bydiffusion
Since canoe-borne
tradefromthenorthis well documented
in theethnohistoric
9Theearliestcontextualized
metalpieceswerefoundin feature16 at CerroJuanDiaz - a copperring
andfragments
ofornaments
froma disturbed
tomb,whichwereassociatedwitha humantoothdentin
dateof 1780± 40 B.P. (cal A.D. 130-370).Isaza, working
underthedirection
ofHeatherLechtman,
foundtracesofplatinum
in a fragment
ofa spread-eagled
birdin thisfeature
as wellas evidencefor
theweldingofthinplateswithdifferent
ofcopper.Although
thesetraitsarecharacteristic
quantities
of theLa Tolita-Esmeraldas
regionbetweenColombiaand Ecuador,platinumis presentin some
Panamanianores,andit is premature
to attribute
theseobjects'originto theformer
region(Cooke
eta/.,2003a; Cookeand Sánchez,1998;Ichon,1980,pp. 197,321).
154
Cooke
similarexchangeswithtraders
fromthesoutharelikelyandwould
record,
however,
ofInitialGroupornaments
in CaribbeanCostaRica before
explaintheclustering
1500 B.R(Bray,1981,p. 154; Cooke and Sánchez,2001; Graham,1996; Stone
and Baiser,1965). The earliestmetalartifacts
foundin land-bridge
gravesmay
havebeenmadeincontinental
Colombia.Evenso,localgoldworking
stylesdevelresorted
totheirowntechnical
opedrapidly,
idiosyncrasies
(Fleming,1992;Howe,
sharedmanyiconographie
detailswithotherlocally
1986),and,mostimportantly,
producedmedia(i.e.,shelljewelryandpaintedandmodeledpottery)
(Bray,1992;
Cooke andBray,1985; Sánchezand Cooke, 1998; Snarskis,1986).The productionofcastgoldfigurines
andhammered
plaquesis documented
archaeologically
and historically
in Costa Rica and Panamaand continuedintothe 17thcentury
A.D.(Bray,1981,p. 156; Lange, 1992a,p. 129,Fig. 14; Snarskis,1985,p. 26).
Metalornaments
datedbetween1800and 1300B.P.atCerroJuanDíaz werefound
associatedwithritualparaphernalia,
i.e., Spondylusbead and felidteethaprons
Itis possible,then,that
and/or
necklaces,polishedstonebars,andincenseburners.
ornaments
at
first
slotted
into
ritual
activities
such
as
shamanism
andcuring
gold
2000; Saunders,2003). Onlylaterdid
(Cooke,2003b;Cookeetal, 2000; Quilter,
behaviorof
theyacquiretheexotericrolenecessitated
by theself-aggrandizing
adult
which
is
evident
after
B.P.
at
some
1300
sites
males,
wealthy
clearly
mortuary
suchas SitioConte(Briggs,1989; Lothrop,1937),in stonestatuary
(Fernández
and Qunitanilla,
2003; Graham,1992, 1996), and also in Spanishdescriptions
of warriorsgoing to battlebedeckedwithshininggold finery(Cooke et al,
2003a).
The coeval use of gold and jadeite has been documented
in Costa Rica
But
after
B.P.
's
in
~1500
1998;Snarskis,2003).
(e.g.,Herrera,
jadeite importance
and
Costa
Rica
diminished
as
cast
and
hammered
ornaments
Nicaragua
tumbaga
becamemorewidelydistributed.
AlongthecoastofPanamaBay,a similarchange
in priorities
theproduction
ofbeads andpendantsmade
appearsto haveaffected
ofthorny
andpearloysters(Spondylus
andPinctada),whoseapogeeoccurred
between1800and 1200B.P.(Cooke,1998a;Cooke etai, 2000; Ichon,1980).10It is
oflocalpopulations
possiblethatitsdeclinewasrelatedtohumanoverexploitation
of theseshells.Or perhapsSpondylusartifacts
werewornonlyin certainritual
contexts
thecase,polychrome
orbyyoungpeople(Briggs,1989).Whichever
potin
the
distinctive
of
Gran
Codé
(Labbé, 1995;Lothrop,1942a;
terypainted
style
less abundant
at siteslocatedeastoftheEl
Sánchez,2000) becameconsiderably
thenewdemands
Vallemassifafter1200B.P.thanitwasbeforethatdate,as though
ideandideologiesstimulated
novelexchangerelationships
relatedtothegrowing
of
metal
ores
and
which
artifacts,
hypothetically
ologicalandpoliticalimportance
of exchangecenterssuchas Cupica
wouldhave led to thegrowingimportance
(Colombia)(Bray,1984) and evenchangesin thesocial or ethniccomposition
outof inshoreestuarine
10Ornaments
fashioned
shells,suchas Anudaragrandis,weremanufactured
untilafterSpanishcontact(Cooke etal, 2000).
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
155
ofcoastalsettlements
aroundtheGulfof Panamaand itsislands(Cooke, 1998a;
Cooke et al., 2000; Sánchezand Cooke, 2000). Copperand gold ores are parabundantin outwashand alluvialgravelsalongthecentralCaribbean
ticularly
and Cordillera
of Panamaand in theDanen (Cooke et al, 2003a), whereasin
thePacific,Spondylusand Pinctada are concentrated
aroundrockyand coralislands.Recentresearchin theBelén,Coclé del Norte,and IndioRivers
fringed
in Panamahas identified
sites- somewithextensive
especiallylargeprehistoric
stonewalledterraces in proximity
to localitieswheretheSpanishextracted
alluvialgold(Cooke etal, 2003a). Similarsiteswithmoreimpressive
architecture
arewellknownfromtheCaribbeanwatershed
in CostaRica (e.g.,Guayabo,Las
Mercedes,andLa Cabana)(Fonseca,1981,1992;Hartman,
1991;Snarskis,1984).
Chiefswhoseterritories
includedgoldandcopperdeposits,
andlavas,
basalts,tuffs
fineclays,andscarcepigments
wouldhavebeenable toexchangethesematerials
fortheagricultural
produceofneighboring
politiessituatedin areasbettersuited
to theproduction
offoodstuffs.
In 1502,Columbus'son Ferdinand
referred
to thecoastbetweenAlmirante
and
the
River
Coclé
del
Norte
as
"active
Bay
tradingcountry"(Cooke et al.,
sourcesstatethatthe"Mexican"traderspresenton
2003a). Laterdocumentary
theCaribbeancoastatandaftercontactwenttherespecifically
toobtaingoldand
cacao (Lothrop,1942b).It is unclearwhichgoods wouldhave been offered
to
localpeopleinexchangefortheseproducts.
I knowofonlyfivepublishedartifacts
fromPanamathatcanbe objectively
attributed
toMesoamerican
and
manufacture,
one
whose
the
southern
of
the
land
is
only
originbeyond
edge
bridge indisputable
(Cooke et ai, 2003a; Lothrop,1942a,fig.440). All are smallportableobjects,
and none was foundin a professional
excavation.Exactlywhereon the land
articles
that
reached
and
Mexicansitesweremanufactured
is a
bridge
Mayan
difficult
to
answer.
Current
does
not
admit
their
question
knowledge
attributing
toa particular
provenience
regionsuchas "Veraguas"or"Coclé."Metalfigurines
cast in Bray'sInitialand International
Stylesexhibitfarless regionalstylistic
differentiation
thando pottery
andstonetools.Largegapsexistinthedistribution
ofarchaeologically
contexualized
goldwork,
especiallyineasternPanamaandthe
AtratoBasin,wherethereis documentary
evidenceforimportant
metalworking
centers.Finishedornaments
werecomposedof variablequantitiesof generally
water-borne
auriferous
ores,which,whenintentionally
alloyed,are notoriously
difficult
toattribute
tospecificmineralsources(Bray,1977,1992,1997;Fleming,
1992;Graham,1996;contraLothrop,1950,1952).
Tradeandexchange,ofcourse,werenotexclusively
eliteactivities.
Contact
accountsaboundwithreferences
to themovement
of a wide
periodethnohistoric
of goodsamongpolitiesthatdwelledin thesame,contiguous,
or nearby
variety
territories
or spheresof influence
habitats
chiefly
(Helms,1979) butin different
withdistinct
inventories.
OviedoyValdés'sreference
totheCuevans'barproduct
thepreeminence
ofthisbehavior.
tering
everything
theyowned(p. 132) underlines
Humidforestproducts,
the
i.e., incense,medicinalplants,resins(forembalming
156
Cooke
and felid
dead), cacao, vegetabledyes,petpeccaries,birdsand tapirs,feathers,
inlistsoftradeditemsthatwereexchangedfornonteeth,claws,andpelts,figure
forest
marineshells,andsaltfish(e.g.,
items,e.g.,humancaptives,cottontextiles,
Andagoya,1994 [1519],p. 29; Núñezde Balboa, 1994 [1513],pp. 23-24; Ibarra,
1990;Oviedoy Valdés,1853,p. 140). It is clearthatpeoplecaptured
duringskirmisheswerecoercedintobecomingporters
forthistrade,whichtheruggedterrain
ofmuchof theisthmuswouldhavemadequiteonerous(Oviedoy Valdés,1853,
p. 140). Some Panamanianchiefs,wholivedinland,controlled
"ports"on one or
bothcoastswheremarineproductswereobtained.Marketsin GranNicoyawere
vibrantplaces of exchange.Theywerecalled tiánguezby theNicarao,cognate
withAztectianquiztli
in thechiefvillageof
(Fowler,1989,p. 187). At markets
NatainGranCodé (Panama),peopleexchangedcoastalproducesuchas crabsfor
maize(Espinosa,1994b[1516],p. 49). The relativeabundanceof severalspecies
of marinefishat SitioSierra,located12.5 kmup theSantaMariaRiverfromthe
coast,suggestsmarket-type
exchange(Cooke andRanere,1999).A Panamanian
- Escoria(RiverSantaMaria)- made"arms"(presumably
chiefdom
stoneand/or
woodenweapons)forthesurrounding
territories
1994b[1516],
(Espinosa,
p. 54).
In highland
stone
tools
were
at
most
households
while
Chiriqui,
chipped
produced
axes
to
have
been
the
work
of
and
Sheets,
(Linares
polished
appear
specialists
1980).Axe quarriesfoundbyGriggs(1998) intheveryhumidCaribbeanfoothills
ofcentralPanamaproducedblanks,whichwerepresumably
exchangedwithpeowho
lived
at
on
the
Pacific
side
there
(Cooke,1977).Although
ple
largervillages
was somereciprocal
of
fine
between
Gran
and
exchange
polychromes
Nicoya centralandcoastalPacificCostaRica,thiswas sporadic(Guerrero
etal, 1994;Lange,
1992a,p. 127; Snarskis,1984,p. 222); compositional
analysishas shownthatthe
movement
ofclayvessels(evenbeautifully
crafted
ones)wasstrongly
intraregional
inGranNicoyawherea sampleofa wareformerly
believedtobe Mesoamerican
- provedto havebeenlocallymade(Bishop,1992;Bishopetal, 1992,
Usulután
pp. 160-162; Lange, 1992b,pp. 435-436). On theotherhand,elementalanalyin fromHonduranand Guatemalanquarries
ses showthatobsidianwas brought
km
to
from
their
of
use
450
up
points
(Healy et al, 1996,p. 21; Salgado and
Sheets
et
Zambrana,1992/1993;
ai, 1990;Strossetai, 1992).In western
Panama,
obsidianis restricted
to poor-quality
local materials(Ranere,1980c,pp. 319320).
thelocationofproducers
andrecipients
ofartifacts
is
Accurately
identifying
a prerequisite
forunderstanding
anotherimportant
of
relations
aspect exchange
inland-bridge
chiefdoms:
thedevelopment
ofspecializedcrafting
alongsideolder
Drolet
that
in
the
of
household
(1992) proposed
Diquis subpatterns
production.
ceramic
stone
of
Gran
wares,polished
jewelry,andround
region
Chiriquifancy
stoneballs weremade at specialcenterssubsidizedby theleadership(see also,
fromhouseholdto specialized
Fernándezand Qunitanilla,
2003). The transition
in
of
obsidian
tools
is
evident
Gran
Nicoya (Valerioand Salgado,
production
2000).
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
157
documents
indicatethatmetalornaments
werean important
Contact-period
oflocalandregionalexchangenetworks
theacquisition
ofores
component
linking
inalluvialandhilloutwashdepositstospecializedcrafting.
Artisans
atthevillages
oftwoPanamanian
chiefs,Comogre(lowerChucunaque)andCori(nearmodern
PanamaCity)crafted
made-to-order
whichwereexchangedforraw
ornaments,
districts
(Cooke et al, 2003). ChiefCoutoo Coctuin
goldobtainedin outlying
southeastern
Costa Rica was renownedas a goldsmith
(Snarskis,1985,p. 26).
WhenFernándezde Oviedowas livingat HispanicizedNata (centralPanama)in
1527he wouldsendhisnativeslavesoutto barter
cottonblanketsandhammocks
for"goodqualitygold"withpeoplelivingintheunconquered
regionsofVeragua
(Cooke andRanere,1992c,p. 285; Oviedoy Valdés,1853,p. 499).
Territories,
Special sites,Gatherings,and Genealogies
On theland bridge,as elsewherein tropicalAmerica,estimating
thesize
ofnativepopulations
is curtailed
drastic
decline
by
demographic
duringthefirst
fewdecades betweeninitialSpanishcontact(arguablyprecededby old world
of
diseases)and thefirstroyalcensusfiguresobtainedduringtheestablishment
theencomienda
Since
rates
1994,
system(Castillero,
pp. 36-64).
mortality during
- perhapsup to 90thisperiodaregenerally
assumedto havebeencatastrophic
95% (e.g., Abel-Vidor,1981)- thenumbersof people presentat contactmust
havebeenconsiderably
moreelevatedthanthoserecorded
encomienda
bythefirst
figures.
TheSpanishterm
considered
provinciais generally
byscholarstoequatewith
theterritory
of a singlechiefdom,
whichitselfcomprisedseveralvillages(e.g.,
Helms,1979,Figs.6, 8,9; Lothrop,1937,Fig.2; Romoli,1987,p. 33,map).Using
data,Romoli(1987, pp. 29-31) calculatedthatat Spanishcontact
documentary
there
were89 chiefdoms
in Cuevanterritory
(1501-1519)
(easternPanamaand
northern
which
covered
km2.
If
we
25,000
Colombia),
acceptherestimatefor
theCuevanpopulationas 230,000,chiefdomsaveraged2854 people (density:
10 persons/km2).
Ibarra(1984,pp. 58-59) estimated
thepopulation
ofthelargest
of tenchiefdomsin thecentralAtlanticwatershedand centralvalleyof Costa
vis-à-visthe
Rica, Guarco,as 5550 people in 1569, surelyan underestimation
situation
in 1502.On thebasisof archaeological
surveydata,LinaresandSheets
thepopulationof theVolcánarea of highlandChiriqui
(1980, p. 54) estimated
~1350 B.P.at 2430 people (density:39/km2),
by whichtimethereis evidence
forsiteand socialhierarchies.
their
less reliableestimateson an average
Basing
of 600 peopleper villagelocatedaboutevery3 km up theSanta Maria River
ofthechiefdom
(Weiland,1984),Cookeetal. (2003b)proposethatthepopulation
of Escoria,withan estimatedarea of 176 km2,was ~7800 (density:44/km2).
ChiefComogreis saidbyOviedoy Valdés(1853,p. 9) tohavebeenabletorecruit
3000 warriors
and to haveruledover10,000people.SpanishcaptainGasparde
158
Cooke
Espinosaguessedthepopulationof thevillagewherechiefNata livedat M 500
thelargestinthe
people(Espinosa,1994b[1516],p. 44). The villageofTurrialba,
chiefdom
ofGuarco,had2100 people(Ibarra,1984).
Thattheabove figuresare disproportionately
eclecticand dangerously
apwas recently
underlined
proximate
byHaller's(2004) footsurveyof 104 sq. km.
in theParitàvalleyin centralPanama.Basinghis populationestimateson the
betweenthearea and densityof occupationof sites,rather
thansite
relationship
area alone,Hallerproposeda maximumpre-Columbian
populationofjust over
1000forhissurveyarea.Notwithstanding
Haller'scautionary
however,
approach,
it seemslikelyto me thatthelargestprovinciasdescribedby theSpanishon the
landbridgewouldhavehadpopulations
intherangeof2000-10,000people,with
In
villagesof morethan1000 people in themostdenselypopulatedterritories.
areas of veryhighsubsistencepotential,such as thelake regionof Nicaragua
andlargefluvio-estuarine
thefigure
systems,
mayhavebeenconsiderably
higher.
If thelowerend of thisestimation
seemsoverlysmallforthepopulationof a
havederiveda population
of2000 peoplefromfielddata
chiefdom,
archaeologists
obtainedintheValleyofOaxaca (Mexico)between3100 and2450 B.P.(Drennan,
andpublicarchitecture
are
1991,p. 268) - a periodduringwhichstatusdifferences
tothoseofmanyoftheland-bridge
chiefdoms
inthelastfewcenturies
comparable
ofthepre-Columbian
periodandatcontact.
wererelatedtolinguistic
andethnicdiversity
is
Exactlyhowthesechiefdoms
a difficult
evidencesouthofGranNicoya
questiontoanswerbecausedocumentary
is difficult
to interpret.
In thewesternChiriquícordilleraand in centralPanama,
each chiefdom
is recordedas havingitsownlanguage,sufficiently
differentiated
forinterpreters
to have been neededin social encounters
amongnativepolities
(Andagoya,1994[1519],pp.33-34; OviedoyValdés,1849,p. 235, 1855,p. 117).
Incentral
CostaRica,severalchiefdoms
spokethesamelanguage(Huetar)(Ibarra,
as havingbeenspoken
1984). Althougha singleCuevan"language"is reported
overa territory
in whichRomoliidentified
Oviedoy Valdés
90
chiefdoms,
nearly
refers
to"manydifferences
ofvocabulary"
acrossthisregion.Itis possible,theredialectalvariation
fore,thattherewas considerable
(as wouldbe expected)orthat,
"Cuevan"
a
was
or
koine
in
used forcommunication
conversely,
linguafranca
like
the
of
Amazonia.
On
the
one
Oviedo
relations,
hand,
exchange
linguageral
womenfrom
y Valdés(1853,pp. 132-133) saysthatCuevanchiefsdidnotmarry
who
on
the
other
it
is
clear
thatchiefs
hand,
people
spoke"foreign"languages;
in centralPanamatookwivesfromneighboring
territories
eventhoughtheywere
in conflict
withthem.Otherlinguistic
features
thatanthropologists
haverecorded
forneotropical
such
as
peoples,
linguistic
exogamy(Jackson,1983) and theuse
of ritualspeechmodes alongsidedemoticones, are difficult
to decipherfrom
documents.
After~2500 B.P.considerableregionaldifferences
developedon theland
with
to
residential
structures
and
sites.
bridge
regard
funerary Manyofthesecan
be explainedbyculturaldiversity,
ofcourse,bylocal environmental
conditioned,
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
159
and rainfall).In thenorth,
conditions
fromGranChiriquiinto
(e.g.,topography
or walls (Corralesand Quintanilla,
GranNicoya,houseshad stonefoundations
1996,figs.5-9, 5-10; Drolet,1992;Quilter,
2004; Snarskis,1981,figs.16,20,32).
Gravesoftenusedstonewalls,floors,
andlids(Snarskis,1981,fig.13; 1992,figs.9
and 10). SouthofGranChiriqui,
on thePacificside,theextensive
use ofstonehas
notbeenreported
forarchaeological
whichhadclayfloors,sometimes
dwellings,
canewalls,androofsmadeofpalmorgrassthatch
(Carvajaletal, inpress;Cooke,
1998d;Isaza, 1993).11Eventhemostlavishtombshereweresimpleexcavations
madein theunderlying
soil or cutthrough
bedrock.Theywerenotembellished
withstonealthough
structures
inthemannerof
manywerecoveredbyperishable
recentKunamortuary
enclosures.
Oftenburialsweremadeunderneath
structures,
Cooke
et
1989;
al,
2000;
Díaz,
1999;
Isaza,
1993;
including
dwellings(Briggs,
Linné,1929,pp. 247-252; Lothrop,1937; Sánchez,1995). Spanishchroniclers
describemortuary
housesin whichtheembalmedor desiccatedbodies of elite
were
laid
outwithall theirfinery
personages
(Espinosa,1994a[1519]pp. 63-64;
A
round
structure
foundat CerroJuanDíaz has
1912,
218).
Martyr,
p.
recently
beeninterpreted
as a mortuary
house(Carvajaletal, inpress).On theCaribbean
slopesbetweenBocas del ToroandthePanamaCanal,ithasnotbeendetermined
whether
somesiteswithstone-faced
terracesandstonefloorsserveda residential
orceremonial
function
(Cooke etal, 2003a; Cookeetal, 2003b,p. 6).
All overtheland bridge,areas reservedonlyforburialsalso are known,
established
atsomedistancefromresidential
areas,oftenon thetopsofhighhills.
Someoftheseareofan earlyceramicdate(3000-2000B.P.)(Biese, 1967;Cooke,
1995; Harte,1966; Stirlingand Stirling,1964a). Others,such as Panteonde la
Reina(Rivas,CostaRica) (Quilter,
elites.
2000),weretheresting
placesofwealthy
A smallnumberof sitesalso exhibitnonresidential
features
thatare either
earthen
oremploycobblesandflagstones
forpavements,
entirely
plazas,terraces,
structures.
Theseareoftenaccompaniedbyspecial
drains,andforfacingearthen
ofGranChiriqui,stoneballs.
burials,stonestatuary,
and,in theDiquis subregion
An interesting
of
their
distribution
is
that
aspect
theyare farfewerin number
thantheprovinciasdescribedby theSpanish.In westernPanama,forexample,
- endowedwitha ceremonialplatform,
Barriles
huge ceremonialmetatesand
- seemstohaveservedatleasttwoterritories,
doublesculptures
ofhumanfigures
each one of which,it can be argued,has featurescoincidentwiththoseof an
autonomous
chief
dorn(Haberland,1973;Linaresetal, 1975;LinaresandSheets,
La
1980). PitahayaandVillalbaaretheonlysiteswithmoundsandcolumnsknown
Cañoceremonial
alongtheGulfofChiriqui(Linares,1980b,d).TheSitioConte/El
in
Gran
Codé
is
endowed
with
lines
of
and
precinct
columns,
sculpted unsculpted
animalfigures
in theround,and stonepavements,
whichtogether
appearto have
11Therearetwo
references
tostone'sbeingusedforbuilding
inPanama:'Cateba' (Bocas
documentary
del Toro)(Columbus,1959,p. 243) and Comogre(Danen) wherethe"chief'shouse"(perhapsa
withstonewalls
congresshouse)measured1150 x 80 yardsand was madeoutofwoodreinforced
1912,p. 219).
(Martyr,
160
Cooke
BurialremainsattheSitioContesectorsuggestthatthis
formed
a specialprecinct.
a fewveryrichandsuccessful
ones.
was theresting
placeofadultmales,including
wereburiedthere(Briggs,1989;Cookeetal, 2000;
Few womenandno children
Cookeetal, 2003a; Lothrop,1937;Torresde AraúzandVelarde,1978).Although
in
whereverywealthypeople wereburiedhavebeen reported
othercemeteries
thisculturearea (e.g., Finca Calderónon theAzueroPeninsula)(Cooke et al.,
and pavements
2003a; Haller,2004; Ladd, 1964), no similarsitewithstatuary
of Costa Rica, thereare
On thecentralAtlanticwatershed
has been identified.
twolargeclustersof ceremonialsites,each of whichcoversan area of about10
km2(Guayabo,La Zoila,NajeraandLas Mercedes,La Cabana,CostaRica Farm)
(Hartman,1991; Snarskis,1992,p. 157).
The distribution
ofthesespecialsitesraisesinteresting
questionsabouttheir
and aboutthesocial universes
function
theywouldhaveserved.Some surviving
ethniason thelandbridgestillplayritualgameswhosepreparation
requiresthe
is a
lots
The
balsería
amounts
of
food
for
of
of
Ngobé
people.
provision large
and
Others
ball
well-documented
1971,
1976).
speargames
example(Young,
- wereobservedbytheSpanishinPanama(CookeandRanere,
contests
throwing
of theor1992c). These ceremoniesnotonlyenhancethepoliticalaspirations
Valdés
and
Oviedo
but
also
reaffirm
(1853,
y
groupsolidarity history.
ganizers
of
the
social
of
the
real
had
an
understanding
meaning
anthropologist's
p. 138)
rites:
"these
Cuevan
called
which
areyfunerary
areytos,
accompanied
gatherings
"are theirliterature
tos" he remarked,
(memoriales)."
(letras)or remembrances
existed
It is reasonableto supposethata historical-cum-genealogical
relationship
territories.
betweenarchaeologicalceremonialcentersand severalsurrounding
ofheredSome surviving
ethnias,suchas theBribriandCabécar,retainmemories
and
to
clans
to
territories
certain
of
(Stone,1961).
leadership
particular
itaryrights
andethfromarchaeological
behaviorinferred
All overthelandbridge,mortuary
concernwithlookingafterthe
toan overriding
datadrawsourattention
nohistoric
burialritualsforrichandpooralike,
ancestors(cf. Helms,1998a): (1) multistage
houseswhere
for
skulls
the
reburial
of
(2)
kept longperiodsoftime,(3) mortuary
ancestorsweredisplayed,(4) thereuseof
theembalmedremainsof prominent
tombsoverseveralgenerations,
arts,and (6)
(5) theremovalof earlierfunerary
for
or
people(e.g.,Briggs,
pantheons necropolises important
speciallydesignated
1989; Cooke,2001a; Diaz, 1999).
artreferthe
of land-bridge
studiessuggestthatmanyfeatures
Iconographie
betweenspecialpeople and specialanimals,which
beholderto therelationship
and sometimeshumanized.This relationare sometimesdepictedrealistically,
of rankednamedclans and otherlandmemories
the
Talamancans'
recalls
ship
and
hero
myths(Helms,1995,2000; Stone,1961).In Gran
bridgepeople'sorigin
is
or iguana(Helms' preference)
crocodile
a
humanized
Codé,
(mypreference)
An
dominant.
more
to
have
become
it
a widespreadicon.Throughtime, appears
back
inference
is thata socialgroupthattraceditsancestry
admittedly
speculative
in
is
this
to a crocodileachievedpoliticalascendancy.
Although image frequent
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
161
richgravesat Sitio Conteafter~1300 B.P.,in whichit is depictedwithhighstatushumanattireand weapons(Cooke, 1998c, 2003a; Cooke et al, 2003a;
andgeHelms,1977),italso was usedbypeopleof modestmeans.A historical
linkedterritories,
whichthrough
time
amongideologically
nealogicalrelationship
becamepolitically
becauseofrivalries
amonggroupsorindividuals,
antagonistic
withtheresidenceof membersof rankeddescentgroupsin several
is consistent
provincias.
tellsus thatwarfarewas endemicamongland-bridge
chiefEthnohistory
doms.The iconography
of statuary
andthepostcontact
situation
drawsourattensuchas thedisplayofhumanheads.Physical
tionconstantly
torelevant
behaviors,
is notinformative
aboutthephysicaldamagecausedby
however,
anthropology,
Anearlierdescription
skirmishes.
ofmutilation
(Lothrop,1954)shouldbe reevaluatedwithcautioninthelightofmorerecentmortuary
data,whereasthegeneralized
instancesof skullsas offerings
can be explainedas ritualrather
thanbelligerent
behavior(Diaz, 1999; Martín-Rincón,
2002a). At Spanishcontact,conflictwas
mostfrequent
fissioned)
amongthemostcloselyrelated(ormostrecently
groups.
Thisbaffled
Oviedoy Valdés(1853, p. 129) whothought
thatskirmishes
among
Cuevanfactions
intheDarién"seemedtohaveno purpose."Antagonistic
polities,
undera warleaderinthefaceofforeign
bandedtogether
incursions
however,
(e.g.,
warfare
was symbolically
Andagoya,1994 [1519],p. 35). Probably,
meaningful
onlyamongpeoplewho shareda commonancestry
beinginvolvedwithrivalry,
and
and
skillsandbravado.
food,
women,
stealing
goods
prestige
exhibiting
CONCLUSION
Duringthe last 20 yearsor so, a consensusopinionhas formedamong
and specialistsin otherrealmsofhistorical
archaeologists
inquirythatsurviving
sectorsoftheNativeAmerican
of
the
Central
American
landbridge
population
to
Chibchan
and
Chocoan
are
most
assignedbylinguists
languagegroups
closely
relatedhistorically
to each otherand are morelikelyto descendfroma preColumbianpopulation,
whichresidedon or adjacentto thelandbridgefora very
than
from
recent
fromcontinental
areas.Native
longtime,
long-distance
migrants
Americans
havebeenpresentin somewell-studied
central
Panama
regions(e.g.,
andnorthwest
CostaRica) continually
sincehumansfirst
intheLateGlacial
arrived
Panamapopulations
weresubstantial
Stage.Incentral
enoughtohaveconsiderably
modified
thelandscapeapproximately
between11,000and 7000 B.P.,initially
as
hunters
andgatherers,
and after9000 B.P.as cultivators
whoexponentially
burnt
andclearedhillslopeforests.
Onlyat thenorthern
edgeofthelandbridgehas the
arrival
ofpeopleswhoseethnogenesis
canbe attributed
toMesoamericaduring
the
been
and
these
incursions
documented,
pre-Columbian
period
adequately
postdate
~1400 B.P.The factthattheirMesoamericanlanguagessurviveduntilconquest
hereis evidenceeither
forconsiderable
cultural
resilience
orfora largeimmigrant
162
Cooke
that
of acculturation
and subsistence
adaptation
populationin spiteof theeffects
recordhas documented
thearchaeological
quitewell.
Afterinitialhumanmovements
duringtheLGS, theland bridge'srole as
of cropsand
is clearestin relationto thetransference
passagewayin prehistory
someof whichhad important
consequencesforlocal and regional
technologies,
Jadeiteand obsidianused formakingeveryday
culturaland social trajectories.
sources.The stimulus
Mesoamerican
obtainedfromdistant
toolsweresometimes
downfromMesoamericaintoNicaraguaand
formakingpottery
mayhavefiltered
northern
introduced
fromcontinental
was indisputably
Costa Rica. Metallurgy
era.Evenso, land-bridge
oftheChristian
SouthAmericasoonafterthebeginning
to thedemands
materials
andtechnologies
peoplesquicklyadaptedtheseforeign
of theirown local and regionalmarketsand ideologicaluniverses.Greenstone,
artifacts
endedupbeingmadeinconsiderable
agate,marineshell,andgold-copper
centerswhoserawmaterialswerenotnecessarily
numbersby local production
orcoastobtainedfromdistanceslongerthana valley-to-valley,
mountain-to-coast,
to
attributed
that
can
be
In
finished
to-island
fact,
objects
unequivocally
journey.
distantculturesare scarcein thenorth,and veryrarein thesouth.Theywere
wasnottheir
thatforeignness
defacedandmended,suggesting
principal
frequently
to
value.To claimthatexoticprestigegoods broughtfromafarwereirrelevant
wellface
and
to
in
the
of
their
leaders
is
and
societies
copious
fly
land-bridge
datafora causallinkbetweencrafting,
researched
trade,
ideology,
anthropological
are less well elucidatedfromthe
theserelationships
and power.Nevertheless,
current
archaeologicalrecordforthelandbridgethanmanyrecentmonographs
of strange
and articlespropose.This caveat applies equallyto identifications
whose
the
bear
such
as
ornatus),
animals,
(Tremarctos
depictionon
spectacled
to
animal
attributed
can
be
GranCodé polychrome
speciesthat
objectively
pottery
suchas raccoons(Cooke,2003a; contraHelms,1998b).
werelocallyabundant,
ofa constant
recordis thesocialrelevance
inthearchaeological
Moretangible
materialsandobjectsobtainedor manufacand sumptuary
demandforeveryday
inregionswithverydifferent
marinelittorals,
turedintwoecologicallycontrasting
was mostintense
habitats.If cooperation
basal geologiesand in vastlydifferent
are replete
documents
so
was
conflict:
nearest
contact-period
neighbors,
among
that
a pattern
of raidsby local leaderson thenearestterritory,
withdescriptions
in tropicalregionstheworldover.Spanish
situation
is typicaloftheethnographic
relatesuchbellicosebehaviorto thedesireof leadersfor
documents
repeatedly
to
take
regalia.
captives(especiallywomen),andto stealhigh-status
revenge,
At Spanishcontactin theearly1500s therewas considerablevariationin
on the
theirsettlement
thesize of local populations,
types,andtheirpermanence
If the
commentators.
on
not
lost
observant
that
were
Spanish
landscape,facts
most
strikfrom
the
derived
once
that
units
anthropologists
cultural-geographic
forest
the
land
on
differences
bridge i.e., simple"tropical
ing environmental
onthePacific,
cultures"
mostly
mostlyontheCaribbeanandcomplex"chiefdoms"
ofNativeAmericanson theCentralAmericanLand-Bridge
Prehistory
163
barriers
dividedbyhighmountain
(Steward,1948; Stewardand Faron,1959)to identify
howdifferent
itbehoovesarchaeologists
nowappearoverlysimplistic,
intolarger
inthismultitude
ofhabitatswereintegrated
ofcommunities
categories
taskthanit seems
socialunitsat different
pointsin time.This is a moredifficult
has focusedon drier,moreaccessibleareasto thedetriment
becausearchaeology
ofmorehumidandmoreinaccessibleonesevenwhenthereis sounddocumentary
evidencethatthelatterwerein places denselysettledbeforeSpanishcontact.If
to clustersof archaeologicalsitesin a territory
that
givingthename"chiefdom"
equateswitha Spanishprovinciaseems a justifiableprocedurein thelightof
thelimitsof a chief'sterritory
andhow
determining
anthropological
knowledge,
in
or
interacted
withit
therole of smaller,dispersedcommunities
participated
foranalysesof materialculture
surveyprojectsand funding
requirescontinuing
thataddressphysicalas well as stylistic
and typologicalattributes.
The relative
of special siteswithfeaturesthatunderline
their
scarcityand spatialclustering
ritualand or politicalimportance
therewere
suggeststhat,above thechiefdom,
- to judge fromtheethnographic
social units
record,
larger,equallyimportant
somekindofdescentgrouporgroupings
ofethniaswithcloselyrelatedlanguages
andmemories
ofcommonorigins,
sharedsongsandpraises,andconflicts
between
realandmythical
social
and
personalities
groups.
to tribes,languagefamilies,language
Relatingspecificgroupsof artifacts
or
other
ofChibchansandChocoansandtheir
clusters,
proto-languages,
groupings
ancestors
is methodologically
because
are
tempting
languageandgenetichistory
about
the
and
in
situ
diversification
of
eloquent
gradual
prolonged
populations
residenton the land bridge.But it is fraught
withdifficulties,
because
firstly,
it is notnecessarily
truethatthemeasuresarchaeologists
mostregularly
use for
cultures
and
were
coterminous
with
identifying
types styles
specificlanguages
or gene pools; secondly,because we knowfromthehistoricrecordthatrecent
ethniashave adjustedtheirterritories
in responseto politicaland social factors
of the last 500 yearsof Europeanoccupation;and, thirdly,
because it is very
difficult
togaugetheeffects
ofextinctions
oflanguagesandpeoples(documented
orotherwise)
on phylogenetic
relationships
amongpresent-day
groups.The most
of
these
is
that
extinctions
of
the
Cuevan
striking
problematical
polity.
termsChibchanorChocoanto describea historical
area
Usingthelinguistic
- as has becomethecustomin
of interaction
of whichthe land bridgeis part
recentdecades(Cooke,1992;Fonseca,1992,1997;FonsecaandCooke,1994)makessenseas longas theconstruct
is usedheuristically.
Perhapsitsmostuseful
function
has beento alertresearchers
thatthereis a historical,
and gecultural,
continuum
between
"lower
Central
America"
and
"northern
South
ographical
America"acrossthemisnamed
DariénGap (Bray,1984).Thisis one reasonwhy
I chose the"land bridge"as mygeographical
universein thisessay.The other
wastostressthatthevariegated
marine
andterrestrial
and
landscape,
productivity,
ease ofmovement
ofpeople,products,
andobjectsamongecozonesandhabitats
164
Cooke
along this narrow stripof land promotedcontinual interactionsamong closely
relatedpeoples in many areas surprisinglybufferedfromeventsand processes in
continentalareas.
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