Aboriginal Cultural Development in Latin America: An Interpretative Review

Aboriginal Cultural Development in Latin America: An Interpretative Review

Aboriginal Cultural Development in Latin America: An Interpretative Review

Aboriginal Cultural Development in Latin America: An Interpretative Review

Excerpt

Expanded archeological investigations of recent years, as well as the discovery of additional sites possessing traits identified with the Mesoamerican culture pattern, make it possible to identify three important fluctuations in the boundaries of this area. During the Formative Horizon, the northern boundary can be drawn from the Río Pánuco to Cihuatlán, Colima, the imaginary line crossing the lakes of Chapala and Cuitzeo, and following the Río Moctezuma to Tampico (fig. 1). Sites such as Pánuco (Veracruz), Chupícuaro (Guanajuato), Jiquilpan and El Opeño (Michoacán), and Morrett (Colima) have occupations of Formative age (fig. 3). In the south, this horizon is represented as far as the Río Ulúa and Lake Yojoa, and El Salvador, in sites such as Yarumela, Yojoa, Travesía, Cerro Zapote, and Tovar.

During the Theocratic Period of the Regional Developmental Horizon (fig. 4), the northern boundary expands as far as Soto La Marina, San Luis Potosí and northern Jalisco, continuing along the Río Santiago as far as the Río Sinaloa. By contrast, the southern limit retreats to the Río Motagua and Río Lempa along the frontier of Honduras and El Salvador.

Finally, during the 16th century the limits of the area readjust once more. The northern limit is set by the Río Pánuco and the Río Lerma, while the southern limit passes from the mouth of the Río Motagua to the Gulf of Nicoya, via Nicaragua, representing a contraction of the northern frontier and an expansion of the southern one.

The first fluctuation may be the result of diffusion toward the south of basic elements evolved in the central plateau and Gulf coast during the Formative Epoch. The second is perhaps the result of regional differentiation, which produced autonomous theocratic societies strongly linked by commercial ties. The final fluctuation is the product of expansion, probably of a military nature, of northern groups toward the south.

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