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A Proposed Culture TEN History of the Rivas Region Evidence of Early Man in Central America is surprisingly scarce, especially in light of the sizeable amount of Paleo-Indian materials recovered in South America (Lanning 1965, 1970; Lanning and Patterson 1967; MacNeish 1973, 1976; Bryan 1973; Lynch 1974; Bryan et al. 1978). This is undoubtedly a reflection of the amount of work which has been done in the two areas. However, there is some scattered evidence of Early Man attested for Central America by the occurrence of fluted projectile points. These are of the variety manufactured some 10,000-12,000 years ago in North America. Unfortunately , the contexts of these finds have usually been far from ideal, appearing in private collections from the Guatemalan highlands (Coe 1960a), and from northwest Costa Rica (Swauger and Mayer-Oakes 1952;Baudez 1970:36). Sander (1959, 1964) reports on flu ted points from the Madden Lake region of the Panama Canal Zone, and more recently Bird and Cooke (1978) have detailed additional points of both a Clovis form and a fish-tail form. The latter have strong ties to South American Paleo-Indian traditions. In Turrialba, highland Costa Rica, Snarskis (1979) has evidence of Clovis and fish-tail points at the same early site. Still other Lower Central American sites which may yet produce conclusive Paleo-Indian remains are El Bosque in northwest Nicaragua (Espinoza 1976; Page 1978; Gruhn 1978) and Quebrada Cangrejos in central Costa Rica (Snarskis, Gamboa, and Fonseca 1977). Both have revealed interesting Pleistocene faunal remains and strong suggestions of associated early human activity. The major problem remains in conclusivelydistinguishing stone artifacts from "geofacts." Evidence of somewhat more recent, but still pre-ceramic, occupations have been reported from deep deposits at Copan (Longyear 1952), the Department of Intibuca (Bullen and Plowden 1963, 1964), and from Guaimaca (Veliz 1977), all in Honduras. None of these localities, however, has much associated data on the lifeways of the peoples whose remains mark these sites. The best information on 329 330 Archaeology of the Rivas Region, Nicaragua pre-ceramic Central American nativesisstill from Cerro Mangote on coastal Panama, where radiocarbon dates place the habitation back to 4853 B.C.±100 (McGimsey 1956; Willey 1958). At this site there is good evidence to suggest a heavy reliance upon shellfish collecting, and there is still no clear proof or evidence of developed agriculture. Elsewhere in Panama, at the Aguadulce rock shelter, Ranere and Hansell (1978) have evidence of an early, pre-ceramic, broad-based subsistence group dating from the fifth to the third millennium B.C. Research on other pre-ceramic sites in Panama, both coastal and inland adaptations, by Ranere, Cooke, and colleagues suggests a remarkable range of diversity in settlement and subsistence (Ranere 1975; Linares 1979:12). As of the present, however, virtually nothing is known about this important era in Nicaragua prehistory. The earliest evidence of pottery-makingsocieties in the Americas appears at the extreme southern edge of the Intermediate Area, at Valdivia in Ecuador (Meggers, Evans, and Estrada 1965) and at Puerto Hormiga in Colombia (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1965), at roughly 3000 B.C. (though Bischoff 1973 has cautioned that the status of these dates is still very much in flux). Somewhat later, at about 2500 B.C., ceramics appear in northern Belize (Hammond et al. 1976), and about 2400 B.C. on coastal Guerrero, at Puerto Marques (Brush 1969), and in the Tehuacan Valley, Mexico (MacNeishet al. 1970:21). Further south, at about 2100 B.C., pottery appears in Panama at Monagrillo (Willey 1951; Willey and McGimsey 1954), at Altamira, Chiapas about 1600 B.C. (Green and Lowe 1967), and at La Victoria, on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, around 1300 B.C. (Coe 1961). Similarities between La Victoria's Ocos phase ceramics and those of the Chorerra phase of Valdiviahas suggested to some longdistance , Formative Period linkages between Mesoamerica and South America (Coe 1960b; Meggers 1964), an idea recently expanded upon by Ford (1969) and Paulsen (1974). The earliest evidence of aboriginal occupation in Rivas itself dates much later, during the Zoned Bichrome Period (350 B.C.A .D. 300). The principal artifactualevidence of this period (and allof the succeeding ones in Rivas) derives from the pottery, which in Zoned Bichrome times was quite well made and distinguished by zonal decoration. This ornamentation of the ceramics was done through bichrome painting or plastic decoration in zones, or a combination of the two.The pottery of the period isnot crude in any...


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