602 Pages 181 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    602 Pages 181 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Preceramic Mesoamerica delivers cutting-edge research on the Mesoamerican Paleoindian and Archaic periods.

    The chapters address a series of fundamental questions in American archaeology including the peopling of the Americas, human adaptations to late glacial landscapes, the Neolithic transition, and the origins of sedentism and early village life. This volume presents innovative and previously unpublished research on the Paleoindian and Archaic periods and evaluates current models in light of new findings. Examples include breakthroughs in dating Mesoamerica’s earliest sites and their implications for models of hemispheric colonization; the transition to postglacial patterns of settlement and subsistence; divergent pathways to initial sedentism; the possibility of Archaic-period monumentality; changing patterns of interregional exchange and interaction; and debates surrounding the origins of agriculture, ceramics, and full-time village life.

    The volume provides a new perspective on the Mesoamerican Preceramic for students and scholars in archaeology, anthropology, and history. Readers will come to understand how the Preceramic contributed to the emergence of the cultural traditions that anthropologists recognize as Mesoamerica.

    1. When is a Mesoamerican? Pleistocene origins of the Mesoamerican tradition

    Jon C. Lohse

    2. Empty gourds make the most noise? Theories and data in the study of the Archaic period in Mesoamerica

    Aleksander Borejsza

    3. Tales of the Terminal Pleistocene: Clovis in Northern Mexico and the first Mesoamericans

    Guadalupe Sanchez and John P. Carpenter

    4. La Cueva de los Hacheros: an early habitation site in Michoacan, Mexico

    José Luis Punzo Díaz and Dante Bernardo Martínez Vázquez

    5. Yuzanu 50, an ephemeral camp of the Younger Dryas in the Mixteca Alta

    Jon C. Lohse, Aleksander Borejsza, and Arthur A. Joyce

    6. Paleoindian sites from Central Mexico: paleoenvironment and dating

    Silvia Gonzalez, David Huddart, Emma Toole, Isabel Israde-Alcántara, and Gabriela Domínguez-Vázquez

    7. Sitio Chivacabe, an early Paleoindian site in western Highland Guatemala

    Jon C. Lohse, David M. Yelacic, and Charles D. Frederick

    8. The Paleoindian to Archaic transition in Central America: Esperanza phase projectile points recovered at the El Gigante rockshelter site, Honduras

    Harry B. Iceland and Kenneth G. Hirth

    9. The lacustrine preceramic cultures in the Basin of Mexico: recent contributions

    Guillermo Acosta-Ochoa, Emily McClung de Tapia, and Joaquín Arroyo-Cabrales

    10. The Preceramic in Oaxaca

    Marcus Winter and Teresa Alarcón

    11. Preceramic occupations in north-central and western Mexico: a regional perspective

    Brigitte Faugere

    12. Las Estacas, an early Archaic site in Morelos

    Aleksander Borejsza, Luis Morett Alatorre, and Jon C. Lohse

    13. Preceramic lifeways on the Mesoamerican South Pacific coast

    Barbara Voorhies and Douglas J. Kennett

    14. Wetland villages in Soconusco, 6000–2000 bce: a new interpretation of Archaic shell mounds

    John E. Clark and John G. Hodgson

    15. Yuzanu 36, a late Archaic site in the Mixteca Alta

    Aleksander Borejsza, Arthur A. Joyce, Jon C. Lohse, and Isabel Rodríguez López

    16. The end of the Archaic in the Soconusco region of Mesoamerica: a tipping point in the local trajectory toward agricultural village life

    Richard G. Lesure, R. J. Sinensky, and Thomas A. Wake

    17. Sourcing Preceramic obsidian from Las Estacas, Morelos, and Yuzanu 36, Oaxaca, in the context of early Mesoamerican lithic procurement patterns

    Arthur A. Joyce, Aleksander Borejsza, Jon C. Lohse, Luis Morett Alatorre, and Brendan Nash

    18. Preceramic archaeology in Mesoamerica: recent developments and future directions

    Arthur A. Joyce


    Jon C. Lohse is a senior associate at Terracon Consultants, Inc., a research associate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and a member of the Gault School for Archeological Research. His research interests include Archaic and Paleoindian periods and cultural developments in Central America, environmental reconstruction and adaptation, developing models for locally specific culture histories, and variations in lithic technologies.

    Aleksander Borejsza is a full-time Professor and researcher at the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, Mexico. He has excavated in Mexico, the United Kingdom, Poland, and Spain. He uses archaeology and earth science to study past agriculture and rural life, the Preceramic and Formative periods of Mesoamerica, and late Quaternary environmental change.

    Arthur A. Joyce is Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Colorado Boulder, USA. His research interests include the archaeology of political life, religion, urbanism, materiality, ecology, and the preceramic in ancient Mesoamerica. He directs interdisciplinary archaeological research in the highlands and lowlands of Oaxaca.

    "This marvelous volume presents new data and fascinating chapters probing the controversies, strengths, and weaknesses of preceramic Mesoamerican research. Not since the Tehuacan volumes have we seen such a substantial and diverse contribution to Paleoindian and Archaic studies. It is an essential book, and, finally, an inspiring one, revealing key research that remains to be done."

    Barbara L. Stark, Arizona State University, USA

    "This landmark volume conveys new interpretations of the dawn of civilization in Mesoamerica. It presents highly valuable, empirically rich research that will impact our understanding of the origins, patterning, and complexity of early human adaptations to changing environmental and social regimes in Mexico and neighboring countries. The book is an essential source for all scholars interested in early American history."

    Tom D. Dillehay, Vanderbilt University, USA, and Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile

    "A must read for those interested in the processual development of early Mesoamerican populations and seeking information for comparisons with the Old World. Early studies are critiqued in relation to newer discoveries, synthesizing relevant theoretical constructs and providing a foundation for planning future studies of the Paleoindian and Archaic periods."

    James Neely, The University of Texas at Austin, USA

    "This superb volume sheds new light on the early prehistory of Mexico and Central America from its initial peopling to the beginnings of settled village life. The editors and authors synthesize their latest discoveries, highlighting the ways in which this new research has led to novel hypotheses that challenge earlier models and will help to set the stage for the next generation of archaeological research."

    Michael Blake, University of British Columbia, Canada

    "Preceramic Mesoamerica is a book that we have been awaiting for decades. No recent volume focuses as this one does on the Paleoindian and Archaic periods of this region with such depth, quality, and diversity of topics and sites investigated. This book will be a constant reference for researchers and teachers, and for students interested in the preceramic prehistory of the Americas."

    Rafael Suárez, Universidad de la República – Montevideo, Uruguay