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Project Background

Submitted by admin on Thu, 01/24/2008 - 2:09pm

The research goal of Project SIN was to evaluate ethnohistorical claims of Mesoamerican migrations into the Greater Nicoya region during the Postclassic period (900 - 1520 CE).  This 'Mesoamerican frontier' hypothesis dominated discussion of the region through the 1980s, and is still an important theme in discussion.  Beginning in the 1990s, however, several scholars suggested a focus on more indigenous development, suggesting 'Intermediate Area' as a more culturally neutral term.  More recently, John Hoopes and Oscar Fonseca have suggested a linguistic definition for much of the 'Isthmo-Caribbean' region based on common Chibchan-language.  Pacific Nicaragua, where Santa Isabel is located, is not considered part of this culture area.  A more neutral term that is gaining popularity is 'Lower Central America.' 

map of migrations

[map courtesy of Larry Steinbrenner] 


Iconography on the polychrome potter of Greater Nicoya shares symbolism with the 'Mixteca-Puebla' style from central Mexico, especially from Cholula, Puebla.  This connection fits well with ethnohistorical accounts that the Chorotega and Nicarao may have originated in Cholula.  Thus it was this 'Cholula-connection' that intrigued me to pursue investigations in Pacific Nicaragua.

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