Collection Description

Tradition Name

Highland Mesoamerican Archaic

Tradition Description

The Highland Mesoamerican Archaic tradition extends from about 7000 to 4000 BP (5000-2000 BC) in the mountainous inland regions of Mesoamerica. The tradition is composed of nuclear family hunter-gatherer groups that become more sedentary towards the end of the time period. Periodically, probably when seasonal resources were abundant, several groups would come together. A dance floor has been found in one macroband camp. Plant domestication starts during this time period (cucurbits, legumes, and maize), but they were only a supplementary part of the diet.


Select the Tradition Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


Middle America and the Caribbean --General Middle America and the Caribbean





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Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF Archaeology collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The documents in the Highland Mesoamerican Archaic collection, all in English,  discuss the Highland Mesoamerican Archaic tradition in the highlands of Mexico from 7000 BP to 4000 BP (c. 5000 BC to 2000 BC).

Several documents provide overviews of the Highland Mesoamerican Archaic. Flannery et al. (1981, no. 1) present a synopsis of the Archaic in the Valley of Oaxaca, while MacNeish (1972, no. 10) summarizes the cultural sequence for the Tehuacan valley. Also providing more of an overview are Marcus (1996, no. 12), describing three Archaic sites, and Marcus and Flannery (1996, no. 13), examining how plant collecting became agriculture. Marcus (1996, no. 11) contains pictures and maps useful for document no. 12 (Marcus 1996, no. 12).

Documents nos. 3-9 all discuss the fieldwork by MacNeish and others in the Tehuacan valley during the 1960s. MacNeish and Nelken-Terner (1972, no. 3) is an introduction to documents nos. 4-10. The various excavations are described in MacNeish and Garcia Cook (1972, nos. 4-6), MacNeish and Peterson (1972, no. 7), and Fowler and MacNeish (1972, no. 8). The archaeological reconnaissance and settlement patterns are discussed in MacNeish et al. (1972, no. 9).

MacNeish (1972, no. 2) is the bibliography for eHRAF documents nos. 3-10.

For further information on individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Sarah Berry

Caves – use "TOPOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY (133)"; for use as dwellings - use "DWELLINGS (342)"

Tepetate – a type of soil, often called "caliche" or a local type of limestone - use "SOIL (134)"

Tezontle – volcanic rock - use "TOPOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY (133)"

Indexing Notes by

Sarah Berry

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