An Archaic Mexican Shellmound and Its Entombed Floors


Series: Monographs 80
ISBN: 978-1-938770-02-9
Publication Date: Jan 2015
Price: Pb $55, eBook $35
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Barbara Voorhies

Tlacuachero is the site of an Archaic-period shellmound located in the wetlands of the outer coast of southwest Mexico. This book presents investigations of several floors that are within the site's shell deposits that formed over a 600-800 year interval during the Archaic period (ca. 8000-2000 BCE), a crucial timespan in Mesoamerican prehistory when people were transitioning from full blown dependency on wild resources to the use of domesticated crops. 


The floors are now deeply buried in an limited area below the summit of the shellmound.  The authors explore what activities were carried out on their surfaces, discussing the floors’ patterns of cultural features, sediment color, density and types of embedded microrefuse and phytoliths, as well as chemical signatures of organic remains.

The studies conducted at Tlacuachero are especially significant in light of the fact that data-rich lowland sites from the Archaic period are extraordinarily rare; the wealth of information gleaned from the floors of the Tlacuachero shellmound can now be widely appreciated.

Shellmound 2

Table of Contents
  • Ch. 01: Introduction by Barbara Voorhies
  • Ch. 02: Stratigraphy and Chronology of the Archaic Period Deposits at Tlacuachero by Brendan Culleton, Barbara Voorhies, and Douglas J. Kennett
  • Ch. 03: Dating the Tlacuachero Post-Archaic Deposits: Ceramic Analysis by Heather B. Thakar
  • Ch. 04: The Tlacuachero Floors: Description and Sampling Methods by Heather B. Thakar
  • Ch. 05: Geochemistry of the Tlacuachero Floors by Hector Neff, Paul Burger, and Isabela Kott
  • Ch. 06: Spatial Analysis of Microrefuse and Floor Color Variations by Heather B. Thakar
  • Ch. 07: A Spatial Analysis of Phytoliths at Tlacuachero by Doug H. Drake
  • Ch. 08: Early Use of Chipped Stone at Tlacuachero by Elizabeth H. Paris
  • Ch. 09: The Tlacuachero Vertebrate Fauna by Thomas A. Wake and Barbara Voorhies
  • Ch. 10: Some Considerations of Site Formation Processes and Functions of Tlacuachero by Barbara Voorhies
  • Ch. 11: Site Formation Process and Function at Mega-Shellmounds: Refuse Heaps or Platform Mounds? by Barbara Voorhies