Chiapa de Corzo

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Chiapa de Corzo

Chiapa de Corzo, an important Mesoamerican site because of its occupation from 1400 bce to the present. It is located on the Grijalva River, in the central section of the Isthmus of Tehuantépec near the modern town of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, Mexico. This location has a tropical lowland environment but the surrounding hills are arid and lack similar pre-Columbian occupations. The site is important for its long ceramic sequence and its location, which facilitates comparisons with regions to the east and west.

The earliest evidence of occupation in the Cotorra phase consists of adobe plaster from a construction and pottery jars and bowls. This pottery was decorated with a variety of surface techniques: punctation, stamping, and appliqué. By 550 bce there were pyramids and civic buildings, and by 150 bce there was social differentiation, indicated by palaces of cut stone and polished stucco. Tomb 1 of this period held an important personage. Built of unfired brick, it contained a burial with an obsidian-bladed lance, unusual pottery vessels, and jade jewelry. Bones and sculptures were carved in the Izapan style. Mound 5 of the same period was notable for large quantities of pottery in great variety.

See alsoMesoamerica .


Gareth W. Lowe, Research in Chiapas, Mexico, New World Archaeological Report no. 2 (1959).

New World Archaeological Foundation, Excavations at Chiapa de Corzo, Mexico, papers 8-11 (1960); Mound 5 and Minor Excavations, Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas, Mexico, 12 (1962); and "Archaeological Chronology of Eastern Mesoamerica," in New World Chronologies, edited by Royal Ervin Taylor and Clement Woodward Meighan (1973).

Additional Bibliography

González Cruz, Arnoldo, and Martha Cuevas García. Canto versus canto: Manufactura de artefactos líticos en Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas. México, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia; San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas: Centro de Investigaciones Humanísticas de Mesoamérica y el Estado de Chiapas, 1998.

Lee, Thomas A., and Susanna Ekholm-Miller. The Artifacts of Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas, Mexico. Provo: New World Archaeological Foundation, Brigham Young University, 1969.

Powls, Terry G., et al. "Sprouted Vessels and Cacao Use among the Preclassic Maya." Latin American Antiquity 13, no. 1 (March 2002): 85-106.

                                    Eugenia J. Robinson