The Zooarchaeology of San Cristobal, Nicaragua: The Abundance of Mohammed's Paradise
Publication Type:Conference Paper
The San Cristobal site is located on the south shore of Lake Managua, southwest Nicaragua. It was inhabited, intermittently, for more than 2000 years, before the 16th century arrival of the Spanish. Ethnohistoric accounts, especially by the well travelled Spanish chronicler Oviedo, describe Pacific Nicaragua at contact as the richest area of the Indies, in reference to the abundance of terrestrial game and fish. Excavated in 1977-1979, San Cristobal produced a very large, diverse, and well preserved faunal assemblage which could not be studied until 2005. This faunal analysis, now complete, confirms the ethnohistoric descriptions, indicating the presence of more than 30 genera of wildlife, with a special emphasis on whitetail deer, freshwater fish, and turtles. A comparison is made between the San Cristobal faunal assemblage and other prehistoric sites of Lower Central America, and diachronic changes in faunal exploitation are examined.