What I did over
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico
We met a time-share
salesman (don't ask), who graciously took us to an unexplored
pre-Contact site in the foothills of the Sierra Madres. He and his
relatives, who own a nearby finca where artifacts are often found, have
been exploring this site for a while. They wondered if we could help
them understand it.
Sinaloa archaeology is poorly documented. There are no temples or
pyramids, no gold, no silver artifacts, so nothing really to draw
archaeological or tourist interest. The early groups were fishermen who
also did "small scale" agriculture, lived in small villages, and traded
north and south along the coasts. The largest influence on their
ceramic styles was from Nayarit. They made coarse pottery, fine
polychrome wares, mold-made figurines/idols, and obsidian and volcanic
tuff points and weapons. They also made diorite/andesite axes/celts,
spinning whorls of stone; they grew corns, beans, squash and cotton.
This village site was near an arroyo and perhaps 2 km to the ocean.
It drove me crazy to see people rifling a site, but apparently they
have been doing this for years. From what we saw, most of the artifacts
were approximately 8 inches below the surface, and because of rains
were being washed down into a small gulley.
After doing some quick research, we discovered the site was part of the
TAHUE culture group. Later we went to the small museum in Mazatlan
where we saw artifacts very similar to those we saw at the site.
Small idol head and "monkey"?
Obsidian, probably traded from Nayarit area, maybe from the volcano Ceboruco