What I did over Christmas 2004

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