Las Delicias - A Tempisque Period Cemetery

The archaeological site of Las Delicias is located in the Department of Managua, about 2 km from the shore of Lake Xolotlan. Chronologically it belongs to the Late Tempisque to Early Bagaces period (100 -500 CE). The site is located in a construction zone for a housing complex, and since 2008 salvage excavations have investigated the social dynamics of the inhabitants. Recent investigations have identified domestic and burial contexts, as well as kilns for ceramic manufacture.

Our goal 

The goal of the 2014 salvage project was to supervise the construction activities in order to ensure that cultural resources were avoided, and to document those that were encountered. When archaeological contexts were discovered, they were carefully excavated to recover skeletal remains and associated artifacts. The analytical goal was to interpret the occupation sequence based on typological analysis of the ceramics.

  

Results

Heavy equipment exposed numerous burials from the Tempisque period cemetery. Thirty-eight primary burials were found, with another eighteen secondary burials. Thirty-seven complete urns were found as burial offerings. All burials were documented as to type and position (primary positions and secondary burials in urns or as bundles). Also analyzed were over 1500 vessel fragments and 17 lithic objects (flakes, prismatic blades, cores, polished stone axes, and grinding stones). Osteological analysis by Jessica Manion, Ana Morales, and Gina Carroll classified over 1000 bone fragments relating to at least ten individuals.

  

Conclusions

The Las Delicias cemetery demonstrates nucleation and social hierarchy during the Late Tempisque/Early Bagaces period, especially through the distribution of burial goods. Primary interments correspond to adult individuals, while infants were buried in urns. Burials were placed near residential units. Three pottery kilns were found, associated with evidence for the production of Usulutan-like negative resist pottery. Evidence of a structure dating to the later Sapoa period featured post-holes in a circular pattern, and a hearth within the structure.

Acknowledgements

For the development of the investigation we thank the Desarrolladora Xolotlan company for allowing us to carry out the project; the engineer Gustavo Lacayo of DESOXA S.A., al Instituto Nicaraguense de Cultura, University of Calgary, and to the investigation team of Marling Vegas, Roberto Sirias, Meyling Marquez, Ligia Obando, and Karen Lopez.

By William Vásquez Moreno, Universidad de Costa Rica.