INTER-SECTION Volume II - Page 35

| Mollusc collection and salt production |
duction in heavy quantities could be hypothesized to have been sold or transported to the settlement of origin of the seasonal workers , or to have been traded inlands through the network of estuaries . The onsite association with molluscs suggests that both mollusc collecting and salt production were practiced at La Pegajosa .
Discussion The three sites offered as case studies present three different methods of resource procurement .
In the first case , a form of specialized area production is observable within a large settlement . The Nolasco site seems to correspond to an area of the settlement specialized in salt making and potentially connected to the mollusc foraging . A specialized task force could have travelled there daily , defining the site exclusively as an activity area . Since other sites with concentrations of briquetage have been identified in the vicinity of this site , it is quite unlikely that the salt production was aimed towards trade . It seems more likely that both the harvesting of ostiones and the salt production aimed to supply the settlement in order to make it self-sufficient .
For the second case , I considered a habitational centre of regional importance ( Valdivieso 2006 ) that is also both a production and distribution centre . The evidence of simultaneous intense salt production and mollusc harvesting could point to a production for distribution further inland . This model is not unknown to Central American archaeology ; salt works found around Wild Cane Cay in Belize seem to follow a similar organisation , where salt is produced in the bay area and distributed inland through canoe travel on small estuaries in the Late Classic ( McKillop 2002 , 2005 ). Sites following the same model of procurement and distribution can be found on the Honduran side of the Gulf , generally situated at the deltas of the estuaries ( Baudez , unpublished manuscript ).
The third case study presents a model of resource procurement and distribution through seasonal mobility . A group would travel from an inland settlement to the island seasonally to produce salt to later distribute inland . A distribution of the collected molluscs may also have occurred from La Pegajosa . It is possible to consider both activities as the work of specialized task groups , especially if this site was part of a particular group ’ s seasonal round ( Binford 1978 ; 1980 ). A similar site exhibiting traces of seasonal mobility for mollusc and salt foraging purposes is Porterillos , situated in the delta of an estuary in the Gulf of Fonseca . This site dates to the Malalaca phase , but offers similar material culture to La Pegajosa ( Cruz Castillo 2007 ).
Baudez ( 1973 , 507-508 ) discusses how in the 1960s inhabitants of this area were still seasonally mobile . Fisherman families from San Lorenzo left the mainland with their canoes in November to establish a seasonal camp until March around areas notoriously rich in molluscs . Baudez ( 1973 , 509 ) draws a comparison between this seasonal movement and the archaeological remains found at La Pegajosa . It could therefore be hypothesized that La Pegajosa was visited by a few families , since salt production and the mollusc collection can be realized by all members of a family .
Conclusion It is interesting to see that in all cases , the sites of procurement and distribution are situated in the vicinity of the delta of estuaries and , generally speaking , in similar environments . It could be argued that distribution occurred inland by means of canoe travel on the estuaries , as was the case for the Belize salt works around Wild Cane Cay ( McKillop 2002 , 2005 ). This is further supported by salt being generally regarded as a precious trade good in the neighbouring Maya world ( Andrews 1983 ; McKillop 2002 , 1 ). Even in cases where distribution did not occur , the position of the sites indicates the importance of mobility within the region . This mobility was very likely associated to the procurement and trade of resources in some way .
An interesting aspect of the different models is that there is yet no archaeological evidence for the first two presented models of procurement to have been used later than the Fonseca phase , while seasonal camps exist in both the Fonseca Phase and the Amapala Phase . Because those seasonal camps are only known from Honduras , could it be that the environment on that side of the Gulf was less advantageous for year round salt production ? Or was seasonality merely a necessity for acquiring salt for inland settlements ? This would point towards a lack of trade between inland and coastal settlements in that part of the Gulf . Could this have been due to ethnolinguistic heterogeneity ? Unfortunately , it is not possible to answer these questions at this stage of the research and within the limits of this dataset .
Further research within this area will be able to substantiate questions regarding site size and organization , the connection of coastal sites with inland sites , and the important question of chronology .
2016 | INTER-SECTION | VOL II | p . 33