The Maritime Landscape of the Isthmus of Panamá

James P. Delgado, Tomás Mendizábal, Frederick H. Hanselmann, and Dominique Rissolo

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“Provides a wealth of information and will serve to broaden the way we look at Panama’s history and maritime heritage. Truly a team effort, this book is a well-written, easily digestible academic work that successfully combines intimate archaeological research with wide-ranging historical investigations into the economic, political, and social maritime history of the isthmus.”—Society for Historical Archaeology
"Presents for the first time a chronological description of the geography, history, and archaeology of Panamá from a maritime perspective."—Roger C. Smith, author of The Maritime Heritage of the Cayman Islands

"An engaging and informative narrative that seamlessly combines history and archaeology to discuss the global importance of the Isthmus of Panamá."—Ben Ford, editor of The Archaeology of Maritime Landscapes

In its 11,000 year human history, the Isthmus of Panamá has been dominated by its relationship to the sea and the rivers that feed it. A unique marine environment, the land bridge shaped its inhabitants’ activities, and those inhabitants shaped the Isthmus--from harvesting resources to physically transforming the land to link two oceans. This seminal work explores this intersection between people and the environment, mining the archaeological and ethnological record created during the formation and development of Panamá's maritime cultural landscape.

Assessing sites both submerged and on land, the authors explore the maritime history of the isthmus through its many stages: from its prehistoric period through Spanish colonialism to the building of the canal and its function as a route for modern-day maritime traffic. Combining archaeology, history, geography, and economic history, this volume situates Panamá's canal and isthmus in the global economy and world maritime culture, while providing a more complex understanding of human adaptation and the persistence of culture.

James P. Delgado, director of Maritime Heritage for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, is the author of nearly three dozen works including the Encyclopedia of Underwater and Maritime Archaeology. Tomás Mendizábal is an independent consultant archaeologist and research associate at Patronato Panamá Viejo. Frederick H. Hanselmann is faculty in the Department of Marine Ecosystems and Society at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami and is a Fellow of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University. Dominique Rissolo is an archaeologist and special projects coordinator at the University of California, San Diego.
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A valuable resource. . . . Proves why the maritime cultural landscape of Panama is so robust and an important subject of study.
--Northern Mariner

Crafts a richly detailed narrative that weaves together land and sea, prehistory and history, present and past, indigenous and settler communities, and environmental and cultural frameworks for understanding this complex, constantly changing place.
--International Journal of Maritime History

An important story that should be known by a wide audience, and the authors do an excellent job of communicating the history, archaeology, and ethnography of the isthmus through a sweeping history linked by archaeology and the sea.
--Nautical Archaeology

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