A systematic survey was conducted of all river systems along a 100 km segment of the coastal plain of Chiapas, Mexico, in order to find buried archaeological sites. The survey was undertaken because the only known sites of the Late Archaic Period were highly obtrusive shell heaps situated in the littoral wetlands, but they seemed to have been formed by itinerant people; no coeval sites, presumed to have been left by the same group, had. been found farther inland on the coastal plain. It is surmised that the amissing sites” had become buried by alluvium but that some of these might be visible in river cuts. Twenty-two such buried sites in river cuts were found and examined during this survey, including one site that possibly dates to the Archaic Period. In addition, a greater understanding was gained of the fluvial processes in the region and their roles as transformers of the archaeological record. This information will be crucial for developing predictive models to locate buried early sites.
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