In this article we report ceramic stylistic and compositional (Instrumental Neutron Activation-INAA) data from two Early Formative Period (3,400-2,800 cal yrs. BP) coastal sites from the Acapetahua region of southern Mexico, datasets potentially sensitive to the study of the exchange of ideas and materials. Gourd-shaped vessels (tecomates) with red slips dominate the earliest ceramic assemblages at the two sites. The compositional comparison of these early ceramics with reference clay samples indicates that this pottery was manufactured locally. Grey, black, and white wares appear in the assemblage ~3,000 cal yrs. BP and the number of serving bowls substantially increases. Most of these ceramics were also manufactured locally, but imported wares from farther south and the north from the Gulf Coast lowlands were also identified suggesting some connectivity within an emerging long-distance exchange network. Given the position of these settlements we hypothesize that the movement of people, goods and ideas was facilitated by water travel along the southern Pacific Coast of Mesoamerica.
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