The Archaeology, Ethnohistory, and Environment of the Marismas Nacionales


Between 1967 and 1975 archaeologists from SUNY-Buffalo led a multidisciplinary project in the Marismas Nacionales, a vast, resource-rich estuary and mangrove forest of coastal Sinaloa and Nayarit, west Mexico. Michael Foster and fellow archaeologists provide a much-needed synthesis of these investigations, drawing from previously unpublished data and published reports to provide a comprehensive look at the region.

While in the field, the SUNY team recovered a variety of material artifacts and 248 human remains. Their findings, along with the project’s background, history, and analyses, are detailed in this volume’s thirteen chapters and nine appendices. Also included are supporting geomorphic, environmental, and ethnohistoric studies that establish the context for local human settlement and change. Evidence indicates that as the coastal plain grew, ceramic-bearing agriculturalists moved into the area and participated in far-reaching exchanges of goods and resources. This book makes a significant and lasting contribution to our knowledge of what today remains an understudied region of greater Mesoamerica.

Marismas Burial Descriptions, Supplemental Digital Material


Michael S. Foster has conducted extensive field research in west and northwest Mexico and the American Southwest. His publications include Greater Mesoamerica: The Archaeology of West and Northwest Mexico (with Shirley Gorenstein). 


Praise and Reviews:

“A solid body of work and an important culmination to a large and significant project. The volume provides a balance of detail and theoretical discussion about an area and time period that is important for understanding the broader supra-regional trends in human prehistory and history.”
—James T. Watson, associate curator of bioarchaeology, Arizona State Museum, and associate professor, School of Anthropology, University of Arizona 


“Foster and colleagues have taken on a herculean and admirable task in this edited volume. It will prove to be an invaluable resource for many scholars.”
—Christopher T. Fisher, professor, Department of Anthropology, Colorado State University