Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

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Much more than
a land bridge

February 18, 2022


Panama's deep history has been the subject of much research over many decades. "Panama, much more than a land bridge" is the first book written in Spanish and from Panama dedicated exclusively to addressing the discoveries and analyses surrounding the archeology of this territory.

From an archaeological point of view, the current Panamanian territory is particularly important due to its position as a land bridge connecting North and South America, a condition that facilitated the genetic, agricultural and technological dispersion of human beings throughout the American territory. The narrow Panamanian isthmus allowed the human colonization of the South American continent, given that very early on, from the Pleistocene immigrations, there was a continuous human presence in some regions of Panama, and certain local and regional aspects of the ecology and social organization influenced the historical trajectory of the pre-Hispanic peoples of the Isthmus-Colombian region to this day.

This profound history of human occupation is narrated in "Much more than a land bridge: archaeological advances in Panama", a book published in 2021 by the National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation (SENACYT) with the support of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and the Center for Historical Anthropological and Cultural Research - AIP (CIHAC-AIP). It is the first book written in Spanish and from Panama, dedicated exclusively to compiling the discoveries and analyses of a wide variety of subjects and authors on archeology and the country’s deep history. Twelve specialists, including Panamanians, Colombians, Americans and Canadians, reviewed the archeology of the Isthmus from different perspectives, covering its entire geography from the pre-Hispanic to the colonial period.

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