By Barbara Voorhies
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Additional resources for Coastal Collectors in the Holocene: The Chantuto People of Southwest Mexico
P. is thought to have been between 75 and 90 km seaward of its present location (Stright 1995:133) between the -12 and -22 isobaths (Stright 1995:140). But what is the likely situation in the vicinity of the present study area throughout the Quaternary? The Acapetahua Estuary is located within the tropical belt and is far from the area once occupied by the Laurentian ice sheet to the north or the Andean glaciers to the south (cf. Tjia 1975:figure 4). Therefore, the effects of the isostatic rebound during and after deglaciation logically would have been minimal compared with the situation in the high latitudes.
Although the coastal pr ocesses responsible for the formation of estuarine-lagoon systems would have been in effect throughout the Holocene, the continuing marine transgression until stillstand prevented these systems fr om developing fully . Instead, erosional processes have obliterated many of them. Thus, estuarine-lagoon systems have developed most extensively since sea level stabilization (Russell 1967:93) and are associated with prograding coasts (Contreras Espinosa 1993:19). Evidence of older, now submerged, lagoons has been found on the continental shelf off the eastern United States and in the northwest Gulf of Mexico (Phleger 1969:6).
Six thousand years ago, however, the palaeoshoreline must have been farther inland than it is now. This is because the series of inactive beach ridges in the ar ea document a geologically recent seaward shoreline progression occurring since the last marine stillstand. What is missing, however , is clear geologic documentation of the timing of these events, as well as the exact location of the shoreline when the Chantuto people built up the massive shellmounds that are a main focus of our study.