After nearly three decades of research involving meticulous analysis of the finds and monuments at Boca de Potrerillos, it has been possible to identify some of the region’s cultural patterns and features, and to draw some reliable conclusions on the social and economic organization of the indigenous population, which was based on fishing, hunting and gathering. This form of subsistence continued from the arrival of the first people some 12,000 years ago until the early nineteenth century.
Radiocarbon dating places the main period of occupation at about 5,000 years ago until the site was abandoned in the mid-eighteenth century. This long period of settlement, together with the extensive body of paleoenvironmental data, burials and classified artifacts, as well as the recording of more than 17,000 images, have helped to develop an understanding that sites situated between hill ranges, such as Boca de Potrerillos, were strategically important for seasonal living. The inhabitants made the most of abundant plant and animal resources and other primary materials over a prolonged period of time, as evidenced by the never-ending list of remains, including fireplaces, instruments and tools, movable pieces of art, ornaments made locally and in distant lands, hillsides with a variety of rock carvings, rock shelters with painted walls and burial sites. This points to an ordered structure of domestic spaces and rituals, which together formed part of a complex pre-historic landscape in the north of the present-day state of Nuevo León.
In summary, research has made it possible a) to determine the settlement pattern and chronology of the indigenous occupation; b) to reconstruct the prevailing natural environment in previous ages; c) to create an inventory including details of locations and typology of the archeological materials on the System for Unique Public Records of Archeological and Historical Monuments and Sites (SURPMZAH); d) to analyze the distribution and characteristics of the artifacts on the site and on a regional level; e) to understand the types of tools and their possible use in the exploitation of natural resources available in the past; f) the distribution and classification of rocks and images recorded by rock art, which are to a large extent found on the hillsides facing the sunrise, and particularly where the shape of the land forms entrances or mouths (“bocas”) at the entrance to canyons, or small valleys where rivers and streams meet.
Thanks to such extensive data and information, as well as its cultural significance, Boca de Potrerillos can be considered one of the best sites for studying the prehistoric period and rock art and carvings in Mexico.
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