Central America before the Spanish Conquest has often been considered by North American archaeologists as a â€śbackwaterâ€ť of peripheral importance located between the advanced ancient civilizations of South America and Mesoamerica (Mexicanâ€“Maya country). Recent archaeological research has revealed that this area played a much more significant role in New World cultural history than was previously thought. Healyâ€™s study examines the archaeological record of one subarea of Southern Central America, the Rivas region of Pacific Nicaragua. The work gives a detailed analysis of excavations and of artifacts recovered at seven significant prehistoric sites. A critical pioneering effort, the monograph documents cultural changes occurring over a 2,000â€“year time periodâ€”changes in technology, material culture, settlement, subsistence, and socioâ€“political organization.