Museo Nacional de Costa Rica
Historic Archaeology

Historic Archaeology is a branch of archaeology defined as, "the study of material culture of post-European times, being a discipline that proposes the reconstruction of lifestyles of human societies throughout time and space, complementing and unifying archaeological and historic criteria—defined these as theory and methods." (Sanhueza 2004:109). This kind of archaeology first started to develop in North America and England.

Historic Archaeology will then, examine mainly the period of time given between contact between American Indigenous and Spanish Conquistadors, to our days. Researchers utilize written documents as part of their study, and usually work in collaboration with historians. This collaboration between archaeology and history is vital to accurately interpret the urban development and use of space the city was built upon throughout time. (Sanhueza 2004:109).

In our country there are few studies conducted from the perspective of this historic archaeology. The first one was developed by archaeologist Floria Arrea as part of her thesis in Santo Domingo de Heredia in 1987. The Department of Anthropology and History has conducted various research projects in this line of study at the site Paso Real (Quintanilla 1986,) at the Metropolitan Cathedral (Vázquez, Hidalgo & Sol, 1999), and at San Lucas Island (Guerrero, Villalobos & Sánchez, 2008; 2009). Recently, the finds were centered at the headquarters of the National Museum, Bellavista Barracks. At the site, workers processed five meters of a tunnel that appeared during remodeling operations (Guerrero y Sánchez 2009).