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Archaeology and Geoinformatics

Case Studies from the Caribbean

Edited by Basil A. Reid, with contributions from Joshua M. Torres, David W Knigh

Publication Year: 2008

Addressing the use of geoinformatics in Caribbean archaeology, this volume is based on case studies drawn from specific island territories, namely, Barbados, St. John, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Nevis, St. Eustatius, and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as inter-island interaction and landscape conceptualization in the Caribbean region. Geoinformatics is especially critical within the Caribbean where site destruction is intense due to storm surges, hurricanes, ocean and riverine erosion, urbanization, industrialization, and agriculture, as well as commercial development along the very waterfronts that were home to many prehistoric peoples. By demonstrating that the region is fertile ground for the application of geoinformatics in archaeology, this volume places a well-needed scholarly spotlight on the Caribbean.

Douglas V. Armstrong, Ivor Conolley, Kevin Farmer, R. Grant Gilmore III, Mark W. Hauser, Eric Klingelhofer, David W. Knight, Roger H. Leech, Stephan Lenik, Parris Lyew-Ayee, Bheshem Ramlal, Basil A. Reid, Reniel Rodríguez, Joshua M. Torres

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-xi

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p. xiii

I wish to thank all the authors of the various chapters for their stellar contributions. It was indeed a pleasure working with them. Their essays, which reflect tremendous insight and an excellent grasp of the subject matter, are well appreciated and..

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Introduction Archaeology and Geoinformatics: Case Studies from the Caribbean

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pp. 1-9

This volume, Archaeology and Geoinformatics: Case Studies from the Caribbean, presents a miscellany of both interesting and informative essays on the use of geoinformatics in Caribbean archaeology. The contributions are based on case studies drawn from specific island territories, namely, Barbados, St. John, Jamaica, Nevis, St. Eustatius,...

Part I: Archaeology, GIS, and Visibility Models

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1. The Caribbean: A Continent Divided by Water

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pp. 13-29

Current conceptualizations of the relatedness of islands within the Caribbean Basin are typically characterized by notions of insularity and isolationism based on the archipelagic configuration of the region. In this chapter, we utilize theoretical concepts...

Part II: Archaeology, GIS, and Cultural Resource Management

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2. Developing Weights-of-Evidence Predictive Models for the Cultural Resource Management of Pre-Columbian Sites in Trinidad

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pp. 33-73

Aimed at enhancing cultural resource management of Trinidad’s pre-Columbian sites, this chapter discusses weights- of- evidence models for three watersheds in the south and southwest of Trinidad. Pre-Columbian sites and their areal association with evidential themes (such as landform, relief, soils, and land capability) formed...

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3. Forward Planning: The Utilization of GIS in the Management of Archaeological Resources in Barbados

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pp. 74-85

Barbados is a small island situated in the west Atlantic Ocean, some 90 miles east of the archipelago of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. The island measures 21 miles in length by 14 miles wide and has a population of 270,000 with a population density on average of 1,626 persons per square mile. The island has witnessed some....

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4. Developing an Archaeological Information System for Trinidad and Tobago

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pp. 86-96

Archaeological remains may be seen as finite and nonrenewable resources that are in many cases highly fragile and vulnerable to damage and destruction. They may contain irreplaceable information about our past and therefore may increase our potential for further...

Part III: Archaeology, GIS, Cartography, GPS, Satellite Imagery, Aerial Photography, and Photogrammetry

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5. Maps, Matricals, and Material Remains: An Archaeological GIS of Late-Eighteenth-Century Historic Sites on St. John, Danish West Indies

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pp. 99-126

The steep and rugged landscape of St. John along with its irregular rainfall made it marginal to the capital interests of the Danish West Indies. While mercantile trade was central to the economy of St. Thomas and the plantation economy was well suited to St. Croix, the setting of St. John contributed to its peripheral role as...

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6. Understanding Nevis: GPS and Archaeological Field Survey in a Postcolonial Landscape

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pp. 127-136

An archaeological perspective is used to better understand the settlement and subsequent exploitation of colonial Nevis, to provide an understanding of a period of history studied largely by historians working from documents. The island of Nevis presents particular problems to the archaeologist studying the colonial landscape. Most of the earliest land records for the island ...

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7. The Use of Imagery to Locate Taino Sites in Jamaica in a GIS Environment

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pp. 137-152

The Tainos, formerly referred to as Arawaks, developed within the Greater Antilles roughly 1,000–1,500 years ago and were the primary inhabitants of Jamaica prior to Columbus’s arrival in 1494. Over 23 Taino settlement sites have, to date, been accidentally discovered in Trelawny, a parish located in north-central Jamaica. The following study will utilize aerial photographs, ...

Part IV: Archaeology and Geophysics

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8. Geophysics and the Search for Raleigh’s Outpost on Trinidad

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pp. 155-169

Fieldwork searching for evidence of Sir Walter Raleigh’s briefly occupied Caribbean outpost on Trinidad is part of a long- term study of English proto-colonial expansion. Documentary and cartographic sources pointed to a lo-cation on Trinidad as the site of earthwork fortifications erected for forces to engage in exploration and colonization. Among the earliest English sites ...

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9. Geophysics and Volcanic Islands: Resistivity and Gradiometry on St. Eustatius

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pp. 170-183

St. Eustatius, once known as the “Golden Rock,” is now called the “Historical Gem” due to its unequaled concentration of colonial period archaeological sites. Geophysical instruments, including a resistivity meter and a fluxgate gradiometer, have...

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Conclusion Postscript: Archaeology and Geoinformatics from a Caribbeanist Perspective

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pp. 184-194

This volume brings to the fore the use of geoinformatics within the context of Caribbean archaeology, an approach that originates from the question of how we can most effectively identify, assess, survey, document, and manage diminishing archaeological resources. By providing working hypotheses and occasional field- tested demonstrations of the analytical rewards of...

Glossary of Terms

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pp. 195-203

References Cited

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pp. 205-224


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pp. 225-228


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pp. 229-234

E-ISBN-13: 9780817380533
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817354701

Page Count: 234
Publication Year: 2008

OCLC Number: 567999135
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Archaeology and Geoinformatics

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Subject Headings

  • Indians of the West Indies -- Antiquities.
  • Excavations (Archaeology) -- Geographic information systems -- Caribbean Area.
  • Archaeological geology -- Caribbean Area.
  • Caribbean Area -- Antiquities.
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