We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Dialogues in Cuban Archaeology

Edited by L. Antonio Curet, Shannon Lee Dawdy, and Gabino La Rosa Corzo, with co

Publication Year: 2005

Provides a politically and historically informed review of Cuban archaeology, from both American and Cuban perspectives.


Many Americans are aware of the political, economic, and personal impacts of the U.S. embargo on Cuba. But the communication blockade between scholars has also affected the historical course of academic disciplines and research in general. With the easing of restrictions in the 1990s, academics are now freer to conduct research in Cuba, and the Cuban government has been more receptive to collaborative projects.

This volume provides a forum for the principal Cuban and American archaeologists to update the current state of Cuban archaeological research--from rock art and potsherds to mortuary practices and historical renovation--thereby filling in the information gap created by the political separation. Each group of researchers brings significant new resources to the effort, including strong conservation regulations, innovative studies of lithic and shell assemblages, and transculturation theories. Cuban research on the hacienda system, slavery, and urban processes has in many ways anticipated developments in North American archaeology by a decade or more. Of special interest are the recent renovation projects in Old Havana that fully integrate the work of historians, architects, and archaeologists--a model project conducted by agreement between the Cuban government and UNESCO.

The selection of papers for this collection is based on a desire to answer pressing research questions of interest for North American Caribbeanists and to present a cross-section of Cuban archaeological work. With this volume, then, the principal players present results of recent collaborations and begin a renewed conversation, a dialogue, that can provide a foundation for future coordinated efforts.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


pdf iconDownload PDF (31.7 KB)
pp. vii-viii

List of Figures

pdf iconDownload PDF (47.2 KB)
pp. ix-xi

List of Tables

pdf iconDownload PDF (17.1 KB)
pp. xiii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (23.2 KB)
pp. xv-xvi

Both the spirit and the reality of this project correspond to a collaborative team project. Many individuals and organizations have lent their support and enthusiasm to its inception, realization, and transformation from a conference symposium to an edited volume. The symposium and related forum out of which this volume grew took place at the 2002 Society...

read more

1. Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (142.9 KB)
pp. 1-25

This volume evolved out of a symposium titled “Prehistoric and Historic Archaeology of Cuba: A New Era of Research, Dialogue, and Collaboration” presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in 2002. The goal of the symposium was to provide a setting for Cuban and American archaeologists to engage in a dialogue that...


pdf iconDownload PDF (16.6 KB)
pp. 27

read more

2. Three Stages in the History of Cuban Archaeology

pdf iconDownload PDF (102.4 KB)
pp. 29-40

The periodization used in this work, as in any other, is a somewhat arbitrary form of analysis, in this case employed to bring out elements important for contextualizing Cuban archaeology. As history consists of a continuous interrelationship of factors, alternative periodizations could be defined from other points of view (see Dacal Moure and Rivero de la...

read more

3. The Organization of Cuban Archaeology: Context and Brief History

pdf iconDownload PDF (198.7 KB)
pp. 41-61

In this chapter we provide a brief descriptive organizational and social history of Cuban archaeology beginning with its nineteenth-century foundations and leading up to the present. We examine the means by which Cuba’s prehistoric past has been researched, theorized, and interpreted by looking at where archaeology has been situated ideologically and...

read more

4. Historical Archaeology in Cuba

pdf iconDownload PDF (80.9 KB)
pp. 62-71

Compared to many other countries, Cuba was early to adopt Historical Archaeology as a significant subfield within the discipline. I had the honor of playing a part in its humble beginnings. My first work was in the Casa de la Obrap

read more

5. Cave Encounters: Rock Art Research in Cuba

pdf iconDownload PDF (307.5 KB)
pp. 72-99

Rock art has been found in nearly every country of the world (Bahn 1996). With over 700 examples, Cuba is no exception. Images painted, pecked, incised, or carved onto rock are among the most distinctive remains left by the early inhabitants of the Cuban archipelago. Since the...


pdf iconDownload PDF (16.6 KB)
pp. 101

read more

6. Approaches to Early Ceramics in the Caribbean: Between Diversity and Unilineality

pdf iconDownload PDF (153.2 KB)
pp. 103-124

Several centuries before agricultural ceramic groups from South America arrived in the Greater Antilles, some foraging groups in the islands seemed to have developed ceramic technology independently. This chapter presents and analyzes the different opinions, criteria, and hypotheses...

read more

7. El Chorro de Ma

pdf iconDownload PDF (153.1 KB)
pp. 125-146

Understanding of the social and political organization of the Arawak aboriginal communities of Cuba, better known as the Ta

read more

8. Mythical Expressions in the Ceramic Art of Agricultural Groups in the Prehistoric Antilles

pdf iconDownload PDF (150.1 KB)
pp. 147-162

When the archaeology of Cuba reoriented its perspective in the 1960s to the methodological and conceptual foundations of historical materialism, the priority of research became knowledge of the socioeconomic and general infrastructural processes of our indigenous communities. It was...

read more

9. Subsistence of Cimarrones: An Archaeological Study

pdf iconDownload PDF (278.6 KB)
pp. 163-180

In the western region of the island of Cuba, two mountain ranges of relative low elevation extend from east to west between the provinces of Havana and Matanzas.1 The one to the north is named Alturas del Norte de La Habana- Matanzas and the one on the south Alturas del Centro de La Habana-Matanzas. The archaeological sites that are the focus of...

read more

10. An Archaeological Study of Slavery at a Cuban Coffee Plantation

pdf iconDownload PDF (324.8 KB)
pp. 181-199

In the nineteenth century, Cuba became known as the “Pearl of the Antilles” because it was the largest, most prosperous island of the Caribbean. This prosperity was derived from the exploitation of slave labor in the production of staple crops. Cuba imported more than one million enslaved Africans over three centuries of transatlantic slave trade. ...

read more

11. Afterword

pdf iconDownload PDF (36.8 KB)
pp. 200-202

I am honored to be asked to add a note at the end of this valuable and timely volume and full of admiration for the editors and contributors for going to such great effort to make this book possible. It is a significant contribution to Caribbean archaeology, and I hope it will be part...

References Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF (122.1 KB)
pp. 203-228


pdf iconDownload PDF (64.5 KB)
pp. 229-233


pdf iconDownload PDF (65.8 KB)
pp. 235-241

E-ISBN-13: 9780817380854
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817351878

Publication Year: 2005