The University of Alabama Press

Caribbean Archaeology and Ethnohistory

L. Antonio Curet

Published by: The University of Alabama Press

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Caribbean Archaeology and Ethnohistory

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Out of Many, One People

The Historical Archaeology of Colonial Jamaica

Edited by James A. Delle, Mark W. Hauser, and Douglas W. Armstrong

As a source of colonial wealth and a crucible for global culture, Jamaica has had a profound impact on the formation of the modern world system. From the island's economic and military importance to the colonial empires it has hosted and the multitude of ways in which diverse people from varied parts of the world have coexisted in and reacted against systems of inequality, Jamaica has long been a major focus of archaeological studies of the colonial period.
 
This volume assembles for the first time the results of nearly three decades of historical archaeology in Jamaica. Scholars present research on maritime and terrestrial archaeological sites, addressing issues such as: the early Spanish period at Seville la Nueva; the development of the first major British settlement at Port Royal; the complexities of the sugar and coffee plantation system, and the conditions prior to, and following, the abolition of slavery in Jamaica. The everyday life of African Jamaican people is examined by focusing on the development of Jamaica's internal marketing system, consumer behavior among enslaved people, iron-working and ceramic-making traditions, and the development of a sovereign Maroon society at Nanny Town.
 
Out of Many, One People paints a complex and fascinating picture of life in colonial Jamaica, and demonstrates how archaeology has contributed to heritage preservation on the island.

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Pre-Columbian Jamaica

Written by Phillip Allsworth-Jones

Much of Jamaican prehistoric research—like that in the rest of the Caribbean basin—has been guided by at least a subconscious attempt to allow prehistoric native peoples to find their places within the charts established by Irving Rouse, who guided Caribbean research for much of the last half-century. The pre-Columbian peoples of Jamaica, and not merely their material culture, are beginning to take form, revealing their lifestyles and rituals, and taking their rightful place among the cultures of the New World.
 
Pre-Columbian Jamaica represents the first substantial attempt to summarize the prehistoric evidence from the island in a single published account since J. E. Duerden’s invaluable 1897 article on the subject, which is also reprinted within this volume. The book is designed to provide general commentary that can stand alone and be read as a continuous narrative; and as an additional and valuable resource is the accompanying CD-ROM that furnishes a great range of further illustrations, data, calculations, measurements, and comparisons. This data is curated at the Archaeology Laboratory at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, in Kingston, and was presented to the university by Dr. James Lee in 2000. His gift, and the comprehensive study that followed, provide the impetus for both the book and the CD-ROM. 

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Protecting Heritage in the Caribbean

Peter E. Siegel

Heritage preservation is a broad term that can include the protection of a wide range of human-mediated material and cultural processes ranging from specific artifacts, ancient rock art, and features of the built environment and modified landscapes. As a region of multiple independent nations and colonial territories, the Caribbean shares a common heritage at some levels, yet at the same time there are vast historical and cultural differences. Likewise, approaches to Caribbean heritage preservation are similarly diverse in range and scope.
 
This volume addresses the problem of how Caribbean nations deal with the challenges of protecting their cultural heritages or patrimonies within the context of pressing economic development concerns. Is there formal legislation that requires cultural patrimony to be considered prior to the approval of development projects? Does legislation apply only to government-funded projects or to private ones as well? Are there levels of legislation: local, regional, national? Are heritage preservation laws enforced? For whom is the heritage protected and what public outreach is implemented to disseminate the information acquired and retained?
 
In this volume, practitioners of heritage management on the frontline of their own islands address the current state of affairs across the Caribbean to present a comprehensive overview of Caribbean heritage preservation challenges. Considerable variability is seen in how determined and serious different nations are in approaching the responsibilities of heritage preservation. Packaging these diverse scenarios into a single volume is a critical step in raising awareness of the importance of protecting and judiciously managing an ever-diminishing fund of Caribbean heritage for all.
 
Contributors
Todd M. Ahlman / Benoît Bérard / Milton Eric Branford / Richard T. Callaghan / Kevin Farmer / R. Grant Gilmore III / Jay B. Haviser / Ainsley C. Henriques / William F. Keegan / Bruce J. Larson / Paul E. Lewis / Vel Lewis / Reg Murphy / Michael P. Pateman / Winston F. Phulgence / Esteban Prieto Vicioso / Basil A. Reid / Andrea Richards / Elizabeth Righter / Kelley Scudder-Temple / Peter E. Siegel / Christian Stouvenot / Daniel Torres Etayo

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Rethinking Puerto Rican Precolonial History

Written by Reniel Rodriguez Ramos

The history of Puerto Rico has usually been envisioned as a sequence of colonizations-various indigenous peoples from Archaic through Taíno were successively invaded, assimilated, or eliminated, followed by the Spanish entrada, which was then modified by African traditions and, since 1898, by the United States. The truth is more complex, but in many ways Puerto Rico remains one of the last colonies in the world. This volume focuses on the successive indigenous cultures of Puerto Rico prior to 1493.
 
Traditional studies of the cultures of indigenous peoples of the Caribbean have centered on ceramic studies, based on the archaeological model developed by Irving Rouse which has guided Caribbean archaeology for decades. Rodríguez Ramos departs from this methodology by implementing lithics as the primary unit for tracing the origins and developments of the indigenous peoples of Puerto Rico. Analyzing the technological styles involved in the production of stone artifacts in the island through time, as well as the evaluation of an inventory of more than 500 radiocarbon dates recovered since Rouse's model emerged, the author presents a truly innovative study revealing alternative perspectives on Puerto Rico's pre-Columbian culture-historical sequence. By applying a multiscalar design, he not only not only provides an analysis of the plural ways in which the precolonial peoples of the island interacted and negotiated their identities but also shows how the cultural landscapes of Puerto Rico, the Antilles, and the Greater Caribbean shaped and were shaped by mutually constituting processes through time.

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Rock Art of the Caribbean

This compilation, by an international grouping of scholars, focuses on the nature of Caribbean rock art or rock graphics and makes clear the region's substantial and distinctive rock art tradition. Thorough and comparative, it includes data on the history of rock graphic research, the nature of the assemblages (image numbers, types, locations), and the legal, conservation, and research status of the image sites. Chapters on these topics cover research on the islands of Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Aruba, and Bonaire. The prehispanic rock art and other ceremonial structures and artifacts, along with enthnohistorical accounts of the region at Contact, projected backward in time, all point to an active ritual and ceremonial life involving commoners, religious specialists, and elites in differing and interconnected roles and for diverse purposes. The selective use of common rock graphic design and physical elements can be seen in the distribution and execution of the carved and painted images. Pecked, ground, abraded, and scratched petroglyphs, along with pictographs done frequently in red, black, white and orange hues are found on a range of rock surfaces including limestones, granites, diorites, and andesites. Caves/rock shelters and rock formations associated with water sources (water ways, pools, ocean) account for the two most common locations, followed by ball court sites, inland rock outcroppings and beach rock.
 
In addition to specific area presentations, the work includes a review of recent advances in Caribbean rock graphic studies including dating and interpretative models; the application of a new documentation method and resulting computer manipulation advantages; a conservation project in Jamaica that has implications for the preservation and interpretation of the site; and a proposed dating sequence for the Lesser Antillean
Windward Islands.
 

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Sugar Cane Capitalism and Environmental Transformation

An Archaeology of Colonial Nevis, West Indies

In this deeply researched and multifaceted study, Marco G. Meniketti demonstrates how the landscape of the small Caribbean island of Nevis preserves and reveals artifacts and evidence of the highly complex and interrelated seventeenth- to nineteenth-century “Atlantic Economy,” comprising early capitalist sugar production, the African slave trade, and European settlement.
 
Sugar Cane Capitalism and Environmental Transformation is based on twelve seasons of meticulous archaeological field work and documentary research. Although Nevis was once a bustling hub of the British colonial project, the emigration of emancipated slaves and abandonment by European planters left large swathes of Nevis vacant. Reclaimed by forests and undisturbed by later waves of economic development, the island—dotted with fascinating ruins, debris from the sugar industry, windmills, chimneys, and multistoried great house—provided Meniketti with an ideal subject for archaeological inquiry.

Through intensive archaeological and landscape surveys of multiple key plantation sites, Meniketti traces the development of Nevis from its initial European settlement in 1627 to its central role as a British mercantile hub and a laboratory and prototype of capitalist sugar cultivation. His nuanced analysis explains the backdrop of European political and economic rivalries, of which the colonial agro-industrial enterprises were the physical manifestations, and makes telling comparisons with Dutch and French archaeological sites. The work also compares and contrasts the adoption of capitalist modes of sugar production and socialization at wealthy and middling plantation sites.
 
Supported with a wealth of photos, tables, and maps, Sugar Cane Capitalism and Environmental Transformation offers a vital case study of one island whose environment and archaeological record illuminates the complex webs of Atlantic history.

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Surviving Spanish Conquest

Indian Fight, Flight, and Cultural Transformation in Hispaniola and Puerto Rico

Surviving Spanish Conquest reveals the transformation that occurred in Indian communities during the Spanish conquest of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico from 1492 to 1550.

In Surviving Spanish Conquest: Indian Fight, Flight, and Cultural Transformation in Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, Karen F. Anderson-Córdova draws on archaeological, historical, and ethnohistorical sources to elucidate the impacts of sixteenth-century Spanish conquest and colonization on indigenous peoples in the Greater Antilles. Moving beyond the conventional narratives of the quick demise of the native populations because of forced labor and the spread of Old World diseases, this book shows the complexity of the initial exchange between the Old and New Worlds and examines the myriad ways the indigenous peoples responded to Spanish colonization.
 
Focusing on Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, the first Caribbean islands to be conquered and colonized by the Spanish, Anderson-Córdova explains Indian sociocultural transformation within the context of two specific processes, out-migration and in-migration, highlighting how population shifts contributed to the diversification of peoples. For example, as the growing presence of “foreign” Indians from other areas of the Caribbean complicated the variety of responses by Indian groups, her investigation reveals that Indians who were subjected to slavery, or the “encomienda system,” accommodated and absorbed many Spanish customs, yet resumed their own rituals when allowed to return to their villages. Other Indians fled in response to the arrival of the Spanish.
 
The culmination of years of research, Surviving Spanish Conquest deftly incorporates archaeological investigations at contact sites copious use of archival materials, and anthropological assessments of the contact period in the Caribbean. Ultimately, understanding the processes of Indian-Spanish interaction in the Caribbean enhances comprehension of colonization in many other parts of the world. Anderson-Córdova concludes with a discussion regarding the resurgence of interest in the Taíno people and their culture, especially of individuals who self-identify as Taíno. This volume provides a wealth of insight to historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, and those interested in early cultures in contact.

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Talking Taino

Caribbean Natural History from a Native Perspective

Written by William F. Keegan and Lisabeth A. Carlson

Keegan and Carlson, combined, have spent over 45 years conducting archaeological research in the Caribbean, directing projects in Trinidad, Grenada, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, the Turks & Caicos Islands, and throughout the Bahamas. Walking hundreds of miles of beaches, working without shade in the Caribbean sun, diving in refreshing and pristine waters, and studying the people and natural environment around them has given them insights into the lifeways of the people who lived in the Caribbean before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Sadly, harsh treatment extinguished the culture that we today call Taíno or Arawak.

 

In an effort to repay their debt to the past and the present, the authors have focused on the relationship between the Taínos of the past (revealed through archaeological investigations) and the present natural history of the islands.  Bringing the past to life and highlighting commonalities between past and present, they emphasize Taíno words and beliefs about their worldview and culture.

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Tibes

People, Power, and Ritual at the Center of the Cosmos

Edited by L. Antonio Curet and Lisa M. Stringer

The first comprehensive analysis of a strategically located ceremonial center on the island of Puerto Rico.

The prehistoric civic-ceremonial center of Tibes is located on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, just north of the modern coastal city of Ponce. Protected on two sides by a river, and on the other two sides by hills, this approximately 10.5-acre site remains as fertile and productive today as when first occupied over 2,000 years ago. Such a rich region would have been a choice location for native peoples because of the diversity in all resources, from land, air, and sea--and also symbolically crucial as a liminal space within the landscape. It may have been regarded as a space charged with numen or cosmic energy where different parts of the cosmos (natural vs. supernatural, or world of the living vs. world of the dead) overlap. Archaeological evidence reveals a long occupation, about 1,000 years, possibly followed by an extensive period of sporadic ceremonial use after the site itself was practically abandoned.

In this volume, nineteen Caribbeanists, across a wide academic spectrum, examine the geophysical, paleoethnobotanical, faunal, lithics, base rock, osteology, bone chemistry and nutrition, social landscape, and ceremonial constructs employed at Tibes. These scholars provide a concise, well-presented, comprehensive analysis of the evidence for local level changes in household economy, internal organization, accessibility to economic, religious, and symbolic resources related to the development and internal operation of socially stratified societies in the Caribbean.



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Trinidad Yoruba

From Mother-Tongue to Memory

Written by Maureen Warner-Lewis

A deeply informed Afrocentric view of language and cultural retention under slavery.

Maureen Warner-Lewis offers a comprehensive description of the West African language of Yoruba as it has been used on the island of Trinidad in the southern Caribbean. The study breaks new ground in addressing the experience of Africans in one locale of the Africa Diaspora and examines the nature of their social and linguistic heritage as it was successively retained, modified, and discarded in a European-dominated island community.

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