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6 The Rock Images of Haiti A Living Heritage Rachel Beauvoir-Dominique Prehistoric Culture Overview Two major cultural periods mark the prehistory of Haiti. The first roughly spans the six millennia of the Lithic and Archaic ages. On Haiti, these hunting and gathering cultures are known from habitation and cave sites; coastal shell middens; stone, shell, and flint collections; and funerary sites (Veloz Maggiolo 1972). Jacques Roumain, the father of Haitian archaeology, published a seminal paper entitled “LithicWorkshop of the Ciboney of Haiti” (Roumain 1943), based on his work at the towns of Cabaret and Merger in the southern region of Port-au-Prince. His work is complemented by the research of Froelich Rainey (1941) and Irving Rouse (1941),mostly in the northeastern Fort Libert é region, which led to the characterization of each of the two cultural phases. The later Archaic Courian Casimiroid populations were increasingly associated with fishing and the sea, as well as the production of shell ornaments , conch tools, and the like. The earliest dates for Lithic cultures generally come from sites in the Cabaret-Arcahaie area (Duclos VII, 4160 b.c., and Vignier III, 3630 b.c.), with later phase occupation indicated from the Fort Liberté and Port-de-Paix regions, dated to 2660 b.c. and 2470 b.c. (still within the Lithic Age), respectively (Moore 1992). Archaic cultures, of the early, middle, and late periods, extend from 2780 b.c. (Matelas site) to a.d. 390 (Philippe, La Gonave). While these sites are generally concentrated in the Ile àVache and southern part of Haiti, they are also found, contrary to previous belief, throughout the country, including the center and north (for example,Gonaïves,Anse Rouge,Ferrier,Limonade, Port-de-Paix, and La Tortue). Since Archaic sites are normally located near the sea, they are under the constant threat of erosion (Moore 1992). The Ceramic Period marks the second major Haitian prehistoric division, Rock Images of Haiti / 79 incorporating the Ostionan,Meillacan,and Chican Ostionoid ceramic series that are associated with pre-Taíno and Taíno peoples (see Figure 1.2,this volume ). Both Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, including Haiti, as Wilson (1999) has argued, represent the areas with the highest expression of Taíno artistic, social, and political development. Ostionan artifacts (a.d. 650–960) are located primarily around Fort Libert é,particularly at the sites of Ile à Cabrits and Ile à Boucanier.Red-colored pottery predominates within the assemblages.It should be noted that the lack of recent archaeological research in the country means that we still possess a limited and likely biased sample from the earliest phase of the Ceramic Period (Moore 1998). The few Ostionoid artifacts rapidly give way to two major Meillacan ceramic types.The Finca style from southwestern Haiti is closely linked to Jamaican ceramics, while the Meillac style finds its most classical expression in the north, including sites in the Fort Liberté region. Finally, the Chican ceramic style of the ClassicTaíno culture (a.d. 1200–1500) is largely distributed throughout the Haitian territory, though much more scarce in the southern Guacayarima province (Moore 1998). A third period of rock art production appears to have taken place in the early historic period with the introduction of African populations to Haiti. Rock Art Sites A thorough inventory of Haitian rock art has yet to be undertaken. Nevertheless , a number of locations have been identified throughout the years, most notably: The Roche à l’Inde (Camp-Coq, Limbé), Roche Tampée (Cerca • Carvajal-Hinche), and Sainte-Suzanne riverbed sites in the north and Central Plateau region; The Voûte à Minguet of Dondon in northern Haiti and Bassin Zim in • Hinche, Central Plateau, both deep cave sites; The Bohoc/Colladère (Pignon) and St. Francique (St. Michel de • l’Attalaye) cave sites in the Central Plateau; The historically mentioned Dubedou cave site near the city of Gonaïves • in the department of Artibonite. Additional reported sites include the caves of Tortuga Island, Marmelade ’s Grotte Dufour, and the Morne Deux-Têtes Meillac site of Limbé in the north. As for the south, the literature mentions a major ball court in the hillsides of Merger, as well as the cave site where the famous cacique 80 / Beauvoir-Dominique Anacaona took refuge. Farther down the southwestern peninsula, following Haiti’s major karst line, lie the grottos of Camp-Perrin, the Port-Salut Moreau Cave,the town of Pestel’s Grotte aux Indes,Grande Grotte in Port à Piment (the largest in Haiti, estimated at...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780817381592
Related ISBN
9780817355302
MARC Record
OCLC
679303852
Pages
304
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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