Dialogues in Cuban Archaeology
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
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List of Figures
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List of Tables
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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...
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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...
PART I. HISTORY OF CUBAN ARCHAEOLOGY
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2. Three Stages in the History of Cuban Archaeology
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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...
3. The Organization of Cuban Archaeology: Context and Brief History
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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...
4. Historical Archaeology in Cuba
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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�a in Old Havana in 1970 (Dom�nguez 1980, 1981), the first controlled and systematic excavation conducted in the colonial...
5. Cave Encounters: Rock Art Research in Cuba
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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...
PART II. SUBSTANTIVE ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH
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6. Approaches to Early Ceramics in the Caribbean: Between Diversity and Unilineality
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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...
7. El Chorro de Ma�ta: Social Inequality and Mortuary Space
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Understanding of the social and political organization of the Arawak aboriginal communities of Cuba, better known as the Ta�nos, Subta�nos, or groups of the etapa agroalfarera (agricultural-ceramist stage), has been limited by a shortage of historical and archaeological data. With respect to chiefdoms on the island, the prevailing view is that the power...
8. Mythical Expressions in the Ceramic Art of Agricultural Groups in the Prehistoric Antilles
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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...
9. Subsistence of Cimarrones: An Archaeological Study
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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...
10. An Archaeological Study of Slavery at a Cuban Coffee Plantation
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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. ...
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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...
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Publication Year: 2005