A valuable recounting of the first formal archaeological excavations in Puerto Rico
Originally published as the Twenty-Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in 1907, this book was praised in an article in American Anthropologist as doing “more than any other to give a comprehensive idea of the archaeology of the West Indies.”
Until that time, for mainly political reasons, little scientific research had been conducted by Americans on any of the Caribbean islands. Dr. Fewkes' unique skills of observation and experience served him well in the quest to understand Caribbean prehistory and culture. This volume, the result of his careful fieldwork in Puerto Rico in 1902-04, is magnificently illustrated by 93 plates and 43 line drawings of specimens from both public and private collections of the islands.
A 1907 article in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland described the volume as “a most valuable contribution to ethnographical science.”
This innovative volume builds on dialogues opened in recent years between Cuban archaeologists, whose work has long been carried out behind closed doors, and their international colleagues. The chapters included herein span a wide range of subjects across the full chronological spectrum. Most were written by emerging Cuban professionals who are breaking new ground; a few were penned by long-time leaders in the field.
Issues addressed by the 17 contributors represented in this collection include the long-term cultural and intellectual links between Florida and Cuba, which influence shared research goals today; the limitations of theoretical frameworks for archaeology defined in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, and how to overcome them; the challenges involved in charting out the earliest human occupations on the island; the processes of Indo-Hispanic transculturation during the Colonial epoch; late pre-Colombian links between the Taínos of eastern Cuba and the rest of the Greater Antilles; and the theoretical and practical tensions between architectural restoration and the practice of scientific urban historical archaeology. Thus this volume makes a crucial contribution to the field of archaeology on many fronts, not the least of which is the sharing of information across the blockade.
Important information on prehistoric island populations and migrations.
According to the European chronicles, at the time of contact, the Greater Antilles were inhabited by the Taino or Arawak Indians, who were organized in hierarchical societies. Since its inception Caribbean archaeology has used population as an important variable in explaining many social, political, and economic processes such as migration, changes in subsistence systems, and the development of institutionalized social stratification.
In Caribbean Paleodemography, L. Antonio Curet argues that population has been used casually by Caribbean archaeologists and proposes more rigorous and promising ways in which demographic factors can be incorporated in our modeling of past human behavior. He analyzes a number of demographic issues in island archaeology at various levels of analysis, including inter- and intra-island migration, carrying capacity, population structures, variables in prehistory, cultural changes, and the relationship with material culture and social development. With this work, Curet brings together the diverse theories on Greater Antilles island populations and the social and political forces governing their growth and migration.
Dialogues in Cuban Archaeology
Edited by L. Antonio Curet, Shannon Lee Dawdy, and Gabino La Rosa Corzo University of Alabama Press, 2005 Library of Congress F1769.D53 2005 | Dewey Decimal 972.91004970729
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.
A long sequence of social, cultural, and political processes characterizes an ever-dynamic Caribbean history. The Caribbean Basin is home to numerous linguistic and cultural traditions and fluid interactions that often map imperfectly onto former colonial and national traditions. Although much of this contact occurred within the confines of local cultural communities, regions, or islands, they nevertheless also include exchanges between islands, and in some cases, with the surrounding continents. recent research in the pragmatics of seafaring and trade suggests that in many cases long-distance intercultural interactions are crucial elements in shaping the social and cultural dynamics of the local populations.
The contributors to Islands at the Crossroads include scholars from the Caribbean, the United States, and Europe who look beyond cultural boundaries and colonial frontiers to explore the complex and layered ways in which both distant and more intimate sociocultural, political, and economic interactions have shaped Caribbean societies from seven thousand years ago to recent times.
Douglas V. Armstrong / Mary Jane Berman / Arie Boomert / Alistair J. Bright / Richard T. Callaghan / L. Antonio Curet / Mark W. Hauser / Corinne L. Hofman / Menno L. P. Hoogland / Kenneth G. Kelly / Sebastiaan Knippenberg / Ingrid Newquist / Isabel C. Rivera-Collazo / Reniel Rodríquez Ramos / Alice V. M. Samson / Peter E. Siegel / Christian Williamson
When originally published in German in 1924, this volume was hailed as the first modern, comprehensive archaeological overview of an emerging area of the world. Yes, the Caribbean islands had long been known and owned, occupied, or traded among by the economically advanced nations of the world. However, the original inhabitants—as well as their artifacts, languages, and culture—had been treated by explorers and entrepreneurs alike as either slaves or hindrances to progress, and were used or eliminated. There was no publication that treated seriously the region and the peoples until this work. In the following ten years, additional pertinent publications emerged, along with a request to translate the original into Spanish. Based on those recent publications, Loven decided to update and reissue the work in English, which he thought to be the future international language of scholarship. This work is a classic, with enduring interpretations, broad geographic range, and an eager audience.
Exposes the largely unexplored topics in Caribbean archaeology of fraud, looting of heritage sites, and illicit trade of archaeological materials
Real, Recent, or Replica: Precolumbian Caribbean Heritage as Art, Commodity, and Inspiration is the first book-length study of its kind to highlight the increasing commodification of Caribbean precolumbian heritage. Amerindian art, including “Taíno art”, has become highly coveted by collectors, spurring a prolific and increasingly sophisticated black market of forgeries, but also contemporary artistic engagement, openly appreciated as modern artworks taking inspiration from the past. The contributors to this volume contend with difficult subject matter including the continued looting of archaeological sites in the region, the seismic increase of forgeries, and the imbalanced power and economic relations between the producers of neo-Amerindian art and those who consume it.
The case studies document the considerable time depth of forgeries in the region (since the late 19th century), examine the policies put in place by Caribbean governments and institutions to safeguard national patrimony, and explore the impact looted and forged artefacts have on how museums and institutions collect and ultimately represent the Caribbean past to their audiences. Taken together, it exposes the continued desire for the ‘authentic’ precolumbian artifact, no matter the cost.
The collection explores the unintended consequences, cautionary tales, and lessons learned in this often overlooked but very active region of the antiquities market. It also provides insights for archaeologists, museum professionals, art historians, and collectors to combat illegal trade and support communities in creating sustainable heritage industries.
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.