New Insights into the Archaic of the circum-Caribbean

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

With the development of new trends in long-term perspectives on human ecodynamics, multidimensional approaches to biocultural evolution, and synergies between modellers and palaeoecologists, research on the early peoples of the circum-Caribbean became increasingly interdisciplinary and informed by the realization that humans are not passive adaptors to their environment but creatively shape and re-shape it as a landscape, while being simultaneously molded through dynamic biological, sociocultural and environmental feedbacks. Concomitantly with these theoretical shifts, aided by increasingly sophisticated techniques, the approaches aimed at disclosing the origin of the Archaic Age populations, their mobility and exchange, modes of life, and transitions to horticulture have also been transformed. No longer are these phenomena perceived as caused by single ‘revolutionary’ events, but as multistranded trajectories depending on combinations of economic, social and ideological processes, liberated from the dependency on propitious environmental conditions, and from the previously inseparable co-phenomena of sedentarism, domestication, and pottery making. The approaches have also been changed by the denial of any clear-cut distinction between foragers and farmers’ modes of living and world viewing.

We aim to discuss new theoretical, methodological and analytical approaches, that are used to understand the origins and dynamics of the Archaic Age in the Circum-Caribbean.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-16 of 16)

  • Documents (16)

  • The Archaeology of the Archaic Age on Margarita Island within the Context of the Venezuelan Caribbean (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Andrzej Antczak. Luis Lemoine. Ma. Magdalena Antczak.

    Since the 1950s, the archaeology of Margarita, the largest island of Venezuela, has been neglected leaving open an important lacunae in the current knowledge of Venezuelan and Caribbean archaeology. In 2008, human bones were accidentally unearthed on the island, allowing the recovery of two individuals and associated cultural materials that included lithics, shells, and red ochre. The archaeological layer and human bones date to between 4,090 and 2,160 BP. The osteological analyses show...

  • Archaic Age migration and settlement on Aruba (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Harold Kelly. Raymundo Dijkhoff.

    Archaic Age migration and settlement on Aruba The Archaic Period of Aruba falls between 2500 BC to 900/1000AD and is characterized by nomadic ‘fisher-hunter-gatherers’ with a predominantly marine, coastal orientation, occupying different areas of the island. Their diet consisted mostly out of marine food and to a lesser extent hunting of small game and foraging. The majority of the so-called preceramic sites are coastal shell-middens predominantly located on limestone. The sites of Canashito and...

  • Archaic Age voyaging, networks and resource mobility around the Caribbean Sea (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Corinne Hofman. Angus Mol. Emma Slayton. Menno Hoogland.

    This paper builds on the idea that Caribbean Archaic Age communities were highly mobile and connected. Study of fisher-collector sites in the Northeastern and Southern Caribbean has shown that Archaic Age communities managed extensive subsistence/ resource/activity systems, involving intra-archipelagic and mainland-island voyaging. The connectivity patterns and resource landscapes of these two regions will be discussed. We see a set of vital resources, which would remain important for later...

  • Caribbean Landscapes in the Age of the Anthropocene: The First Colonizers (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Peter Siegel. John Jones. Deborah Pearsall. Nicholas Dunning. Pat Farrell.

    Identifying first human colonization of new places is challenging, especially when groups were small and material traces of their occupations were ephemeral. Generating reliable reconstructions of human-colonization patterns from intact archaeological sites may be exceedingly difficult given post-depositional taphonomic processes and in cases of island and coastal locations the inundation of landscapes resulting from post-Pleistocene sea-level rise. Paleoenvironmental reconstruction is a better...

  • Caribbean's First Farmers: The Story of St. John in southwestern Trinidad (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Basil Reid.

    Recent starch grain analysis of three grindstones from St. John has confirmed that the Ortoiroid people of St. John (southwestern Trinidad) were in fact the first farmers of the insular Caribbean. This discovery is significant for the region as it provides proof that as far back as 7,700 years ago, early native communities in the Caribbean were actively engaged in the sowing, harvesting and processing of a range of cultivars. This paper will explore early farming at St. John in relation to...

  • Early Human Occupation on Bonaire and Curacao, Dutch Caribbean (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jay Haviser. Menno Hoogland. Joost Morsink. Ruud Stelten. Corinne Hofman.

    In January 2016, Leiden University initiated a project on Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean. Through a multidisciplinary perspective, and in comparison with earlier Leiden research on Curacao, the goal of this project is to examine how people utilized the landscape during the earliest occupation of the islands. Archaeological investigations focus on two locations; Wanapa II site and caves. Located behind Lac Bay, the Wanapa II site will yield data on settlement dynamics and house structures on Bonaire....

  • Environmental change and the social context of human adaptation strategies during the Archaic Period in the Caribbean (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Isabel Rivera-Collazo.

    The connection between environmental change and social response is complex because change occurs on multiple inter-related factors, human decisions are filtered by social buffers, and the rate and scale of environmental change differs from scale of human decision-making. In this presentation I consider the rate of coastal landscape change before the mid-Holocene affecting human settlement patterns in the Caribbean, evaluate traditional settlement patterns in the context of maritime culture, and...

  • From foraging to incipient horticulture: The Archaic era in the coastal zone and offshore islands of northeast South America (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Arie Boomert.

    At the onset of the Holocene scattered small-game hunters, fishers and foragers occupied the northern South America. Such residentially and logistically mobile groups also traversed occasionally the relatively open landscape of Trinidad, judging from the individual find of a Lithic spearhead of Canaima/Atures type in this island. By then movement from the mainland to Trinidad was still easy due to the existence of a land bridge. Following its flooding as a result of the post-Pleistocene sea...

  • Island societies during the Archaic Age in the Lesser Antilles : the issue of resources in Saint-Martin (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Dominique Bonnissent. Nathalie Serrand. Laurent Bruxelles. Pierrick Fouéré. Sandrine Grouard.

    During the 4th millennium before Christ, the Lesser Antilles archipelago witnessed the development of insular societies. These communities which combined shellfish collection, fishing, submarine and terrestrial hunting, a proto-agriculture and gathering, developed a culture there rather specific to the tropical insular context. A diachronic and detailed study of the settlements over close to 4 millennia allows detecting an evolution in the human practices although they appear quite homogeneous...

  • The Late Archaic and Initial Ceramic Age in Coastal French Guiana (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Martijn Van Den Bel.

    Recent excavations at two archaeological sites in French Guiana (Eva 2 and Saint-Louis) presented evidence of a Late Archaic an Early Ceramic Age occupation which is comparable to other coastal sites in South America, such as the Alaka Phase in Guyana and the Mina Tradition in Pará, Brazil. These early ceramic sites represent the suite of a larger Archaic Age Littoral Tradition in which ceramics represented an innovative aspect to the Archaic way of life. Starch grain analysis showed that maize,...

  • Levisa 1. Diversity and complexity in a key ¨archaic¨context of Cuba and the Caribbean (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Roberto Valcarcel Rojas. Jorge Ulloa Hung.

    The archaeological site Levisa 1, in northeast Cuba, possesses one of the earlier radiocarbon dates for the so called ¨archaic¨ communities in this Island and one of the earliest one from the Caribbean region. For this reason that place is a basic reference for the study of the ¨archaic¨ groups. Also due to its location and potential link with other important archaic sites, and because possesses contexts that reflect diverse types and moments of pre-Arawak’s occupations, and even ceramic use....

  • Migrations, colonizations, perisferies, and historical divides. An analysis of the construction and deconstruction of the ¨archaics¨ in Cuba and Hispaniola (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jorge Ulloa Hung. Roberto Valcárcel Rojas.

    The diversity, complexity, and continuity of ¨archaics ¨ communities is one of the most recurrent themes in contemporary Caribbean archeology. Despite this, the tradition of research on this phenomenon goes back more than 40 years in Cuba and La Española, prompting classifications and models under the dominance of four basic theoretical approaches: colonization, difussion, evolution, and transculturation. This paper examines, discusses and compares the treatment and management of archaeological...

  • Modelling Archaic forager mobility: a discussion on the application of agent-based models (ABMs) to forager mobility strategies in the North-Eastern Caribbean Archaic period. (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alvaro Castilla-Beltrán.

    Diverse types of models have been proposed to shed light to Caribbean colonization process as well as general patterns of mobility, exchange and connectivity. These models have hitherto been narrative, theoretical and statistical and their products have widened our understanding of the archaeological record. Agent-based models (ABMs) represent a promising step forward on the modelling approach to Caribbean archaeology by placing attention to the interactions among agents and agents and the...

  • On the way to the islands: the role of early domestic plants in the initial peopling of the Antilles (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jaime R. Pagan-Jimenez. Jaime Pagan-Jimenez.

    Indigenous people initiated their dispersal toward the Caribbean isles at sometime around 8000 to 7800 years before present. This time framework coincides with the consolidation/aggregation and eventual transference of new dietary suites (domestic plants) to long distances, having been this process one that initiated at least in two different and mutually distant regions of continental America. This presentation explores the feasibility of the ideal free distribution (IFD) and diet breadth (DB)...

  • Potential Early Connections Between the Greater Antilles and Lower Central America in the Light of Toponomastic Analysis (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ivan Roksandic.

    This presentation looks at the paterns of interaction in the Western Caribbean at the time of early migrations onto the islands, with a special focus on the potential long-distance connection between Lower Central America and the Greater Antilles indicated by several important observations: a recent comparative study of ancient DNA from the pre-contact site of Canímar Abajo in western Cuba; circulation of some plant species (e.g., pollo maize; Zamia); the practice of dental modification on...

  • Subsistence strategies and food consumption patterns of "fisher-gatherer" populations from Western Cuba: From traditional perspectives to current analytical results (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Yadira Chinique De Armas. William Mark Buhay. Roberto Rodríguez Suárez. David Smith. Mirjana Roksandic.

    Starch and isotopic analyses have changed our understanding of subsistence strategies and food consumption patterns of Cuban “fisher-gatherers”, traditionally considered as populations who depended on natural resources, without management of cultigens. Isotopes (13C and 15N) from Guayabo Blanco, Cueva del Perico, Cueva Calero and Canímar Abajo (CA) sites, indicated two different food consumption patterns among coexistent “fisher-gathers”, suggesting that populations with different dietary...