The Nicaraguan Rise and the Problem of Early Peopling of the Greater Antilles

Author(s): Ivan Roksandic

Year: 2015


This presentation examines the patterns of interaction in the Greater Antilles at the time of early migrations, the sources of those population movements and the reasons behind them, with a special focus on the probable links between Lower Central America and the Western Caribbean, in light of recent research results from several academic fields, such as archaeology; aDNA studies; physical anthropology; toponomastics. It investigates developments that made possible such long distance maritime links and population movements. The Nicaraguan Rise – extending from Honduras and Nicaragua as far as Jamaica – with its numerous low-laying islands, provides both an ideal situation for island-hopping, and an extremely rich environment for economies based on fishing. If the sea level, as recent bathymetric studies have suggested, was just two meters lower than it is today in the period between 8 and 4 ka. years BP, many more islands would be exposed, providing early fishing communities with an easy island-hopping route towards the Greater Antilles. This hypothesis is in agreement with recent views, which analyze the process of island colonization as consisting of the phases of discovery, exploration, visitation, and year-round utilization, followed by seasonal settlement, and finally establishment, or permanent settlement.

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Cite this Record

The Nicaraguan Rise and the Problem of Early Peopling of the Greater Antilles. Ivan Roksandic. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396627)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;