The Archaeology of the Archaic Age on Margarita Island within the Context of the Venezuelan Caribbean


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 consistency with similar Archaic finds reported from the insular Caribbean and support the claim for a marked anthropo-physical difference between the Archaic Age individuals and latter Ceramic Age settlers. This discovery prompted the initial reconnaissance of Margarita and Cubagua islands carried out in 2014, and further systematic archaeological survey that began in 2015 as part of the Nexus 1492 ERC project of Leiden University, in synergy with Venezuelan scholars and institutions, and the communities of the Guaiquerí Indians. Thus far, nine Archaic sites have been located and evaluated through surface collections and test pit excavations. This paper discusses the preliminary interpretations of settlement patterns and the subsistence economy of the Archaic Age settlers of Margarita Island within the wider geographical and historical-cultural context of the Venezuelan Caribbean.

Cite this Record

The Archaeology of the Archaic Age on Margarita Island within the Context of the Venezuelan Caribbean. Andrzej Antczak, Luis Lemoine, Ma. Magdalena Antczak. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403657)


Spatial Coverage

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