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From foraging to incipient horticulture: The Archaic era in the coastal zone and offshore islands of northeast South America

Author(s): Arie Boomert

Year: 2016

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Summary

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 level rise, ca. 6000 cal BC the island was settled permanently by Amerindians of the Ortoiroid series for whom seafaring and navigating using large dugouts formed part of their cultural heritage. Related groups of hunter-fisher-collector populations are known from Guyana and eastern Venezuela. Starch grain analyses have shown the growing of maize and other probably domesticated food crops by these Archaic communities, the processing of which took place using lithic implements of the ‘edge-ground cobble/millingstone complex’. This was the stone toolkit which was to be introduced to the Lesser Antilles by groups of Ortoiroid voyagers about 3500/3000 cal BC. It is probably no coincidence that simultaneously the Margarita archipelago was settled for the first time by Archaic groups originating on the mainland.


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Cite this Record

From foraging to incipient horticulture: The Archaic era in the coastal zone and offshore islands of northeast South America. Arie Boomert. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403660)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America