Archaic Age voyaging, networks and resource mobility around the Caribbean Sea


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 Ceramic Age communities, that guided the formation of early procurement and, by extension, social networks. For the northern Lesser Antilles one important node is the flint sources on Long Island (Antigua). This is well evidenced at the Plum Piece campsite in the tropical forest of Saba, which record suggest a yearly cycle of archipelagic resource mobility of which the flint sources on Long Island were a crucial part. For the southern Caribbean islands, the rich marine shell resources may have fulfilled a similar role. The Lobatus gigas heaps at Spanish Water Curaçao evidence intensive exploitation of shellfish and preparation potentially for transport to the mainland. Using computer models of reciprocal voyaging and archaeological network exploration new insights are put forward into the early formation of social networks around the Caribbean Sea.

Cite this Record

Archaic Age voyaging, networks and resource mobility around the Caribbean Sea. Corinne Hofman, Angus Mol, Emma Slayton, Menno Hoogland. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403662)


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