Examining the Religious Dynamics of the Columbian Exchange: Islands of Belief and Conversion

Author(s): Alice Samson; Jago Cooper

Year: 2017


The major moments of cultural exchange in global accounts of encounter have happened across the oceans and therefore island communities have often been first to experience contact and shape the nature of this encounter. This is certainly the case in the Caribbean where the island Taino were the first to encounter Europeans in the New World. The archaeology of Mona Island provides insights into both the origins of indigenous Taíno identities and religious communities, and the processes of religious creolisation in colonial worlds. Recent research has revealed a well preserved indigenous subterranean landscape on Mona Island in the Caribbean. Archaeological and speleological survey in over 60 of the islands 200+ caves, and an exploratory dating programme of cave floor deposits, artefacts, and pigments, delineate a distinct horizon of late pre-Columbian and early colonial cave use spanning approximately 170 years, and continuing into the sixteenth century after the Spanish invasion. This paper will explore the role of subterranean archipelagic interactions and ensuing processes of co-conversion and which shaped religious life in the Americas.

Cite this Record

Examining the Religious Dynamics of the Columbian Exchange: Islands of Belief and Conversion. Alice Samson, Jago Cooper. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431410)



Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14673