Environmental Archaeology and the Columbian Exchange in the Caribbean

Author(s): Diane Wallman

Year: 2014


The colonization and settlement of the Americas by Europeans instigated significant demographic, economic and ecological transition in the New World. The Caribbean, in particular, experienced a radical transformation of both the natural and social landscape, involving the introduction of diverse peoples, new biota, and an emerging capitalist economic system. While prehistoric archaeological research in the Caribbean has provided considerable insight into the ecological history of the region, environmental archaeology of the Colonial Period is a relatively understudied topic. This paper reviews the existing archaeological studies of the human-environment relationship in the historic Caribbean, demonstrating the need for more research directly examining the socio-ecological impact and consequences of the Columbian Exchange in the region. I then present results from the archaeological investigation of an 18th and 19th century Martiniquan plantation to explore how we can better integrate zooarchaeological data into the broader social and ecological history of the Antilles.

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Environmental Archaeology and the Columbian Exchange in the Caribbean. Diane Wallman. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437086)

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Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-55,01