Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Native Puerto Rico
Publication Year: 2005
Native American cultures of Puerto Rico prior to the arrival of the Spanish in 1493.
A book on the prehistory of a modern geopolitical entity is artificial. It is unlikely that prehistoric occupants recognized the same boundaries and responded to the same political forces that operated in the formation of current nations, states, or cities. Yet, archaeologists traditionally have produced such volumes and they generally represent anchors for ongoing research in a specific region, in this case the island of Puerto Rico, its immediate neighbors, and the wider Caribbean basin.
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
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A book on the prehistory and ethnohistory of a modern geopolitical entity is artificial. It is unlikely that prehistoric occupants recognized the same boundaries and responded to the same political forces that operated in the formation of current nations, states, or cities. Yet archaeologists traditionally have produced such volumes, and they generally represent anchors for ongoing research in a region for years to come. ...
1. The Crab-Shell Dichotomy Revisited: The Lithics Speak Out
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In the early 1930s, Froelich Rainey was sponsored to pursue excavations in Puerto Rico as part of the Caribbean Archaeology Program of the Peabody Museum of Yale University. As stated by the program director, Cornelius Osgood (1942:6–7), these excavations were made in an “attempt to improve the methodology of archaeology through intensive research in a particular area, as well as to resolve the Historic problems of the aboriginal populations of the West Indies.” ...
2. The Paso del Indio Site, Vega Baja, Puerto Rico: A Progress Report
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The Paso del Indio site in Vega Baja is the deepest, best-stratified site found to date in Puerto Rico, and possibly in the Caribbean. Archaeological material was found to a depth of nearly 5 m below surface. Lighter colored flood-deposited sediments separate the darker occupational layers from each other. The light-colored flood sediments make all the darker intrusive features readily evident, so the site has a wealth of clearly distinguishable post molds, ...
3. Environmental and Cultural Correlates in the West Indies: A View from Puerto Rico
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Observations made by the early Spanish chroniclers of the Greater Antilles reflect Native American societies that were hierarchically organized, with lesser chiefs providing personnel for labor and warfare to more powerful chiefs (Col�n 1947; Joyce 1916; Rouse 1948). The geographic and size distributions of the late prehistoric/protohistoric ball courts in Puerto Rico provide evidence for locally based centralized polities (Siegel 1999). ...
4. The Status of Paleoethnobiological Research on Puerto Rico and Adjacent Islands
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Recent and ongoing paleoethnobiological research concerning archaeological settlements and biotic resources on Puerto Rico and adjacent islands has begun to illuminate distinctive patterns of resource use by the various prehistoric human groups occupying the area beginning approximately 2,200 years ago. This particular subregion of the Caribbean includes Puerto Rico and the geologically related smaller islands of Culebra and Vieques, immediately to the east of Puerto Rico ...
5. Ceramic-Age Dietary Patterns in Puerto Rico: Stable Isotopes and Island Biogeography
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Diet and foodways are among the most fascinating and important aspects of culture. A defining attribute distinguishing cultural groups is based in large part on food habits. Archaeologists seek multiple lines of evidence to identify foods consumed by ancient peoples. These include animal and plant remains, artifacts, settlement patterns, and such distinctive features of the landscape as the remains of ditches, ...
6. Deconstructing the Polity: Communities and Social Landscapes of the Ceramic-Age Peoples of South Central Puerto Rico
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The regional organization and development of past societies has been and continues to be a critical component of archaeological research. Investigations at this level contribute to understanding the processes responsible for the growth of complex social systems within the context of the landscapes they occupied. For researchers focusing on the ceramic age of the Greater Antilles (between ca. 300 b.c. and a.d. 1500), regional studies are fueled by ...
7. The Proto-Taíno Monumental Cemís of Caguana: A Political-Religious “Manifesto”
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Without a doubt, Caguana is the iconographically most complex site thus far known in the Caribbean, albeit not the largest in terms of total area of public/ceremonial space (Siegel 1992, 1999). However, the rigorous study and analysis of Caguana’s rich iconographic corpus has been slow to develop (Oliver 1981), even though 87 years have elapsed since it was first excavated by J. Alden Mason in 1915 (Mason 1917, 1941). ...
8 Rivers of Stone, Rivers within Stone: Rock Art in Ancient Puerto Rico
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Puerto Rico, the easternmost of the Greater Antilles (Figure 8.1), is a large island characterized by a complex geology, including a spectacular interior karst topography honeycombed with caves and sinkholes, as well as huge boulder-strewn rivers winding from the mountainous center to the coasts. It thus has all the requisite raw materials for rock art, or arte rupestre as it is called in Spanish. Indeed, it appears in two media here: pictographs (Gonz�lez Col�n 1988), or rock paintings ...
9. The Aftermath of Conquest: The Indians of Puerto Rico during the Early Sixteenth Century
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In this chapter I will discuss what is known about the �rst decades of the sixteenth century at the onset of contact between Europeans and the Ta�nos of Puerto Rico. I will attempt to answer three basic questions: ...
10. Multiple Visions of an Island’s Past and Some Thoughts for Future Directions in Puerto Rican Prehistory
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My goals in this chapter are twofold: (1) review the salient themes addressed in the previous chapters, and (2) offer some insights into what I think connect the disparate bodies of evidence relating to environment, subsistence, settlements and polities, and religion and cosmology. In the preface, I observed that a book on the prehistory of Puerto Rico is contrived because things that were happening on this island were undoubtedly linked to affairs on neighboring islands and Central and South America. ...
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Publication Year: 2005