Caribbean Connections: Cultural Encounters in a New World Setting
This project focuses on intercommunity social relationships and transformations of island cultures and societies in the Lesser Antilles across the historical divide (AD 1000–1800).
This period represents an archaeologically understudied and turbulent era during which the inhabitants of the Lesser Antilles came under increasing influence from South America and the Greater Antilles, and participated in the last phase of indigenous resistance to colonial powers. The region is ideal for this research because of:
- its geographic location as a chain of small islands between the landmasses of the South American mainland and the Greater Antilles, therefore serving as a channel for interaction and exchange
- its continuous Amerindian occupation from 6000 bc until the eighteenth century
- the dynamic situation of Amerindian-European-African interactions – a lasting legacy of the colonial encounters
The primary aim was to understand the impacts of cultural encounters on Lesser Antillean indigenous Carib societies by studying transformations in settlement pattern and organisation, material culture, and network strategies across the historical divide.
The objectives of the project were to:
- understand impacts of cultural encounters on Lesser Antillean Amerindian societies and ties across the historical divide through the integration of archaeological, historical, archaeometrical and social network data. Specifically, this project addresses:
- pre-colonial and early colonial transformations in settlement pattern and organisation through archaeological investigations and critical evaluation of the late fifteenth through eighteenth century European documents
- continuity and change in material culture repertoires though technological and archaeometric analyses
- Amerindian social networks across the historical divide by the integration of archaeological, historical and archaeemetrical datasets.
- increase historical awareness and protection of heritage resources through public exposure, workshops and museum exhibitions. This has been reinforced by the involvement of Carribean experts, scholars and local communities in the research agenda.