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HIS294 October 2 - The Indigenous Caribbean in the Late Ceramic Age

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Melanie Newton

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HIS294 – October 2, 2012 1 Peopling and Re-peopling: Politics, Culture and Migration in the pre-Columbian Antilles  Archeologists don't agree on anything and therefore studying it is a little difficult o They do agree on certain things that therefore become complete  Concept that unifies archeologists: Caribbean's history as a series of peopling's and repeoplings o A concept created by Irving Rouse o Human settlement in the Caribbean that has always been thought of as one of migration o It raises important questions because if the history of the Caribbean is that of migration then what distinguishes 1492 and afterwards from the earlier periods?  Rouse sees modern Columbian history as a new wave of peopling o Recognizes the difference in scale and that different societies emerged but it's another peopling o Fundamentally, after 1492 was not that different from before, it was simply a different wave of people  Have to get away from the idea that all settlements and migrations will lead to conflict o Archeologists thought that conflict was inevitable but theres no evidence of that, there's evidence of cultural integration and merging but not of conflict  Rouse also argues that there was a shared world between the islands and the mainland so the people had always intergrated with each other  The lithic, archeaic and ceramic ages (according to archeologists) are important for our understanding o In different locals, eras may be named according to the different sites that materials that mark the age were found in o Ex. Saladoid is the accepted name for the Ceramic age and it's named after a site in Venezuela  Lithic and archaic ages are the first period of human settlement 6000 - 5000 BC o Emergence of the first societies in the Caribbean o From central america through the yucatan peninsula and from the amazon region o Began in Trinidad (from Amazon) and then moved up  4000 BC movement from the Yucatan Peninsula o Was thought of as the first settlements until the Banwari Trace was found in Trinidad that dates back to 6000 BC o First Cuba, then the Bahamas, then further through the peninsula o They weren't well adapted and we don't know why they took place but it's clear that there were major movements of people HIS294 – October 2, 2012 2  The lithic archaic ages are characterized by the hunter-gatherer style of life  The second period 2000 BC - 500/600 AD = Saladoid/Early Ceramic Age o People are again migrating into the Caribbean region from the Amazon o It was viewed as a colonial conquest, the people of the Amazon conquered the more peaceful people that inhabited the islands  Now there is more stress placed on the interaction between the continental and island people o Given the close proximity of the islands and the mainland it's reasonable that there was a back and forth between the two and therefore wasn't a conquest o The started to adapt to the environment and engage their society with it  Transformative effect on how they lived, production of pottery and tools that utilized local materials and the food that they captured and ate  Knowledge of the material cultures of other cultures for trade purposes  Missionary accounts claimed that a culture and society developed called the Igneri in the Lesser Antilles o The French viewed them as the true Caribbean culture o The Caribs, they believed, conquered the Igneri in the Saladoid period  Post-Saladoid/Late Ceramic o Emergence of the major civilizations encountered by the Europeans o Development of the Tainos and the Caribs separately o There is no guarantee that what we consider the Tainos and the Caribs were not necessarily 'one people' there is no way for us to know for sure  There is a greater cultural relation between the groups but they didn't necessarily see themselves that way o We don't have a guarantee that the way the Europeans and we see them is how they saw themselves o The forms of social organization that characterises Taino society had a long history  There were and still are clearly recognizable Taino societies that seems to have begun around 1000 BC with the increasing size of the Taino society  There was an emergence of a complex social system o By the time of Columbus' arrival it was clear that Hispaniola had become the centre of Taino civilization  Carib invasion thesis o According to French missionary sources and Columbus o Caniba HIS294 – October 2, 2012 3 o The Taino according to Columbus described themselves to be under attack by the Caniba  Anthropophagy - old word for cannibal o We're talking about a time period where things we understand to be biblical and mythical were believed to be real and historical so there were drawing on real experiences and Christian mythology as a way of translating the world that they encountered in the Caribbean  The effort of the Europeans to create points of reference served their own interests  The words they used to describe some people become floating terms that they use to describe any indigenous people that they encounter in the Caribbean  They are both real people in the Lesser Antilles as well as any of the indigenous people in the Caribbean that you can claim are Carib and they could therefore be grouped together and exterminated
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