Logo

11050 - Historical Archaeology, Prehistoric Paradigms: Changing the Tide in the Guiana Shield, South America

The Guiana Shield, composed of five countries in South America’s northeastern corner, has distinct topographies of open grassy savannas, dense tropical zones and coastal plain estuaries. Each environment accommodated prehistoric man as well as cultures formed during the historical period. Based on archaeological evidence we know that Pre-Columbian cultures experienced metered achievements in food procurement that range from transient hunters and gatherers to sedentary communities of slash-and-burn farmers. The shift in food gathering led to an increase in social and material complexity. And much of what is understand about the formation of distinct groups of Guiana Shield’s indigenous cultures is via prehistoric paradigms based on food procurement. However, little has been discussed about the applicability of prehistoric models to the historical cultures living in Suriname’s hinterlands; most notably Maroons, descendant communities of escaped slaves formed in the late sixteen hundreds with life ways similar to their Pre-Columbian neighbors. Throughout the Circum-Caribbean the archaeology of Maroons has been explored primarily via the paradigm of historical plantation archaeology. The focus of this genre is the metered isolation from the confinement of slavery. But given the shared cultural traits, living proximity and adaptation to the Amazonian landscape a closer look is needed to determine which, if any, prehistoric models of landscape appropriation, settlement patterns and technological advancement may be used to better understand seventeenth century Maroon adaptation.

Keywords: Historical Archaeology; Pre-Columbian; South America; Guiana Shield; Maroons

Author: White, Cheryl (None, Ud States of Am / USA)

Back

University of Vienna | Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43 1 4277 17575