UCL logo

UCL Discovery

UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Starch residues on lithic artifacts from two contrasting contexts in northwestern puerto rico: Los muertos cave and vega de nelo vargas farmstead

Pagán Jiménez, JR; Oliver, JR; (2008) Starch residues on lithic artifacts from two contrasting contexts in northwestern puerto rico: Los muertos cave and vega de nelo vargas farmstead. In: Crossing The Borders: New Methods and Techniques in The Study of Archaeology Materials from The Caribbean. (pp. 137-158).

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

This chapter discusses the preliminary results derived from the analysis of 15 starch residue samples obtained from seven ground stone tools recovered from Los Muertos Cave (SR-1) and Vega de Nelo Vargas (Utu-27) sites' both located in the karst mountain region of northwestern Puerto Rico (Figure 11.1). This study provides new data that contribute to a better understanding of the nature of the agrarian economy of ancient Puerto Rico' one of the main objectives set forth in the Utuado- Caguana Archaeological Project' codirected by Oliver and Rivera Fontán (see Oliver 1998' 2005; Oliver et al. 1999). The time frame pertinent to this study is bracketed between a.d. 680 and a.d. 1450' covering Periods IIIa-b (early to late Ostiones) and IVa (Capá)' if one follows the regional chronology devised by Rouse (1992). Period IIIb (ca. a.d. 900- 1200/1300) is a momentous time' as it was when inequality and social complexity seem to have emerged in tandem with "monumental" architecture in the form of sites with multiple plaza and ball court precincts (Curet 2005:22-26' 90-91; Curet and Oliver 1998; Siegel 1999). By Period IVa (ca. a.d. 1250/1300-1500) complex polities' with varying degrees of centralization and hierarchical (and perhaps also heterarchical) organization' dominated the political scenario of ancient Puerto Rico' although not all polities in the island were necessarily subject to a paramount chief' and may have maintained a certain degree of decentralization and political autonomy (see Oliver 2003). Earle and Johnson (2000:257-258) and Earle (1991:1-15)' among others' have argued that the political economy of chiefdoms and states were financed by exercising political control over staple crops (staple finance) and/ or over material wealth of various kinds (wealth fi nance). Earle (1997:70-75) remarked that staple crops seem to play a larger role than wealth in financing chiefdoms than in states. For the historic Taíno' Moscoso (1986:414-432) compiled data from the early Spanish colonial documents that suggest that paramount caciques (chiefs) exhibited direct control over vast conucos' or plantations' cultivated principally with yuca' or manioc (Manihot esculenta)' and ajes' or sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas)' with other crops playing less important roles. Questions about the emergence of elites (caciques) and the nature of their political economy' however' are diffi cult to address given that the remains of crops from pre- Columbian archaeological contexts are few and far between despite all the recent advances (De France and Newsom 2005; Newsom and Wing 2004). The signifi cance of most of the identifi ed plant (and animal) species are still largely discussed at a coarse level of resolution (subseries and series) with the consequence that understanding what is going on at the levels of household and local community and discrete social groups remains vague. It is in this context that the foregoing starch residue analysis is an initial effort toward gaining new insights on the ancient agrarian economies of the Caribbean. The preliminary data emerging from this study suggest that the phyto- cultural dynamics of northwestern Puerto Rico do not neatly conform to the widely accepted' conventional views on the nature of the pre- Columbian agricultural economies of the Caribbean. The evidence points to different agricultural production scenarios that coexisted in the intra- And interisland contexts. © 2008 by The University of Alabama Press. All rights reserved.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Starch residues on lithic artifacts from two contrasting contexts in northwestern puerto rico: Los muertos cave and vega de nelo vargas farmstead
ISBN-13: 9780817354534
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/46791
Downloads since deposit
0Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item