Citation

Material Information

Title:
The Maisabel Archaeological Project: A Long Term Multi-Disciplinary Investigation
Series Title:
Proceedings of the Twelfth Congress of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology
Creator:
The International Association for Caribbean Archaeology (IACA) ( Sponsor )
Peter E. Siegel ( Author, Primary )
Peter G. Roe ( Author, Primary )
Place of Publication:
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Publisher:
Cultural Resource Solutions
Copyright Date:
1991
Language:
English
Spanish

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Caribbean Area ( lcsh )
Indians of the West Indies -- Antiquities -- Congresses
West Indies -- Antiquities -- Congresses
Caribbean Area -- Antiquities -- Congresses
Antiquities
Indians of the West Indies -- Antiquities
West Indies.
Genre:
Conference papers and proceedings
Congresses

Notes

General Note:
Title from container insert. "1961 to 2005."
Statement of Responsibility:
Produced for IACA by Cultural Resource Solutions ; [Kelley Scudder, editor ; Daniel Hughes, assistant editor]

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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Resource Identifier:
191827772 ( OCLC )

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Digital Library of the Caribbean

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TH E MAISABE L ARCHAEOLOGICA L PROJECT : A LON G TER M MULTI-DISCIPLINAR Y INVESTIGATIO N Pete r E Siege l an d Pete r G Ro e Th e Maisabe l Archaeologica l Projec t i s a large-scal e multi-disciplinar y effor t designe d t o answe r severa l basi c question s i n Caribbea n prehistory T o thi s end w e hav e constructe d a n explici t researc h desig n i n orde r t o guid e ou r fieldwork dat a recognitio n techniques laborator y analyses an d th e enlistmen t o f variou s specialists I n thi s pape r w e wil l briefl y outlin e th e researc h desig n an d sho w ho w thi s ha s structure d th e archaeologica l investigatio n t o date W e hav e presente d othe r paper s a t thi s conferenc e detailin g th e samplin g pla n an d th e overal l sit e interpretatio n (Budinof f 1988 ; Ro e 1988 ; Ro e an d Siege l 1987 ; Siege l an d Bernstei n 1988) thu s w e wil l describ e her e th e fiel d an d laborator y techniques curatio n standards specialize d laborator y analyses an d discus s ho w thes e relat e t o th e researc h design i n additio n t o fulfillin g essentia l museu m obligations RESEARC H DESIG N Th e origin development an d sprea d o f earl y cerami c group s a s a cultura l phenomeno n i s a majo r issu e i n Caribbea n archaeology integra l aspect s o f whic h ar e th e role s o f stabl e vs shiftin g dietar y pattern s (Jone s 1985) horticultura l intensificatio n (Roosevel t 1980 ; Keega n 1985) settlemen t stabilit y an d organizatio n (Siege l 1988) an d th e processe s o r mechanism s o f cultura l dispersa l (Rous e 1982 1985 1986 ; Keega n 1985) Investigator s i n disparat e section s o f th e Caribbea n Basi n hav e bee n addressin g thes e issue s i n a piecemea l fashion th e combine d result s o f whic h ar e graduall y providin g u s wit h a n ever-increasingl y complet e mosai c o f earl y cerami c grou p lifeway s an d adaptiv e strategies Irvin g Rouse throug h hi s lon g an d continuin g productiv e caree r i n th e Caribbean ha s probabl y bee n th e singl e mos t influentia l archaeologis t t o generat e importan t researc h designe d t o answe r question s regardin g th e timin g an d rate s o f arriva l fo r th e earl y cerami c o r Saladoi d group s t o variou s section s o f th e Caribbean Further throug h th e constructio n o f detaile d chronologica l an d linguisti c model s Rous e ha s provide d a framewor k withi n whic h researc h ha s focuse d o n subsequen t developmen t an d chang e o f th e cultura l contex t followin g th e peoplin g o f th e Caribbea n b y th e initia l cerami c populations A s mentione d above muc h o f thi s researc h ha s focuse d o n th e intensifi catio n i n th e foo d productio n syste m relate d t o dietar y shift s throug h time A s Siege l an d Bernstei n (1988 ) argu e elsewhere i n orde r t o trul y understan d comple x processe s suc h a s horticultura l intensificatio n an d die t changes i t i s necessar y t o examin e an d reconstruc t th e organizatio n o f th e settlement s i n whic h thes e change s occurred 10 9

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11 0 TH E MAISABE L PROJEC T Siege l an d Bernstein' s (1988 ) pape r o n th e samplin g desig n offer s a n expositio n o f th e settlemen t organization Therefore w e wil l presen t a t thi s tim e a n outlin e o f ou r dat a recover y procedures artifac t processin g an d curation an d specialize d laborator y analyses DAT A RECOVER Y PROCEDURE S Give n ou r focu s o n overal l settlemen t organizatio n w e ar e necessaril y intereste d i n mor e tha n th e vertica l distributio n o f artifac t types W e wan t t o understan d th e ancien t deposit s tha t w e excavat e not a s a prehis tori c site bu t a s a functionin g settlemen t o r village whic h wa s occupie d no t b y broke n pot s but b y livin g breathin g humans Therefore i n ou r samplin g desig n w e excavate d numerou s area s i n additio n t o th e clearl y observe d cultura l mound s locate d withi n th e site Furthermore followin g th e initia l roun d o f testin g b y whic h w e delimite d th e sit e boundarie s an d coarsel y define d interna l variatio n i n th e artifac t distribution w e employe d tes t unit s larg e enoug h t o discove r features I f w e ar e inter este d i n th e behaviora l organizatio n o f a villag e the n understandin g th e distributio n an d type s o f feature s wil l ai d immeasurabl y i n th e interpre tation s Generally w e use d 2 x 2 m size d excavatio n unit s i n th e phas e 2 testin g program Artifact s ar e bagge d an d kep t distinc t b y arbitrar y 1 0 c m levels However i f soi l colo r and/o r textur e difference s ar e noticeabl e i n mor e tha n on e portio n o f a leve l the n thes e soi l difference s ar e lettere d wit h Are a designation s an d th e artifact s recovere d fro m thes e area s ar e bagge d separately At th e bas e o f eac h leve l a pla n ma p i s mad e an d a photograp h take n t o documen t soi l type s an d artifac t spatia l distri bution s Feature s an d burial s ar e excavate d a s distinc t units Ho w thes e ar e excavate d i s decide d upo n a cas e b y cas e basis Al l feature s ar e initiall y mappe d an d photographe d i n pla n perspective Usually the y wil l the n b e bisecte d fo r a profil e drawin g an d a photograph I f i t i s a larg e featur e th e remainin g hal f wil l b e excavate d i n level s wit h a pla n drawin g mad e an d a photograp h take n fo r eac h level I f i t i s a smal l featur e the n th e remainin g hal f generall y i s excavate d a s a singl e provenience A s w e discusse d earlie r on e o f ou r interest s i s i n earl y cermai c lifeway s an d adaptiv e strategies On e o f th e issue s i n Caribbea n archaeo log y i s th e degre e t o whic h differen t cultura l group s throug h tim e relie d upo n variou s foo d types Certai n kind s o f foo d reliance suc h a s corn impl y a relativel y hig h degre e o f horticultura l intensification whic h the n als o relate s t o a certai n degre e o f settlemen t stability Man y o f th e argument s i n th e Caribbea n regardin g adaptiv e strategie s hav e bee n base d simpl y upo n ethnographi c analogies informatio n gleane d fro m th e ethnohistori c accounts an d conventiona l wisdom Whil e ethno graphi c an d ethnohistori c dat a ar e importan t fo r providin g insight s an d t o som e degre e a certai n amoun t o f baselin e informatio n i t i s critica l t o b e awar e o f th e fac t tha t wha t w e observ e toda y an d wha t th e Spaniard s wer e recordin g i n th e 16t h an d 17t h centurie s coul d b e an d likel y wa s fa r differen t tha n wha t wa s presen t 200 0 an d 300 0 year s ago Thus i n a n

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SIEGE L AN D RO E 11 1 archaeologica l excavatio n I woul d argu e tha t i t i s fa r bette r t o rel y upo n direc t evidenc e o f variabl e adaptation s tha n t o emplo y th e specifi c detail s o f present-da y o r ethnohistoricall y observe d group s i n ou r assessments Th e ethnographi c contex t ma y b e use d t o provid e u s wit h insigh t int o genera l condition s an d lifeways but shoul d no t b e use d fo r reconstructin g specifi c aspect s o f th e adaptation s o r socia l forms Thes e dat a preferabl y shoul d b e retrieve d fro m th e archaeologica l record Otherwise w e ar e merel y conductin g exercise s i n armchai r speculation whic h hav e littl e mor e tha n n o value I n term s o f th e Maisabe l Archaeologica l Projec t w e ar e approachin g issue s o f adaptatio n throug h th e examinatio n o f physica l remain s recovere d i n th e excavation Th e physica l evidenc e consist s primaril y o f fauna l an d botanica l remain s i n a variet y o f recover y contexts suc h a s genera l midden features an d moun d deposits I t i s no t appropriat e t o bas e assessment s o f relativ e amount s o f fauna l an d botanica l remain s o n what i s recovere d i n th e fiel d excavatio n sifters I f on e doe s so the n a n inheren t bia s i s built int o th e interpretations whic h i s derive d fro m examinin g onl y thos e remain s tha t ar e larg e enoug h t o b e recovere d i n th e fiel d sifter s (i n ou r cas e w e use d V size d mesh) Fro m ever y recover y contex t i n th e site therefore w e tak e tw o soi l samples A recover y contex t ma y b e a 1 0 c m leve l i n a 2 x 2 m square a profil e trenc h o f a feature a leve l o f a feature etc On e soi l sampl e i s generall y abou t 1 0 1 an d thi s i s use d fo r flotation A secon d smalle r sampl e i s take n t o analyz e th e chemica l characteristic s o f th e soil a s wel l a s fo r th e investigatio n o f opa l phytolith s (thes e ar e inorgani c component s o f plan t cel l walls ; phytolith s ar e specie s specific thu s identifyin g th e phytolith s presen t i n th e sit e matrice s wil l ai d i n determinin g what plant s wer e bein g use d b y th e prehistori c occupants) W e fee l tha t i t i s mor e reliabl e t o bas e interpretation s o f prehistori c subsistenc e o n th e remain s recovere d i n th e soi l sample s tha n o n ethno graphi c analogues LABORATOR Y SPECIALIST S Currently w e hav e variou s specialist s analyzin g th e physica l remain s recovere d b y excavation Susa n deFrance a n M.A Candidat e i n th e Zoo archaeolog y Progra m a t th e Universit y o f Florid a i n Gainesvill e i s examin in g th e fauna l remain s fro m a sub-se t o f th e flotatio n samples Goal s o f th e fauna l analysi s ar e t o quantif y th e magnitud e an d directio n o f dietar y change s throug h time t o identif y majo r an d mino r resourc e zone s exploite d b y th e prehistori c occupants an d t o provid e insigh t int o th e foo d intens i ficatio n processe s tha t undoubtedl y wer e occurrin g durin g thi s stag e o f cultura l development Le e An n Newsom a Ph.D studen t a t th e sam e institu tio n i s analyzin g th e carbonize d woo d fragment s recovere d fro m a numbe r o f ou r heart h features Thi s wil l b e helpfu l fo r objectivel y reconstructin g th e paleoenvironmenta l context i n additio n t o providin g u s wit h som e insigh t int o th e aborigina l tre e procuremen t criteria Further Newso m i s examinin g th e flotatio n sample s fo r an y carbonize d seeds tubers, o r othe r plant part s tha t ma y b e present

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11 2 TH E MAISABE L PROJEC T Willia m Keegan wh o i s a n Assistan t Curato r o f Anthropolog y a t th e Florid a Stat e Museu m i n Gainesville i s conductin g a stabl e carbo n an d nitroge n isotop e analysi s o f th e huma n skeleta l remain s recovere d fro m Maisabel Th e photosyntheti c pathway s o f majo r plan t group s vary thu s impartin g distinctiv e 1 3 C/ 12 C ratio s t o th e bon e collage n o f th e consumer s o f thos e plant s (va n de r Merw e an d Voge l 1978 ; va n de r Merw e e t al 1981 ; va n de r Merw e 1982 ; Seal y an d va n de r Merw e 1986) Th e 13 C/ 1Z C rati o i s no t species-specific but i t wil l enabl e u s t o distinguis h betwee n broa d plan t group s consumed I t shoul d b e pointe d ou t tha t maiz e fall s int o on e categor y know n a s a C4 plant wherea s manio c i s a C 3 plant Further studyin g th e 15 N/ 1 % ratio s i n th e bon e collage n o f th e huma n skeleton s wil l provid e u s wit h informatio n regardin g th e relativ e dependenc e o n marin e vs terrestria l dietar y resource s (Schoeninge r e t al 1983 ; Schoen inge r an d DeNir o 1984) W e hav e 3 4 burial s representin g th e ful l rang e o f prehistori c occupation s a t th e site Th e dat a obtaine d i n th e isotop e stud y i n combinatio n wit h th e fauna l an d flora l analyse s wil l hel p i n addressin g th e issue s o f stabl e vs shiftin g dietar y pattern s an d horticul tura l intensification DAT A MANAGEMEN T AN D ARTIFAC T CURATIO N Managin g th e logistic s an d researc h o f a majo r archaeologica l excava tio n i s simila r t o runnin g a corporation Decision s nee d t o b e mad e a s t o where why an d ho w unit s ar e excavated kind s an d quantitie s o f sample s t o b e taken whe n an d wha t kind s o f specialist s ar e necessary efficien t procedure s fo r processin g larg e quantitie s o f artifact s i n a systematize d fashion th e establishmen t an d maintenanc e o f a prope r artifac t curatio n an d cataloguin g system an d finall y a n organizationa l structur e insurin g tha t th e overal l syste m operate s smoothly Fo r th e Maisabe l Archaeologica l Projec t w e hav e institute d a formalize d syste m fo r dat a recovery processing recording an d storage Archaeologi ca l fieldwor k i n general an d majo r excavation s i n particula r quickl y generat e tremendou s amount s o f material Unles s forma l an d consisten t method s ar e systematize d fo r al l stage s i n th e initia l recover y an d processin g o f information i t i s no t lon g befor e a n archaeologica l excava tio n become s a n organizationa l mess an d late r o n muc h valuabl e researc h an d analysi s tim e wil l b e waste d o n tryin g t o reconstruc t th e histor y o f event s tha t might hav e occurre d perhap s tw o fiel d season s previously Th e rational e behin d systematizin g forma l an d consisten t method s o f dat a recover y an d processin g i s tha t a t an y tim e i n th e futur e othe r researcher s shoul d b e abl e t o acces s easil y th e material s fro m th e excavation Th e artifact s recovere d i n an y give n da y o f fieldwor k shoul d b e accountabl e fro m th e momen t th e fiel d da y end s throug h al l stage s o f processin g an d analysis an d ultimatel y t o thei r storag e i n th e repository Further th e materia l fro m an y recover y contex t shoul d b e easil y accessibl e withou t havin g t o rummag e throug h endles s boxe s an d bag s o f artifacts Ther e i s nothin g mor e stultifyin g t o th e researc h proces s tha n havin g t o dea l wit h th e aftermat h o f a poorl y organize d an d manage d dat a recovery/processin g system Th e most efficien t wa y t o insur e tha t informatio n i s recovered recorded an d processe d accuratel y an d consistentl y i s throug h th e jud i

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SIEGE L AN D RO E 11 3 ciou s us e o f forms Form s devise d fo r thi s projec t cove r a variet y o f excavatio n situations th e fiel d inventory throug h th e processin g stage s t o th e fina l storag e o f materials A t thi s point w e wil l presen t a n outlin e o f ou r tabulatio n an d cata loguin g system Th e tabulatio n o f artifact s i s on e o f th e mos t importan t link s i n th e overal l researc h o f a n archaeologica l investigation Th e tabulatio n transform s th e homogeneou s mas s o f artifact s int o th e ra w data upo n whic h th e analysi s i s based Tabulatio n i s a researc h process Th e specifi c tabulatio n schem e selecte d i s a direc t outgrowt h o f th e researc h design Th e question s tha t ar e bein g aske d abou t th e sit e wil l determin e ho w th e researche r want s th e artifact s sorte d an d tallied Cataloguing o n th e othe r hand i s a n accountin g o r inventoryin g process Corneliu s Osgoo d (1979:59 ) indicate s tha t "cataloguin g i s on e o f th e tw o mos t importan t obligation s o f a museu m i n relatio n t o it s collec tions" H e define s a catalogu e syste m "a s th e combinatio n o f symbols.. use d t o identif y on e collectio n o r an y par t o f it (Osgoo d 1979:59) Th e catalogu e numbe r include s th e specime n number A specime n numbe r i s define d a s th e combinatio n o f symbol s use d t o identif y th e smalles t uni t int o whic h a collectio n i s resolved Thi s i s usuall y a singl e specimen bu t ma y b e severa l o r eve n compris e a larg e aggregat e whe n object s suc h a s potsherd s ar e catalogue d wit h a singl e number (Osgoo d 1979:59) Fo r th e Maisabe l Archaeologica l Projec t w e ar e tabulatin g an d catalogu in g th e artifact s simultaneously A s th e material s ar e sorte d int o th e variou s categories whic h hav e bee n deeme d importan t t o monito r fo r th e research the y ar e the n als o assigne d catalogu e numbers Th e catalogu e number s ar e recorde d o n Registe r Form s an d i n man y case s o n th e artifact s themselves Som e artifact s receiv e uniqu e catalogu e numbers suc h a s zone incise d an d cross-hatche d potter y fragment s o r white-on-re d painte d pottery wherea s othe r artifact s receiv e grou p catalogu e numbers Thes e woul d b e suc h artifact s a s unincise d an d unpainte d bod y sherd s tha t hav e n o secondar y adornments Afte r th e artifact s hav e bee n tabulate d an d catalogue d the y ar e the n funnele d int o on e o f man y storag e places W e ar e storin g artifact s b y th e type s define d i n th e tabulatio n system Fo r instance al l unincise d an d unpainte d bod y sherd s ar e store d togethe r i n a box separat e fro m sa y red slippe d bod y sherds Th e artifact s tha t w e refe r t o frequentl y durin g th e analysi s ar e store d i n fla t ope n tray s o n narro w shelve s s o tha t the y ar e easil y availabl e fo r examination SUMMAR Y AN D CONCLUSION S I n thi s pape r w e hav e show n ho w ou r researc h desig n ha s guide d th e fieldwor k includin g th e locatio n an d siz e o f excavatio n units kind s o f sample s taken th e selectio n o f variou s specialist s t o ai d i n th e overal l research an d th e artifac t tabulatio n an d cataloguin g system W e believ e tha t i t i s importan t fo r archaeologist s t o spel l ou t clearl y i n thei r sit e report s th e rational e an d syste m fo r artifac t recovery an d ho w thi s relate s t o th e researc h bein g conducted Further i t i s equall y indispen sabl e t o accoun t fo r th e follow-u p curatio n procedures A s w e al l know

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11 4 TH E MAISABE L PROJEC T onc e a sit e i s excavate d i t i s permanentl y destroyed I f w e d o not follo w rigorous consistent an d replicabl e standard s o f artifac t recovery recording an d curatio n the n w e ar e no t o n muc h bette r ethica l footin g tha n th e pothunter s an d dilettantes wh o a t leas t ma y clai m ignorance REFERENCE S CITE D Budinoff Lind a C 198 8 A n osteologica l analysi s o f th e huma n burial s recovere d fro m Maisabel : A n earl y cerami c sit e o n th e nort h coas t o f Puert o Rico Proceeding s o f th e Twelft h Congres s o f th e Interna tiona l Associatio n fo r Caribbea n Archaeolog y (Cayenn e 1987 ) pp 117-133 Jones Alic k R 198 5 Dietar y Chang e an d Huma n Populatio n a t India n Creek Antigua America n Antiquit y 50:518-536 Keegan Willia m F 198 5 Dynami c Horticuturalists : Populatio n Expansio n i n th e Prehistori c Bahamas Ph.D dissertation Universit y o f Californi a a t Lo s Angeles Universit y Microfilms An n Arbor. Osgood Corneliu s 197 9 Anthropolog y i n Museum s o f Canad a an d th e Unite d States Publicatio n i n Museolog y 7 Milwauke e Publi c Museum Roe Pete r G 198 8 Th e petroglyph s o f Maisabel : a stud y i n methodology Proceeding s o f th e Twelft h Congres s o f th e Internationa l Associatio n fo r Caribbea n Archaeolog y (Cayenn e 1987) pp 317-370 Roe Pete r G. an d Pete r E Siege l 198 7 Th e Centr o d e Investigacione s Indgena s d e Puert o Rico Inc. : A n Anthropologica l Researc h Center Poste r presente d a t th e 12t h Congres s o f th e Internationa l Associatio n fo r Caribbea n Archaeolog y (Cayenne) Roosevelt Ann a C 198 0 Parmana : Prehistori c Maiz e an d Manio c Subsistenc e alon g th e Amazo n an d Orinoco Academi c Press Ne w York Rouse Irvin g 198 2 Cerami c an d Religiou s Developmen t i n th e Greate r Antilles Journa l o f Ne w Worl d Archaeolog y 5(2):45-55 198 5 Arawaka n Phylogeny Caribbea n Chronology an d thei r Implica tion s fo r th e Stud y o f Populatio n Movement I n L a Esfer a d e Interacci n d e l a Cuenc a de l Orinoco : Festschrif t a Marshal l Durbin Institut o Venezolan a d e Investigacione s Cientficas Caracas

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SIEGE L AN D RO E 11 5 198 6 Migration s i n Prehistory : Inferrin g Populatio n Movemen t fro m Cultura l Remains Yal e Universit y Press Ne w Haven Sealy Judit h C an d Nikolaa s J va n de r Merw e 198 6 Isotop e assessmen t an d th e seasonal-mobilit y hypothesi s i n th e southwester n cap e o f Sout h Africa Curren t Anthropolog y 27:135-150 Siegel Pete r E. an d Davi d J Bernstei n 198 8 Samplin g fo r sit e structur e an d spatia l organizatio n i n th e Saladoid : a cas e study Proceeding s o f th e Twelft h Congres s o f th e Internationa l Associatio n fo r Caribbea n Archaeolog y (Cayenn e 1987) pp 87-10 7 va n de r Merwe Nikolaa s J 198 2 Carbo n isotopes photosynthesis an d archaeology America n Scientis t 70:596-606 va n de r Merwe Nikolaa s J. an d J C Voge l 197 8 l-' C conten t o f huma n collage n a s a measur e o f prehistori c die t i n woodlan d Nort h America Natur e 276:815-816 va n de r Merwe Nikolaa s J. Ann a C Roosevelt an d J C Voge l 198 1 Isotopi c evidenc e fo r prehistori c subsistenc e chang e a t Parmana Venezuela Natur e 292:536-538

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