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A biogeographic survey of prehistoric human diet in the West Indies using stable isotopes

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Title:
A biogeographic survey of prehistoric human diet in the West Indies using stable isotopes
Creator:
Stokes, Anne Vaughn
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English
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xix, 296 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.

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Subjects / Keywords:
Animals ( jstor )
Apatites ( jstor )
Bones ( jstor )
Caves ( jstor )
Collagens ( jstor )
Corn ( jstor )
Diet ( jstor )
Humans ( jstor )
Isotopes ( jstor )
Species ( jstor )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1998.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 257-295).
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Anne Vaughn Stokes.

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A BIOGEOGRAPHIC SURVEY OF PREHISTORIC HUMAN DIET IN THE WEST
INDIES USING STABLE ISOTOPES














By


ANNE VAUGHN STOKES















A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

1998

































Copyright 1998

By

Anne V. Stokes

































To Mom for not laughing when I said I wanted to be an archaeologist
Dad, the other Dr. Stokes
And Dave, the other Dr. Steadman













ACKNOWLEDGMENTS




The staff at Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc. (SEARCH) have my

greatest appreciation for helping me through the writing of this dissertation. Foremost is

James Pochurek, best business partner and best friend, who always looks out for me both

in business and in life. Bob Austin proved to be indispensable over the last year. He

brought in a ton of work to SEARCH and then had to do it all himself while I sat home

and wrote. Bob also was my statistics mentor who gave me advice on which types of

statistics to run on my data and taught me how to use the software. Matt Allen, Kimberly

Martin and Jon Endonino were also a great help; Matt for running to the library whenever

I needed an article and for completing the maps, Kimberly for talking me through the

tough times and teaching me about formatting, and Jon for helping to enter the literature

citations.

Numerous archaeologists provided human bone samples for this study. After I

gave a talk on isotopes at a Caribbean Congress meeting, Menno Hoogland immediately

offered to provide bones for the study. Menno and his wife Corinne Hofman (both

archaeologists at Leiden University), have conducted first rate excavations on several

West Indian islands. They were very kind to send human bone samples from Spring Bay

1 and Kelbey's Ridge 2, Saba and Anse A la Gourde, Guadeloupe. They also introduced

me to Maaike de Waal, a graduate student at Leiden University who provided the bones



iv








from Petite Riviere and was very patient, waiting for the results, while I finished this

study. Peter Siegel excavated the large village site of Maisabel, in Puerto Rico. Peter put

me in touch with Mike Roca of Centro de Investigaciones Indigenas de Puerto Rico.

Mike allowed me to visit the repository for the Maisabel artifacts and chose the skeletal

samples for this study. Osvaldo Garcia Goyco, Adalberto Mauras and Edwin Crespo

provided the samples from Paso del Indio and were kind enough to invite me to the site

(and pay for the trip) so that I could see the excavation in progress. During fieldwork in

the Dominican Republic, I was fortunate enough to meet Fernando Luna Calderon and

Glenis Tavares. Fernando provided the material from Juan Dolio and Boca del Soco and

he and Glenis spent their free time taking me to visit sites in the D.R. Once the word got

out that I was looking for skeletal material, other archaeologists were kind enough to

send me samples. Dave Watters and Jim Petersen sent samples from Anguilla, Jay

Haviser sent samples from St. Martin, and Dave Davis sent samples from La Tortue.

Finally, Bill Keegan, my friend and mentor, arranged through Leopold J. Pospisil and

Irving Rouse of the Peabody Museum at Yale University, for me to have samples from

Rainey's 1934 excavations in the Bahamas. This study was supported by a grant from

the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Incorporated, Grant number

6001.

I would also like to thank other friends and colleagues who helped me with this

study in various ways. Elizabeth Wing and Betsy Carlson provided faunal samples from

zooarchaeological collections. Brian Riggs, Manager of the Turks and Caicos National

Museum, asked local fishermen to bring him one sample of each species of fish. All of

the fish analyzed in this study, many of the other marine animals and the corn were



V








collected by Brian over a two year period. Brian was helped by numerous people in the

Turks and Caicos whose names I do not know but would like to thank anyway. George

Burgess of the Florida Museum of Natural History identified most of the fish I brought

back from the islands, even when I had only a head. Kurt Auffenberg identified most of

the mollusks. Dave Steadman helped me collect the land crab samples and he provided

the bird specimens through Mrs. Sandy Buckner, Director of the Bahamas National Trust.

The samples were run in two isotope labs. Most of the samples were run by Dr. Jason

Curtis, in the lab of Dr. Dave Hodell in the Department of Geology, University of

Florida. The remaining samples were run by Matt Emmons of Mountain Mass

Spectrometry, Inc. I would like to thank both Jason and Matt for getting the results to me

in time to finish my dissertation this semester.

My committee was a great help in guiding this research. Dr. Norr spent one

afternoon a week for the semester before my qualiflying exams going over theoretical

issues in stable isotopes. I greatly appreciate her time and all the lunches she bought me.

She also taught me the preparation technique for bone collagen and carbonate. Dr.

Elizabeth Wing taught me faunal analysis and always answered my questions about

resource use and animal habitats. Dr. Larry Harris provided theoretical focus and always

managed to make me think about an issue I hadn't considered before or consider an issue

from a different perspective. Dr. Mike Moseley helped me get accepted to graduate

school and has been a mentor ever since undergraduate days. Most of all, though, I

would like to thank Dr. Bill Keegan who has been a friend over the years. He believed in

me even when as a potential graduate student I told him that I wanted to do West Indian

archaeology because I liked beaches.



vi








Numerous friends and family members were also important to this research. The

Patterson family, John, Josephine, Virginia, Vera, Sarah, Bessie and now Richard,

encouraged me to go into archaeology even when others thought I was crazy. Susan

Anton, Betsy Carlson, James Pochurek, Bob Austin, Al Woods, Valerie Burke DeLeon,

Chris Clement, Maureen Vicaria, Dave Wood, Ann Cordell, Kimberly Martin, Scott and

Susan Mitchell, Matt Allen, Kathy Deagan, and Lee Ann Newsom are friends and

colleagues who supported this research and supported me. Scott Mitchell also drew the

individual island maps and Matt Allen put them into Photoshop. Dave Wood, computer

genius, was on-call any time day or night for the last few months to fix any hardware or

software problems that I managed to create.

I would especially like to thank my family who stood by me for all the years it

took to complete this degree. My dad financially supported me through most of graduate

school and even participated in two field projects in the West Indies. My mom is the

perfect mom who believes that whatever her children do is just wonderful. She provided

encouragement throughout graduate school. Thanks go to my brothers, Jay and John,

who supported me even though they were sure that a degree in archaeology would mean

a lifetime of supporting me financially. Most of all, though, I would like to thank Dave

Steadman who somehow put up with me for the year it took to write this dissertation.

Dave read every word of this dissertation several times and made some valuable

suggestions as to how to improve the text. But most important, Dave made me laugh

when I was frustrated and reminded me of why I was doing this. Now we can get on to

more important parts of our life.





vii














TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ......................................................................................... iv

LIST O F TA B LES....................................................................................................... xi

LIST O F FIG U R ES .........................................................................................................xiii

ABSTRA CT............................................................................................................. xviii

1 IN TRODU CTION .................................................................................................... 1

Organization of the Dissertation ................................................................................. 4
Focus of the R esearch ............................................................................................ 6

2 PHYSICAL AND BIOLOGICAL BACKGROUND AND THEORETICAL
FRA M EW O RK .................................................................................................... 9

Geography and Geology......................................................................................... 9
Modem and Paleoclimate..................................................... 14
Flora of the W est Indies ............................................................................................. 18
Prehistoric Use of Plants .............................................................. .................... 21
Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna of the West Indies ............................................ ........... 25
Marine Animal Resources.................................................................... .......... .... 35
What Did the Prehistoric West Indians Eat?........................................... .......... ... 38
Island Biogeography ............................................................................................ 41

3 PREHISTORY OF THE WEST INDIES............................................... ............ 50

Aceramic Period (4000 B.C. to 400 B.C.) ................................................... ........... ... 51
Lithic Period (Casimiran Casimiroid 4000 B.C. to 2000 B.C.).......................... 52
Archaic Period (Casimiroid 2000 B.C. to 400 B.C.;
Ortoiroid 2500 B.C. to 400 B.C)............................................................... 54
Ceramic Period (400 B.C.to A.D. 1500).................................................................. 57
Early Ceramic Period/Saladoid Period ............................................. ........... 57
Early Ceramic Migration ................................................................................ 58
H uecan Saladoid .............................................................................................. 59
Saladoid Social and Economic Organization................................... ............ 60
Saladoid Material Culture ..................................................... ......................... 61
Saladoid/Ostionoid Transition ...................................... .................................. 62



viii








Post-Saladoid in the Lesser Antilles .......................................... .............. ........ .... 63
Island Carib....................................................................................................... 65
Tainos...................................................................................................................... 66
Baham as and the Turks and Caicos ................................................. ....... ..... 69
Taino M aterial Culture...................................................................................... 70
Taino Social Organization ...................................................... ........................ 72
Contact Period................................................................................................... 73

4 HUMAN SKELETAL SAMPLES AND THEIR CONTEXT................................... 78

H ispaniola............................................................................................................. 78
Boca del Soco ................................................................................................... 80
Juan D olio ............................................................................................................... 81
La Tortue .................................................................................................................... 82
M anigat Cave Site............................................................................................. 82
Puerto Rico................................. ..... ........................................................................... 85
M aisabel Site..................................................................................................... 86
Paso del Indio.................................................................................................... 89
The Baham as ........................................................................................................ 90
Abaco ................................................................................................................ 92
Eleuthera ........................................................................................................... 93
Long Island ............................................................................................................. 96
Rum Cay ........................................................................................................... 98
Crooked Island .................................................................................................. 98
Anguilla.................................................................................................................... 101
M aunday's Bay Site .............................................................................................. 102
Rendezvous Bay Site ............................................................................................ 103
Sandy H ill Site ...................................................................................................... 104
H ope Estate, St. M artin ............................................................................................ 105
Saba .......................................................................................................................... 108
Spring Bay 1 Site .................................................................................................. 110
K elbey's Ridge 2 Site ........................................................................................... 113
Petite Rivibre, La D dsirade................................................................................. 114
Anse A la Gourde, Guadeloupe................................................................................. 117

5 STA BLE ISOTOPE AN A LY SIS .............................................................................. 120

H istory of Isotope Analysis...................................................................................... 122
Carbon and N itrogen Isotopes.................................................................................. 124
V ariations in Carbon and N itrogen 8 V alues ........................................................... 127
The Debate Between the Use of Bone Collagen or Apatite for Dietary
Reconstruction .................................................................................................... 129
Post-m ortem Bone Change....................................................................................... 136
Issues A ddressed U sing Stable Isotopes .................................................................. 139
Previous Isotopic Studies in the W est Indies ......................................................... 141





ix








6 SAMPLES FOR STABLE ISOTOPE ANALYSIS RATIONALE AND
PREPA RA TION .................................................................................................... 145

Extraction of Bone Collagen.................................................................................... 146
Preparation of Bone Apatite Carbonate ................................................................. 149
A djustm ents for D ietary Interpretation .................................................................. 150

7 RESU LTS ............................................................................................................. 153

H ispaniola........ .................................................................................................... 173
Juan D olio ............................................................................................................. 173
Boca del Soco ....................................................................................................... 176
M anigat Cave, Isle de la Tortue .............................................................................. 180
Puerto Rico......................................................................................................... 184
Paso del Indio........................................................................................................ 185
M aisabel................................................................................................................ 188
Baham as ............................................................................................................. 192
Anguilla.............................................................................................................. 195
St. M artin............................................................................................................ 199
Saba .......................................................................................................................... 202
Petite Riviere, La D 6sirade................................................................................. 206
Anse A la Gourde, Guadeloupe....................................... .................................... 209
Inter-Island D ietary Com parisons ............................................................................ 212

8 D ISCU SSION ....................................................................................................... 218

Correlation of Stable Isotope Data with Zooarchaeological Data.......................... 218
Isotope Values as Indicators of C4 Plant Use......................................... 222
Comparison of My Results with Those from Previous Isotope Studies ........... 224
Biogeographic V ariables .................................................................................... 231
Island Size....................................................................................................... 232
Island Geology ...................................................................................................... 235
Island Isolation................................................................................................ 237
Archaeological Site Location...... ......................................................................... 240
Cultural V ariables That M ay A ffect D iet................................................................. 242

9 CON CLU SION S................................................................................................... 249

APPENDIX ISOTOPE VALUES OUTSIDE THE ACCEPTABLE RANGES........... 256

LIST OF REFEREN CES ................................................................................................ 257

BIOGRA PH ICA L SK ETCH .................................................................................... 296







x













LIST OF TABLES

Table page


1. Corrected and calibrated radiocarbon dates on human bone from Manigat
C ave, L a T ortue. ................................................................................................... 84

2. Burial information on the skeletal material excavated from Maisabel that
was submitted for stable isotope analysis ..................................... ............ .. 87

3. Corrected and calibrated radiocarbon dates from Bahamian skeletons............... 100

4. Burial information on the skeletal material excavated from Spring Bay 1
and Kelbey's Ridge 2 that was submitted for stable isotope analysis............ 112

5. Burial information on the skeletal material excavated from the Petite
Rivibre site, La D6sirade that was submitted for stable isotope analysis........... 116

6. Summary of results of the study in which rats were fed diets with
controlled amounts of protein and energy from either a C3 or C4
pathway (from Ambrose and Norr 1993).......................................................... 133

7. Proposed values for apatite to collagen spacing in the four major dietary
types defined by Ambrose and Norr (1993). Information on apatite to
collagen spacing and sample diet for mainland environments is from
Norr (in press). In the last column, I have suggested a sample diet of
the West Indies that would yield comparable apatite to collagen spacing......... 134

8. Isotope data for skeletal material from the West Indies...................................... 154

9. 813C and 15N collagen values of prehistoric animal bones recovered from
archaeological sites in the W est Indies............................................................. 160

10. 813C and 85N values of the edible portions of plants potentially included
in the diet of the prehistoric West Indians ........................................................ 163

11. 813C and 85N values of the edible portions of terrestrial and marine
animals potentially included in the diet of the prehistoric West Indians........... 164

12. 813C and 8"N data for skeletal samples from Manigat Cave, La Tortue ........... 182




xi








13. Comparison of 813C and ~'5N values of bone collagen from my study
and that of Keegan (1985) and Keegan and DeNiro (1988)............................. 225

14. Summary of C:N ratios, 613C values and 815N values of skeletal material
from the Maisabel site in Puerto Rico, and the Spring Bay 1 and
Kelbey's Ridge 2 sites in Saba. Van Klinken's values are not adjusted
for any diet to collagen fractionation. My 813C values are not adjusted
but I have added 2.5%o to the 815N values to account for fractionation........... 229

15. Statistical difference (two-tailed t-test) between the source of carbon and
nitrogen in the diet of people living on large islands vs. small islands ........... 234

16. Statistical difference (two-tailed t-test) between the source of carbon and
nitrogen in the diet of people living on limestone vs. volcanic islands ........... 235

17. Measure of island isolation from two potential donor areas, the nearest
continent and the nearest Greater Antillean island........................................... 238

18. Statistical difference (two-tailed t-test) between the source of carbon and
nitrogen in the diet of people living at inland vs. coastal sites ......................... 242

19. Statistical difference (two-tailed t-test) between the source of carbon and
nitrogen in the diet of Saladoid vs. Ostionoid groups....................................... 245




























xii














LIST OF FIGURES

Figure page

1. M ap of the W est Indies ..................................................................................... 10

2. Hispaniola and La Tortue showing archaeological sites mentioned
in the text. ........................................................................................................ 80

3. Puerto Rico showing archaeological sites mentioned in the text........................ 86

4. Abaco showing location of the Imperial Lighthouse Cave ................................. 93

5. Eleuthera showing archaeological sites mentioned in the text............................ 95

6. Long Island showing location of Clarence Town cave ......................................... 97

7. Rum Cay showing location of the unnamed cave discussed in the text.................. 98

8. Crooked Island showing archaeological sites mentioned in the text................... 99

9. Anguilla showing archeological sites mentioned in the text............................... 102

10. St. Martin showing location of the Hope Estate site........................................... 106

11. Saba showing archaeological sites mentioned in the text................................... 109

12. La D6sirade and Guadeloupe showing archaeological sites
m entioned in the text ..................................................................................... 115

13. Isotopic values of food items potentially in the diet of prehistoric
W est Indians.................................................................................................. 170

14. General ranges of the isotopic values of potential food items in the diet............ 171

15. 815N versus 613C values for human bone collagen, Juan Dolio site,
H ispaniola. ..................................................................................................... 173

16. 8S5N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human
bone apatite, Juan Dolio site, Hispaniola.......................................................... 174

17. Mean 613C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, Juan Dolio site, Hispaniola................................................................... 175



xiii








18. Apatite to collagen spacing '15N versus 813C for human bone from
the Juan Dolio site, Hispaniola, compared to dietary values proposed
by Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995) ................................. 176

19. 865N versus 813C values for human bone collagen, Boca del Soco site,
H ispaniola. .................................................................................................... 177

20. 515N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human
bone apatite, Boca del Soco site, Hispaniola.................................................... 177

21. Mean 513C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, Boca del Soco, Hispaniola ................................................................... 178

22. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 813C for human bone from the
Boca del Soco site, Hispaniola, compared to dietary values proposed
by Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995) ................................. 179

23. 815N versus 513C values for human bone collagen, Manigat Cave,
La Tortue...................................................................................................... 180

24. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 613C values from human
bone apatite, Manigat Cave, La Tortue............................................................. 181

25. Mean 613C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, Juan Dolio site, Hispaniola..................................................................... 182

26. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 813C for human bone from the
Manigat Cave site, La Tortue, compared to dietary values proposed
by Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995). ................................ 183

27. 815N versus 613C values for human bone collagen, Paso del Indio,
Puerto R ico................................................................................................... 185

28. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 613C values from human
bone apatite, Paso del Indio, Puerto Rico......................................................... 186

29. Mean 613C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, Paso del Indio, Puerto Rico.................................................................. 186

30. Apatite to collagen spacing S15N versus 513C for human bone from the
Paso del Indio, compared to dietary values proposed by Ambrose and
Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995)............................................................. 187

31. 615N versus 813C values for human bone collagen, Maisabel, Puerto Rico. ........ 189

32. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 613C values from human
bone apatite, M aisabel, Puerto Rico. ................................................................ 189



xiv








33. Mean 813C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, M aisabel, Puerto Rico. ......................................................................... 190

34. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 813C for human bone from the
Maisabel site, Puerto Rico, compared to dietary values proposed by
Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995) ...................................... 191

35. 681N versus 813C values for human bone collagen from sites on five
islands in the Baham as........................................................................................ 192

36. 615N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human
bone apatite, Baham ian sites............................................................................... 193

37. Mean 513C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, B aham ian sites........................................................................................ 194

38. Apatite to collagen spacing '15N versus 613C for human bone from the
Bahamian sites compared to dietary values proposed by Ambrose and
Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995)............................................................. 194

39. 815N versus 813C values for human bone collagen from three
archaeological sites on Anguilla ....................................................................... 196

40. 615N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human
bone apatite from three sites on Anguilla ......................................................... 197

41. Mean 513C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, from three archaeological sites on Anguilla......................................... 197

42. Apatite to collagen spacing 615N versus 513C for human bone from
three sites on Anguilla compared to dietary values proposed by
Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995) ...................................... 198

43. 815N versus 813C values for human bone collagen, Hope Estate, St. Martin........ 200

44. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 513C values from human
bone apatite, Hope Estate, St. Martin. .............................................................. 200

45. Mean 813C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, Hope Estate, St. M artin ........................................................................ 201

46. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 813C for human bone from
the Hope Estate site, St. Martin, compared to dietary values proposed
by Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995) ................................. 202

47. 615N versus 613C values for human bone collagen, Kelbey's Ridge 2
and Spring Bay 1, Saba....................................................................................... 203



xv








48. 8'5N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human
bone apatite, Kelbey's Ridge 2 and Spring Bay 1, Saba .................................. 204

49. Mean 813C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, Kelbey's Ridge 2 and Spring Bay 1, Saba........................................... 204

50. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 813C for human bone from the
Kelbey's Ridge 2 and Spring Bay 1 sites, Saba compared to dietary
values proposed by Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995)......... 205

51. 815N versus 813C values for human bone collagen, Petite Riviere,
La D sirade. .................................................................................................. 206

52. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 613C values from human
bone apatite, Petite Rivi6re, La D6sirade.......................................................... 207

53. Mean 813C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, Petite Rivi6re, La D6sirade....................................................................... 208

54. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 813C for human bone from
the Petite Riviere site, La D6sirade, compared to dietary values
proposed by Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995).................. 209

55. 815N versus 813C values for human bone collagen, Anse A la Goude,
Guadeloupe. .................................................................................................. 210

56. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 613C values from human
bone apatite, Anse A la Gourde, Guadeloupe.................................................... 210

57. Mean 813C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, Anse A la Gourde, Guadeloupe............................................................. 211

58. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 813C for human bone from the
Anse A la Gourde site, Guadeloupe, compared to dietary values
proposed by Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995).................. 212

59. Mean 815N versus mean 813C collagen values indicating the source of
the protein in the diet from all sites sampled.................................................... 214

60. Mean 8'5N collagen values versus mean 813C apatite values indicating
the source of the protein and energy (whole diet) from all sites sampled ......... 216

61. 813C and 8'5N values of human bone collagen illustrating the source
of protein in the diet of peoples living on large islands vs. small islands........... 233

62. 813C values of human bone apatite vs. 815N values of human bone
collagen illustrating the source of the whole diet of peoples living on
large islands vs. sm all islands. ............................................................................ 234


xvi









63. 813C and 815N values of human bone collagen illustrating the source of
protein in the diet of peoples living on limestone islands vs. volcanic
islands. ........................................................................................................... 236

64. 813C values of human bone apatite vs. 815N values of human bone
collagen illustrating the source of the whole diet of peoples living on
limestone islands vs. volcanic islands................................................................. 237

65. Relationship between the source of protein in the diet and the degree
of isolation from a continental source area....................................................... 239

66. Relationship between the source of protein in the diet and the degree
of isolation from a Greater Antillean source area............................................. 240

67. 813C and 815N values of human bone collagen illustrating the source
of protein in the diet of peoples living at coastal sites vs. inland sites. ............. 241

68. 813C values of human bone apatite vs. 8'5N values of human bone
collagen illustrating the source of the whole diet of peoples living at
coastal sites vs. inland sites................................................................................. 242

69. 813C and 815N values of human bone collagen of Saladoid,
Saladoid/Ostionoid transitional and Ostionoid peoples.................................... 244

70. 813C and 8'5N values of human bone collagen of Lesser Antillean
Saladoid, Greater Antillean Saladoid Greater Antillean
Saladoid/Ostionoid transitional, Lesser Antillean post-Saladoid and
Greater Antillean Ostionoid peoples................................................................. 246

71. 813C values of human bone collagen and 815N values of human
bone apatite of Saladoid, Saladoid/Ostionoid transitional,
post-Saladoid and Ostionoid peoples................................................................ 248


















xvii













Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

A BIOGEOGRAPHIC SURVEY OF PREHISTORIC HUMAN DIET IN THE WEST
INDIES USING STABLE ISOTOPES

By

Anne V. Stokes

December 1998

Chairman: William F. Keegan
Major Department: Anthropology

In order to reconstruct the diets of traditional island peoples, I analyzed the stable

isotope signatures of carbon (13C) and nitrogen (815N) from bone collagen and bone

apatite carbonate in 102 prehistoric skeletons from the West Indies. These samples

represent 18 archaeological sites on 13 different islands. I also analyzed the same stable

isotopes in numerous samples of plants and animals, both marine and terrestrial, that

potentially were consumed by prehistoric West Indians. My results show that peoples of

the Saladoid period (ca. 400 B.C. to A.D. 600) and of the Ostionoid/Post-Saladoid period

(A.D. 600 to 1500) had fundamentally similar diets that included roughly comparable

components of marine and terrestrial foods. The main differences in prehistoric diets

among sites can be summarized as follows: peoples on larger, less isolated, more

biotically and geologically diverse islands had a larger terrestrial component in their diets

than those peoples living on smaller, more isolated islands with less complex biotas and

geomorphologies. These differences are related to variables in the intrinsic physical and


XVIii








biological properties of individual islands. These variables are accommodated within the

theoretical framework of island biogeography. For example, if one considers the large

islands of the Greater Antilles as reference points (source areas) for other smaller and/or

more isolated islands (Bahamas, Lesser Antilles), the larger, less isolated islands

provided richer, more reliable sources of terrestrial foods than the smaller, more isolated

islands where marine foods dominated prehistoric diets. Similarly, low, limestone islands

provided early West Indian peoples with a relatively depauperate terrestrial fauna to

exploit, as well as marginal soil quality for agriculture. Larger, higher islands, typically

volcanic and/or metamorphic in origin, provided better soils as well as more diverse

faunas that enhanced the terrestrial component of prehistoric diets. The data from stable

isotopes may or may not agree with those from zooarchaeology in reconstructing

prehistoric diets. A comprehensive approach that considers carefully collected

information from stable isotopes, zooarchaeology, and plant macrofossils is

recommended as the best overall approach to estimating the diet of prehistoric peoples.

Among these three types of data, stable isotope analysis is shown to yield internally

consistent results that are very useful for inter-site and inter-island comparisons.


















xix













CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION




Nothing is more essential to an organism than nutrition. The diet that any human

population consumes is based on a multitude of factors. Food choice may be affected by

cultural factors such as tradition, technology, taboos, introduction of new species, contact

with a population exploiting different resources, or differential access to foods based on

sex or status. Ultimately, though, food options are determined by what resources are

naturally available or can be successfully introduced to an area.

The nature of prehistoric West Indian diets, and how those diets changed both

temporally and spatially across the archipelago, has been explored previously using

zooarchaeology and archaeobotany. Zooarchaeological nutritional assays can be biased

because not all foods consumed by a population are represented in the archaeological

record. There may be preservational biases among different classes of foods (various

plants, animal bones and mollusk shells) deposited in a midden. Also, some large

animals that may have been significant contributors to the diet may have been butchered

off site with only the edible portions of the animal returned to the settlement (such as sea

turtles or conch). These factors often combine to make it difficult to estimate the biomass

contributed to the diet by each menu item. Plant remains have rarely been recovered

from West Indian archaeological sites because of natural factors (poor preservation) and

human factors (archaeologists using inappropriate recovery techniques).


1








For years, archaeologists studying the prehistoric cultures of the West Indies

concentrated on the massive amount of mollusk shells deposited in the sites. In fact, the

presence of mollusk shells is one of the key indicators used to locate prehistoric sites

throughout the islands. These shell deposits jaded early researchers in the West Indies

into believing that the earliest prehistoric groups in the West Indies subsisted primarily

on landcrabs and that later groups mainly consumed mollusks, pariticularly conchs, top

shells, nerites, chitons and various bivalves. Explanations for why these diets changed

through time included cultural change (immigration of a new population), environmental

(climatic) change, and economic factors (overexploitation of resources).

In this study, I will take an independent look at the diet of prehistoric West

Indians using stable isotope analysis of human remains excavated from archaeological

sites. Stable isotope analysis is a technique used to reconstruct prehistoric diet by

comparing the isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen in human bone with the isotopic

ratios of carbon and nitrogen in potential food resources. Plants incorporate carbon into

their tissues using one of three pathways that I will explain in detail later in this

dissertation. Animals that then feed on the plants will have an isotopic signature for

carbon similar to that of its food plants. The isotopic signature of nitrogen changes as a

function of how high on the food chain a species feeds (called a trophic level effect). To

interpret the diet of prehistoric humans, the collagen and apatite carbonate are isolated

from a human bone in order to measure the ratios of the stable isotopes of carbon and

nitrogen, and then those values are compared to the potential food sources. Using

isotopic signatures of carbon and nitrogen from collagen and carbon from the apatite, it is

possible to make generalizations about whether individuals were consuming energy





3


sources such as C3 plant tubers, legumes, and fruits versus plants that use other metabolic

pathways (C4) such as maize, and whether terrestrial animals or marine animals provided

the majority of the protein in the diet.

Several previous studies of stable isotopes have been carried out on prehistoric

West Indian populations (Keegan 1985, Keegan and DeNiro 1988, van Klinken 1991,

Norr, in press). In most of these studies (Keegan 1985, Keegan and DeNiro 1988, van

Klinken 1991) only the collagen was analyzed and therefore inferences about diet were

necessarily limited. All of the previous studies were restricted geographically,

chronologically, and in sample size.

For this study, I performed stable isotope analysis on 102 skeletons from 18

archaeological sites in the West Indies. These sites are located on 13 islands and were

occupied during the Saladoid and Ostionoid periods. The first two periods of

colonization in the West Indies, the Lithic and Archaic periods, are not represented

because of a lack of suitable human skeletal material. Very few preceramic sites have

yielded human skeletons. I did attempt to extract collagen and apatite carbonate from the

bones of four individuals from the Cueva Roja Lithic period site in Hispaniola, but the

collagen was degraded and did not meet the criteria for acceptable samples. The skeletal

material analyzed in this study does provide an excellent overview of the diet of

prehistoric peoples over the past two millennia. By using samples from a number of

islands that vary in size, geology, and isolation from potential biotic source areas, I will

make inter-island comparisons of prehistoric diet using a framework based on

biogeography. Biogeographic theory will allow me to determine the extent that cultural

or non-cultural factors control diet choices.





4





Organization of the Dissertation


In order to set the stage for the reader, I will review in Chapter 2 the physical and

biological background of the West Indies and present an overview of island biogeography

theory that serves as a framework for my study. An understanding of the geology of the

West Indies is important because it informs us about the tectonic processes that have

created and moved the islands over millions of years. The physical characteristics of the

islands and their time above sea level affect colonization by plant and animal species.

The paleontological and zooarchaeological record is reviewed next so that the reader will

understand which animals were present during the prehistoric period, which may have

gone extinct quickly through human colonization, and which animals may have been

introduced to specific islands by the Amerindians. I then will discuss the

archaeobotanical evidence of maize and other plants recovered from archaeological sites.

The introduction of maize into a cultural group may either allow for growth in population

or be a result of growth in population. Either way, an understanding of the timing of the

introduction of maize into a horticultural population can shed light on cultural and

technological change. After reviewing previous theories concerning West Indian diet, I

will discuss some of the main points of the theory of island biogeography and how

biogeographic factors such as island size, island type (limestone or volcanic), and

isolation can affect human diet.

Chapter 3 will review the prehistory of the West Indies from the Lithic period

until European contact. Although I had no bone samples from the Lithic or Archaic





5


periods, the impact that these populations had on the flora and fauna of the West Indies

affects our interpretation of the possible diet items. There is much uncertainty about

many aspects of West Indian prehistory. The ceramic typology is subject to frequent

revision. Fortunately, more archaeologists are obtaining radiocarbon dates (usually

corrected and calibrated) from their sites. This should help to answer fundamental

chronological questions, such as whether zoned-incised-crosshatched pottery preceded or

was contemporaneous with white-on-red painted pottery, or when people first arrived on

an island, or when certain species of reptiles, birds, or mammals became extinct.

With the (somewhat confusing) prehistory of the West Indies still fresh in mind, I

will describe in Chapter 4 the sites from which I have human skeletal samples. The sites

were excavated between 1934 and 1996 by many different archaeologists. Therefore, the

field methods, site descriptions and analysis of associated artifacts will vary considerably.

Chapter 5 is devoted to a review of stable isotope theory. The concepts and

techniques of reconstructing prehistoric diet from bone collagen and apatite have existed

for nearly two decades but are constantly being refined. First, I will discuss how

scientists came to realize that stable isotope ratios could be used to reconstruct human

diet. Then I will describe how carbon and nitrogen enter foodwebs and are represented in

plants and animals. After addressing the debate between the use of bone collagen or bone

apatite for diet reconstruction, I will review diagenesis and the methods used to test the

integrity of the collagen and apatite. In Chapter 6, I will explain the methods used to

extract and purify bone collagen and apatite, as well as the methods for diet interpretation

based on isotopic data.








The results of my isotope analyses are presented in Chapter 7. For each site, I

will discuss the source of protein as evidenced by the collagen, the source of the whole

diet as evidenced by the apatite, and how the spacing between the carbon values of bone

apatite and collagen provide further evidence as to the source of protein and energy and

whether tropical grasses, such as maize are suggested. Then I will examine the data

using biogeographic and cultural variables. Do island size, island geology, site location,

or distance from a donor source have any effect on the source of protein in the diet (either

marine or terrestrial) or the source of the whole diet? Is there any evidence that cultural

variables, such as the cultural group and time period (Saladoid vs. Ostionoid), affect diet?

In Chapter 8 I will interpret and discuss the major findings of the study stressing inter-

island comparisons within a biogeographic framework. In Chapter 9, I will conclude by

summarizing the key features of my study relating to the original research questions.




Focus of the Research


Previous studies of diet in the West Indies have proposed two possible factors as

underlying observed temporal change in the diet. The first explanation is that the diet

changed as the culture changed (Rainey 1940; Rouse 1992), irrespective of whether

cultural change was due to new immigration, conflict with opposing populations, or

technological change (Rainet 1940; Rouse 1992; Siegel 1989). The second possible

factor determining dietary change was environmental, including resource abundance and

overexploitation (Carbone 1980; Jones 1985; Keegan 1985). In general, Amerindians

were believed either to have been eating terrestrial diets to reproduce their mainland





7


subsistence (Roe 1989; Wing 1989), or to have been preadapted to the exploitation of

marine resources (deFrance 1988; Siegel 1991a). I hypothesize that the protein portion of

prehistoric West Indian diet is influenced more by biogeographic variables than cultural

variables. Inhabitants of large and high islands with diverse terrestrial faunas will have a

diet more focused on terrestrial protein than people living on small or low (limestone)

islands that support fewer terrestrial species. I also expect to see a diet more dependent

upon marine resources the farther away an island is from areas with rich terrestrial

faunas. The whole diets (protein and energy) will be more homogeneous across the

biogeographic boundaries because the prehistoric West Indians in my data set were

horticulturalists who introduced many cultigens into the archipelago.

The specific research questions I will be addressing are as follows:

1. Are changes in diet between the Saladoid and Ostionoid periods evident from

the isotope data?

2. Do the data generated by zooarchaeological analyses agree with the results of

the stable isotope analysis of human bones either from the same site or generally from the

same time period?

3. Do the isotope data yield evidence for the use of maize or other C4 plants?

4. To what extent do the isotope data reflect the physical and biological

environment in which the people were living?

5. Assuming that isotope data accurately reflect diet, how does inter-island

variation in diet relate to cultural or biogeographical differences among islands?





8


In this study, I will present evidence that there was little change in diet through

time in the West Indies. In other words, counter to previous proposals, the earlier

Saladoid groups did not focus particularly on land crabs and the Ostinoid and post-

Saladoid groups did not focus particularly on marine foods. Technology may have

changed to allow for more profitable means of capturing marine food items, but this

simply resulted in more free time, not a change in dietary focus. Although humans do

make choices about what foods to consume, those choices are constrained by the

terrestrial animals available on the islands, the marine animals present in the surrounding

waters, and the plants that were endemic or could be successfully introduced to the

islands. From the data generated for this study, I will show that the dietary protein

consumed by the prehistoric West Indians was constrained by the physical characteristics

of an island and does not change with the cultural changes evident from the material

culture (namely pottery). This is not to say that people do not make choices as to their

food, only that they cannot chose a food that is not present in the environment.













CHAPTER 2
PHYSICAL AND BIOLOGICAL BACKGROUND AND THEORETICAL
FRAMEWORK




A thorough understanding of the geology, climate, flora and fauna is necessary to

interpret isotope data in human food webs. In this chapter, therefore, I will establish the

environmental context of the West Indies. Both marine and terrestrial ecosystems will be

considered. The major groups of plants and animals will be discussed, with emphasis on

those of certain or possible economic importance to the prehistoric West Indians. I will

conclude the chapter by presenting the biogeographic framework within which I will

interpret my isotopic data.




Geography and Geology


The West Indian archipelago includes over 100 islands and small cays extending

from Cuba and the Bahamas in the northwest to Grenada in the south (Figure 1). The

four Greater Antillian islands (Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico) are larger, older,

and have more varied geology and topography than the other West Indian islands.

Through time, these features have provided better colonization opportunities for plants

and animals, leading to a richer flora and fauna and thus more foraging choices for

humans inhabiting the Greater Antilles. Although the Cayman Islands are located just

south of Cuba, they had no prehistoric human settlement (Stokes and Keegan 1996) and


9













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Figure 1. Map of the West Indies








thus will not be addressed further in this thesis. The Bahamian archipelago extends from

Grand Bahama in the north to the Turks and Caicos Islands in the south. These low

limestone islands have extensive reef systems but a depauperate terrestrial flora and

fauna. To the east of Puerto Rico begin the Lesser Antilles; the Leeward islands include

those from the Virgin Islands to Montserrat, whereas the Windward islands extend from

Guadeloupe south to Grenada. Trinidad and Tobago and the ABC islands (Aruba,

Bonaire and Curacao) lie just off the South American coast and have a distinctive biota

and somewhat related cultural history.

Paleozoic and Mesozoic reconstructions of possible island configurations in the

Caribbean region are largely hypothetical and have little to do with the modem

distribution of organisms on these islands. Thus most of this discussion of West Indian

geology will center upon the Cenozoic (past 65 million years), during which island

formation occurred. West Indian islands were formed by the movement of four plates:

North American, South American, Caribbean and Cocos. The Caribbean plate is moving

east relative to the North and South American plates at a rate of 1 to 2 centimeters per

year (Mann et al. 1990:333). The islands have been formed by a combination of

subduction and strike-slip faulting that caused volcanic action and uplift. Westward

movement of the North and South American plates during the late Mesozoic allowed a

piece of the Pacific plate to enter the Atlantic and form the Caribbean plate (Sealey

1992:7-8). The Great Arc of the Caribbean split into three segments as it migrated from

the Pacific Ocean into the Atlantic. One segment collided with Yucatan (a minor crustal

block or plate at that time located in the Gulf of Mexico), and then with an area of

sediment laid down in shallow seas that became the Florida-Bahama-Cuba platform. A





12


second segment created the Aves Swell, then split to form the Lesser Antillean Arc

(Burke 1988; Sealey 1992:8). The third segment collided with northwestern South

America and through strike-slip motion formed islands off the north coast of South

America from the ABC islands to Tobago (Burke 1988:216-217).

By the early Miocene (25 mya), present-day plate boundaries were fairly well

established. Islands at the boundary between the North American and Caribbean plates

have been formed largely by left-lateral strike-slip faulting. Cuba was formed by the end

of the Paleocene (ca. 55 mya) by a collision of a section of the Great Arc with the

Florida-Bahama-Cuba platform. Remnant sections of this are also found in Hispaniola,

Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. During the Neogene (ca. 25 mya), two parallel left-

lateral strike-slip fault zones in the northeastern Caribbean at the North America-

Caribbean plate boundary zone were responsible for major uplift (orogenesis) as well as

downthrust (oceanic troughs) in the Greater Antillean region (Mann et al. 1990:315). The

northern strike-slip zone extends from the Puerto Rico Trench through northern

Hispaniola and the southern edge of Cuba, then into the Cayman Trough in a sea-floor

spreading zone through Central America to the Middle America Trench. The southern

strike-slip zone extends west from central Hispaniola and the southern Haitian peninsula

across the Jamaica passage (between Haiti and Jamaica), through Jamaica, then to the

Cayman Trough (Mann et al. 1990:310-311). Jamaica was eroded and submerged in the

Eocene (ca. 45 mya), but emerged above sea level by the early Miocene (23 mya).

Jamaica was uplifted farther during the late Miocene/early Pliocene and again after the

middle Pliocene (Mann et al. 1990:318). Puerto Rico also was uplifted in the Miocene

and Pliocene (Mann et al. 1990:318).





13


The South American plate has been converging on the Caribbean plate in a west-

northwest direction during the Neogene since the late Tertiary (Mann et al. 1990:322a).

This collision features right-lateral strike-slip faulting that has caused mountain formation

in northern South America, Trinidad and Tobago, and uplifted the ABC islands (Sealey

1992:17). At the eastern margin of the Caribbean plate from Trinidad to western Puerto

Rico, the heavy oceanic lithosphere of the South American plate is subducted beneath the

lighter, generally andesitic crust of the Caribbean plate at the rate of ca. 2 to 4 cm per

year (Burke 1988:220; Mann et al. 1990:307-308, 329; Reid et al. 1996). Volcanism and

uplift associated with this subduction is responsible for the formation of the Lesser

Antilles. The Lesser Antilles are split into two arcs at the northern end due to tilting of

the underlying subducted slab (Burke 1988:220). The eastern arc consists of volcanic

basement rock partially or completely overlain by carbonates. This group of islands is

called the "limestone Caribbees" and includes Sombrero, Anguilla, St. Martin, St.

Barthelemy, Barbuda, Antigua, La D6sirade, the eastern portion of Guadeloupe (Grande

Terre), and Marie Galante. Potassium-argon dating places the formation of this arc

between 37 and 10 mya (Mann et al. 1990:329), although most islands probably have

been emergent above the sea for only 10 mya or less. The western arc is referred to as

the "volcanic Caribbees" and includes Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Nevis, Redonda,

Montserrat, the western portion of Guadeloupe (Basse Terre), Dominica, Martinique, St.

Lucia, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, and Grenada. These islands are volcanic in origin,

have high relief, and were formed less than ca. 8 mya (Mann et al. 1990:329; Maury et al.

1990). Volcanism continues today in the volcanic Caribbees, as evidenced dramatically

by the 1995-98 eruption on Montserrat (Montserrat Volcano Observatory Team 1997).





14


The outlying island of Barbados emerged during the Quaternary (last 2 million years)

through forearc uplift (Maury et al. 1990).

The Bahamas are formed completely of shallow water marine carbonates.

Beginning as much as 200 million years ago, sediment was laid down on the thin crust of

the North American plate as it moved away from the African plate. The sediments

subsided in the shallow water forming a large bank until about 80 mya when the area was

flooded due to tectonic changes that created the Gulf of Mexico. The flooding separated

the Bahamas from Cuba and Florida, and created a series of banks surrounded by troughs

and basins. The rate of carbonate sedimentation became greater than that of subsidence

allowing formation of the Bahama islands within the last 2 million years (Sealey 1994:9-

17). Most of the land area of the Bahamas was submerged during the Sangamon high sea

level stand (ca. +10m) about 130,000 years ago (Sealey 1994). The geology and

geography of individual islands are reviewed in Chapter 4 with the site descriptions.




Modem and Paleoclimate


The West Indies lie within the tropical marine climate zone where temperature

varies little throughout the year. The average temperature in the southern islands ranges

only from 25 oC in the winter months to 29 OC in the summer. In the northern Bahamas,

the range increases from 17 C in the winter to 28 C in the summer (Sealey 1992).

The amount of precipitation on each island depends on several factors including

the position of the island in relation to wind patterns, vegetation cover, and the size and

elevation of the island. The intertropical convergence zone (doldrums) is an area where





15


the earth is heated most by the sun and causes the air to rise. Trade winds are produced

by the draw of the air from higher latitudes toward this convergence zone. During the

summer months, northeast trade winds blow into the northern part of the West Indies

while the southern and eastern Caribbean are affected by the southeast trade winds.

During the winter, when the Atlantic intertropical convergence zone shifts south off

Brazil, only the northeast trade winds are present in the West Indies. Areas closer to the

intertropical convergence zone receive more rainfall, resulting in greater precipitation in

the West Indies during the summer and reduced precipitation during the winter (Sealey

1992:76). The southern islands of the West Indies receive more rainfall in the winter

than the northern islands because they are closer to the doldrums. Effective precipitation

would have been greater when the islands were in their natural state with primary

vegetation. With deforestation by humans, precipitation is reduced because there is less

vegetation present to contain the water vapor and cause rain. Furthermore, forest soils

retain more moisture than degraded, sun-drenched soils. The third factor affecting

rainfall is the size and elevation of the island. Small islands usually do not have enough

land area or relief to generate the heat necessary to produce much rain. Also, terrestrial

vegetation (especially forest cover) may be limited on small islands and thus contribute

further to the reduced rainfall. Rainfall typically increases with elevation because of

orographic effects (rising moist air being cooled to the point of inducing rainfall).

Rainfall amounts vary not only between islands, but across a single island as well.

Tropical marine dry zones, with less than 100 cm (40 inches) of rain per year, include the

southern Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, ABC islands, southern Hispaniola and Puerto Rico,

south-central Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, and Barbuda. Areas with a





16


tropical marine wet and dry season include southern Jamaica, the northern Bahamas, the

Leeward islands, Cuba, much of Haiti, Barbados, western Trinidad and Tobago, and the

northern and upland sections of Puerto Rico. Rainfall varies from 100 to 200 cm (40-80

inches) per year, with the majority falling in the summer and the possibility of droughts

from March to May. The tropical marine wet zone includes areas with high relief that

create orographic rain such as upland Jamaica, eastern Trinidad and Tobago, and the

Windward Islands (Sealey 1992:81-82).

Drought is the primary climatic effect in the West Indies of periodic El

Nifio/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. Particularly severe droughts occurred during

the major ENSO events of A.D. 1685-88, 1789-93, and 1877-79 (Grove 1998).

Especially on islands that already were marginal for agriculture because of poor soils or

general aridity, the effects of prolonged droughts might well have been devastating for

prehistoric agriculturalists.

Hurricanes have a potent although usually short-term effect on human, plant, and

animal populations in the West Indies (Davis et al. 1989; Wiley and Wunderle 1993:319).

Hurricanes form over warm waters and rotate in a counter-clockwise direction producing

winds up to 200 mph and vast amounts of rain. Major storms affecting the West Indies

usually form off the coast of Africa, follow a westerly path toward the Lesser Antilles,

then either continue west toward the Yucatan Peninsula or turn northwest to north toward

the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, and eastern North America. Occasionally, hurricanes

will form south of Cuba, crossing western Cuba and landing in Florida.

The direct connection in oceanic circulation between the Caribbean Sea and the

Pacific Ocean began to be affected by closing of the Panama water gap (i.e. uplift of the





17


Isthmus of Panama) by 4.6 million years ago (Haug and Tiedemann 1998). By 3.5

million years ago, the isolation of the Caribbean from the Pacific was complete, with a

resulting major warming of oceanographic conditions in the Caribbean (Dugne-Caro

1990; Keigwin 1982).

Changes in sea level and climate during the last 20,000 years have had a marked

effect on the flora and fauna of the West Indian archipelago and thus, on the cultural

history as well. At the glacial maximum, 18,000 years before present (BP), sea level was

ca. 120 m lower than at present (Fairbanks 1989). The 200-meter isobath is most often

chosen to illustrate the change in the surface area of the islands at lower sea level.

However, there is no evidence that sea level during the Pleistocene was ever more than

120 m below current levels. The 120-meter isobath would illustrate island margins at the

glacial maximum much more accurately and thus would be the best depiction of

maximum land area and minimum inter-island distances during the late Quaternary. The

resulting larger land masses and shorter inter-island distances would facilitate disperal

and colonization by plants and animals. For instance, with sea level 120 m lower than

today, the islands of Anguilla, St. Martin, and St. Barts would form one very large island,

as would Barbuda and Antigua. Cuba would have been connected to the Isle of Pines and

all of its offshore cays. The Bahamas would be composed of eight large islands, with

particularly large ones on the Great Bahama and Little Bahama banks, rather than

hundreds of small islands. Four additional large islands would have emerged on the

shallow banks (Morgan 1989). On the other hand, most of the Windward Islands would

have remained isolated throughout the Pleistocene. Oceanographic conditions changed

markedly as well during the glacial to interglacial (Pleistocene to Holocene) transition,





18


with glacial times characterized by cooler, more nutrient-poor waters because of the

influence of glacial melt-water from the North Atlantic (Marchitto et al. 1998).

By 10,000 BP, sea level had risen to ca. 60 m lower than today (Fairbanks

1989:639). The climate in the West Indies was more arid than today and the vegetation

was dominated by xeric palms and montane shrubs (Hodell et al. 1991:792). Between

10,000 and 6,000 years BP, sea level had risen to ca. 13 m below modem levels

(Fairbanks 1989:639). The rise in sea level tapered off by 5,000 BP when it was ca. 8 m

below present levels, and slowly increased at little more than 1 m every millenium to

current levels (Fairbanks 1989:639). The climate became increasingly humid with

greater precipitation. As a result, lake levels rose, forest growth increased, and the littoral

zone developed as evidenced by increased Chenopodiaceae and Amaranthaceae pollen

recovered from lake sediment cores (Hodell et al. 1991:792). Between 5,400 and 3,900

BP, mesic forests increased, a trend that continued until 2,400 BP. A drier episode from

2,400 to 1,500 BP is suggested by a loss of mesic forest and an increase in dry forest

species and grasses. From 1,500 to 900 BP (A.D. 450-1050), conditions became slightly

wetter, followed by a return to drier conditions after A.D. 1,050 (Hodell et al. 1991:292).




Flora of the West Indies


The major studies of plant communities in the West Indies are those of Beard

(1949) and Howard (1974-1979, 1979) for the Lesser Antilles, Asprey and Robbins

(1953) for Jamaica, Little and Wadsworth (1964) and Little et al. (1974) for Puerto Rico

and the Virgin Islands, Harris (1965) for Antigua, Barbuda and Anguilla, Correll and





19


Correll (1982) for the Bahamas, and Kimber (1988) for Martinique. My review of the

vegetation is based on these studies along with general descriptions of plant communities

found in Macpherson (1975) and Sealey (1992). Plant communities are influenced by

precipitation, windiness, elevation, island size, and soil types.

Eight major types of vegetation are found in the islands of the West Indies.

Tropical rain forest grows in hot, wet, lowland areas. Rainforest contains numerous

species of tall evergreen, broad-leaved trees with canopy heights of up to 35 m

(Macpherson 1975:20). Rainforest vegetation is found in much of the Greater Antilles

and the high volcanic islands of the Lesser Antilles. Precipitation over 200 cm generally

is required to support rainforest species (Sealey 1992:96). Some of the more common

types of rainforest plants that would have been exploited for food or lumber by the

prehistoric West Indians include rubber (Hevea brasiliensis), mahogany (Swietenia

mahogoni), and silk cotton (Ceiba pentandra).

At higher elevations, the tropical rain forest grades into a montane forest in which

the trees do not reach the canopy heights of the rain forest but are more densely covered

with epiphytes. Tree ferns often are common in montane forest. Pines (Pinus caribaea)

dominate the montane forest of the interior mountain ranges of Hispaniola. Montane

species in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica where pines are absent include ironwood,

yucca, cedar and bloodwood (Sealey 1994:101).

Elfin woodlands are found in areas at a higher elevation than montane forest with

lower temperatures and more precipitation. An elfin woodland is a dense stand of

gnarled trees, often stunted in growth by the high winds on exposed ridges and peaks, but

covered in lichens, moss, orchids and ferns (Macpherson 1975:21). The highest parts of





20


Jamaica's Blue Mountains and many high peaks in the Lesser Antilles support elfin

woodlands.

Areas prone to drought, particularly on the leeward side of islands, support semi-

deciduous woodland. Trees found here are short and often thorny (Macpherson 1975:20).

In extremely dry areas (rainfall less than 75 cm) such as southern Hispaniola, the

southeastern coast of Puerto Rico, and parts of the Bahamian archipelago, thorn and

shrub forest is found (Macpherson 1975:20; Sealey 1994:100). Trees of this environment

include various legumes and palms, as well as stunted forms of many species that grow as

large trees in tropical woodlands, such as wild figs (Moraceae) and sapotes (Sapotaceae).

Tropical woodland (evergreen woodland) grows in areas that are seasonally wet

and dry, with annual rainfall between 75 and 200 cm. Limestone soils often support

tropical woodlands. Trees of this plant community that would have been important to

humans include lignum-vitae (Guaiacum officinale), mastic (Mastichodendron

foetidissimum), pigeon plum (Coccoloba diversifolia), palmetto (Sabal sp.), poison wood

(Metoplum toxiferum), and sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera). The fruits of mastic, pigeon

plum and sea grape provide food. Poison wood is used in fishing. Tropical woodlands

are common in the Bahamas and in parts of the Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles

(Sealey 1994:100). Tropical woodlands grade into savanna and grasslands, as well as

semi-deciduous woodlands.

Savannas contain mostly tropical grasses and sedges but are typically dry and

only support a few scattered trees, especially pines or palms. Most savannas probably

have been created by clearing the vegetation and repeated burning. In fact, the Arawak

word "sabana" meant "treeless land" (Oviedo 1959:107). Savannas are found in central





21


Cuba, locally in southern Hispaniola, and in the upland river basins of Puerto Rico

(Sealey 1994:99). Grasslands are similar to savanna except that grasslands have no trees.

Wetlands present in the West Indies include freshwater swamps (wooded),

marshes (devoid of trees), and mangroves (estuarine). The two main trees in freshwater

wetland environments are gut apple (Annona glabra) and Pterocarpus officinalis.

Mangroves are found in brackish or estuarine environments throughout the West Indies

but especially where silty soils predominate. Four species of mangrove are widespread in

the West Indies: white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), red mangrove (Rhizophora

mangle), black mangrove (Avicennia germinans), and button mangrove (Conocarpus

erectus) (Spalding et al. 1997). Black mangrove, the tallest, straightest, and hardest, was

commonly used for construction and fuel wood during the prehistoric period (Newsom

1993).




Prehistoric Use of Plants


Most prehistoric archaeological sites in the West Indies are located along the

coast or inland along river valleys and/or in areas of good agricultural soils (Rouse 1992).

Native plants were exploited in surrounding habitats particularly the tropical rainforest,

tropical woodlands, tropical deciduous forest, tropical thorn forest and wetlands. Our

knowledge of prehistoric plant use comes from historic documents and from

archaeobotanical data.

Early Europeans recorded plants that they saw being cultivated by the Indians.

Noted were tubers such as manioc (Manihot esculenta), sweet potato (Ipomoea batata),





22


arrow root (Maranta arundinacea), tania (Xanthosomajacquinii) and "ileren" (Calathea

allouia) (Oviedo 1959; Sauer 1966). Maize was also recorded but archaeologists have

debated how important maize was to the West Indians since macrobotanical remains have

been recovered from only one site, En Bas Saline in Haiti, dated to ca. A.D. 1250

(Newsom 1993, Newsom and Deagan 1994). Oviedo (1959:15) wrote that the Indians in

Hispaniola were roasting corn and "when the ears are tender they are eaten almost like

milk". Archaeologists hypothesize several possibilities for the near absence of maize in

the West Indian archaeological record: 1, access to maize was restricted to the elite

classes (Newsom 1993); 2, maize was too expensive or unreliable to produce relative to

other crops so it was not a staple food (Keegan and DeNiro 1988); or 3, maize never

gained prevalence because other crops such as manioc were already well established

(Pearsall 1990, cited in Newsom 1993; Smith 1990). Maize has been recorded in Central

American archaeological deposits as early as 5000 B.C. (Pearsall 1995). In South

America, maize phytoliths were recovered from Ecuador dating to ca. 4000 B.C. (Pearsall

1995), although bone isotope data suggest that maize was not a major part of the diet in

eastern South America before 800 B.C. (see Roosevelt 1980; van der Merwe et al. 1981).

The isotope data presented here will address the issue of the timing and extent to which

maize was consumed prehistorically in the West Indies.

The earliest West Indian inhabitants, the Lithic and Archaic groups, have been

characterized as foragers who lacked the knowledge of horticulture or any type of plant

tending (Rouse 1989, 1992). Recent archaeobotanical evidence, however, points to the

Archaic groups being engaged in "gardening and/or limited arboriculture" (Newsom

1993: 320). Four plants have been identified in archaeological deposits dating to the





23


Archaic period that were introduced to the West Indies from Mexico or Central America:

wild avocado (Persea americana), yellow sapote (Pouteria campechiana), sapodilla

(Manilkara [zapota] sp.), and primrose (Oenothera sp.) (Newsom 1993; Rouse and

Alegria 1990). Other plants recovered in Archaic sites suggest that certain native plants

may have been tended such as mastic bully (Mastichodendronfoetidissimum), bullet-

wood (Manilkara sp.) and Palmae, all of which produce fruits. These two plants, along

with primrose and trianthema, were probably used for food and medicine (Newsom

1993). Twelve taxa of trees have been identified from preceramic sites, particularly

Krum Bay including cedar (Tabebeuia sp.), willow (Capparis sp.), pepper bush (Croton

sp.), cupey (Clusia_sp.), acacia (Fabaceae), wild fig (Ficus sp.), buttonwood and white

mangrove, representing trees from semi-evergreen woodlands, dry deciduous and coastal

wetland environments (Pearsall 1989). Most of these trees would have been used for

construction and fuel wood. In addition to botanical evidence for plant use, artifacts

recovered from preceramic sites point to the collection, if not tending, of grasses. Manos

and metates, for example, are common in such sites (Harris 1973; Moore 1982; Rouse

1982; 1992). Newsom (1993) cautions, however, that this suggests only that these plants

were being gathered, not that domestication occurred.

More extensive archaeobotanical data are available for the ceramic-period sites.

Presumably, the Saladoid immigrants would have continued to use the plants introduced

by the Lithic and Archaic groups, as well as exploit and/or cultivate additional species.

Botanical remains recovered from Saladoid period sites in the Greater Antilles are from

the Bully-tree/jacana (Pouteria sp.), guaba (Inga sp.), Palmae, and papaya (Carica

papaya), all taxa that can be grown in housegardens to produce fruit. Other plants used





24


for food and medicine recovered from Saladoid period sites include fish poison (Piscidia

carthagenensis), goosefoot (Chenopodium), lignum-vitae (Guaiacum officinale), and

Trianthemaportulacastrum. Peppers (Croton sp., Capsicum sp.) are recorded for both

the Saladoid and Ostionoid periods. An even wider range of plants has been recovered

from Ostionoid period sites in the Greater Antilles. Plants that may have been grown in

housegardens for food or medicine include guava (cf. Psidium guajava), guaba

(Fabaceae, cf. Inga sp.), primrose (Oenothera sp.), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), and

Zamia sp. (Fortuna 1978; Garcia Arevalo and Tavares 1978; Newsom 1993; Veloz

Maggiolo and Ortega 1996). Tentative identifications from the En Bas Saline site in

Haiti have been made of genip (cf. Melicoccus bijugatus), soursop (cf. Annona sp.) and

star-apple (Sapotaceae) (Newsom 1993). Macroremains and pollen have been recovered

for maize (Zea mays) and manioc (Manihot esculenta) dating to the Ostionoid period on

Hispaniola (Higuera-Gundy 1991; Nadal et al. 1991; Newsom 1993). Two varieties of

maize, a popcorn type and a flour type, are recognized at En Bas Saline (Newsom

1993:279).

Amaranthaceae/Chenopodiaceae, panicoid grasses (Setaria sp.), purslane

(Portulaca sp.), and trianthema (Trianthemaportulacastrum) recovered from En Bas

Saline suggest that the Taino may have been either collecting or tending other C4 plants

in addition to maize. C4 plants such as tropical grasses have a different photosynthetic

pathway than most cultigens and should be detectable in the isotopic record (see Chapter

5).

Seed diversity in the archaeobotanical record is much lower in the Lesser Antilles

than in the Greater Antilles throughout prehistory (Newsom 1993). This suggests that the





25


groups living in the smaller islands of the Lesser Antilles did not exploit as wide a variety

of plants. Plants identified from Lesser Antillean sites in Grenada, Antigua and Nevis

include trianthema, primrose, cockspur, Mastic-bully, manchioneel, palm, fish poison,

lignum vitae and cedar. Trianthema seeds are especially high in protein and primrose

seeds have high oil content and essential amino acids that are useful for digestive and

dermatological problems (Newsom 1993).




Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna of the West Indies


It is beyond the scope of this dissertation to review the complete faunal records of

all islands of the West Indies. I will concentrate generally on the species of animals

known to have been used as food or potentially used as food by the prehistoric West

Indians. More specifically, I will concentrate on the islands from which I have human

bone samples. For more in-depth reviews of the biogeography and paleontology of the

West Indian vertebrates, the reader is referred to Morgan (1989), Morgan and Woods

(1986), Olson (1978), Pregill (1981a, 1981b, 1982), Pregill et al. (1988, 1991, 1994),

Pregill and Olson (1981), Steadman et al. (1984a, 1984b), Watters et al. (1984), and

Wing and Wing (1995).

Because the West Indian vertebrate fauna has suffered so much extinction during

the Late Quaternary, a paleontological/zooarchaeological perspective is required to

provide an overview of the major taxonomic groups. Many of the large mammals

recorded in paleontological (non-cultural) sites in the West Indies are rarely if ever

recovered in archaeological sites. This seems counterintuitive considering that these





26


animals would have provided good sources of protein, fat, and calories. Rather than

assume that these animals were not exploited by prehistoric peoples, I would instead

suppose that their absence or scarcity in archaeological sites is because they would have

been decimated early in the period of human colonization. As has been found in other

insular environments such as Polynesia and the Galapagos, endemic species of reptiles,

birds and mammals that evolve in the absence of mammalian predators are easy targets

for the first colonizing humans (Steadman 1995; Steadman et al. 1991). In the West

Indies, for example, only when the earliest cultural sites (preceramic) are excavated can

we expect to find evidence of exploitation of many of the primates, insectivores, sloths,

large rodents and flightless birds that once inhabited these islands.

Most of the species of animals found in the archaeological and paleontological

record of the West Indies evolved from colonists that arrived in these islands from the

mainland Neotropics by way of dispersal rather than vicariance. The fossil record from

South America shows that the types of terrestrial mammals found in the West Indies had

not evolved before the early Miocene (ca. 25 mya). At that time, the Greater Antillean

islands were generally in their current positions, and Lesser Antillean islands, which

never were connected to the mainland, were mostly still submerged. Thus, the only

mechanism for colonization was over-water dispersal. Possible exceptions are the

insectivores Solenodon and Nesophontes, which may have reached the islands in the

Early Eocene (55 mya) either by way of vicariance from North America via an

archipelago (MacFadden 1980) or from Central America by dispersal (Morgan and

Woods 1986).





27


Now I will review briefly the major groups of Greater Antillean mammals and

reptiles of potential economic importance to prehistoric peoples. From a standpoint of

species richness, bats are the dominant group of mammals throughout the West Indies but

are of little if any importance to human subsistence and so will not be discussed further.

Similarly, the various families of West Indian frogs and lizards represent

biogeographically fascinating evolutionary radiations but are seldom recovered in any

quantity in archaeological sites and probably were not important in prehistoric diets.

Insectivores (Solenodontidae) are known to have existed in Cuba, Hispaniola, and

Puerto Rico. Hispaniola and Cuba each have two recorded species of Solenodon, of

which S. cubanus in Cuba and S. paradoxus in Hispaniola are still extant although

endangered. The six species of Nesophontes from Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico are

now extinct but are recorded from prehistoric cultural sites or are known to have survived

into the historic period (Arredondo 1970; Morgan and Woods 1986).

All of the nine species of ground sloths (Edentata) recorded in Cuba supposedly

went extinct in the late Pleistocene (Morgan and Woods 1986). However, the lack of

sloth bones from Cuban archaeological sites may reflect only that so little research has

been done on sites dating to the earliest human colonization. Ground sloths are also

recorded from Hispaniola (six species, four undescribed) and Puerto Rico (one species).

A radiocarbon date of ca. 3715 B.P. on a ground sloth fossil from a cave in Haiti is

evidence that at least one species of sloth still existed at the time of human colonization

(Morgan and Woods 1986). Ground sloth bones from another Haitian cave were believed

by Miller (1929) to be associated with human occupation of the cave.





28


Cuba, Hispaniola and Jamaica each had at least one endemic species of monkey.

Ateles anthropomorpha in Cuba and Saimiri bernensis in Hispaniola existed into the

period of human colonization; the Cuban primate was recovered from an Amerindian

burial cave (Morgan and Woods 1986:179). The Jamaican primate, Xenothrix megregori,

is believed to have been extirpated in the Late Pleistocene (Morgan and Woods 1986),

but again, this may reflect nothing more than how little zooarchaeology has been done in

Jamaica. The three West Indian primates belong to three different genera and may result

from three separate dispersal episodes (Morgan and Woods 1986:173).

The caviomorph rodents known as hutias (Capromyidae) occur only in the

Greater Antilles and Bahamas and are especially well represented in Cuba and

Hispaniola. Cuba had 10 species of hutia, including one that has been found in

archaeological sites and five that are still extant. Hispaniola had at least nine species of

hutia; five of these have been recovered in archaeological deposits and two additional

species survived into the historic period. One of these species, Isolobodon portoricensis,

has been recovered in middens in both Puerto Rico and Hispaniola and was probably

introduced to Puerto Rico by prehistoric West Indians (Morgan and Woods 1986; Olsen

1982; Olson and Pregill 1982). Only one hutia (Geocapromys brownii) has been found in

Jamaica (Morgan and Woods 1986). Similarly, a single species, G. ingrahami, is known

in the Bahamas, where nearly all populations are extinct.

Another family of caviomorph rodents is the spiny rats (Echimyidae), with a

diverse radiation of genera and species on the Neotropical mainland. The West Indian

species of spiny rats occurred only in Cuba, Hispaniola and Jamaica. Boromys offella

and Boromys torrei from Cuba survived until after European contact. In Hispaniola,





29


Brotomys contractus, may have become extinct in the late Pleistocene although Brotomys

voratussurvived into the historic period. Three species of Echimyidae are known from

Puerto Rico but only Heteropsomys insulans is recorded since human colonization of the

islands (Morgan and Woods 1986). Heptaxodontids, another family of caviomorph

rodents, are found only as fossils in Hispaniola and Jamaica in the Greater Antilles, and

Anguilla and St. Martin in the Lesser Antilles. Among the many taxa of heptaxodontids,

Quemisia gravis from Hispaniola has been recovered from one archaeological site in

Haiti (Miller 1929).

The largest reptiles in the West Indies are two species of crocodiles from the

Greater Antilles. Crocodylus rhombifer inhabits freshwater marshes in Cuba and the Isle

of Pines but is known prehistorically from the Cayman Islands and Bahamas (Franz et al.

1995, 1996; Morgan et al. 1993). A second species, Crocodylus acutus, is found today in

brackish water in Cuba, Jamaica and parts of Hispaniola (Pregill 1982:15). Large

terrestrial iguanas of the genus Cyclura occur locally in the Greater Antilles and Bahamas

today but were much more widespread prehistorically (Pregill 1981b). Various species

of extinct tortoises, all undescribed or poorly described, are known from the Greater

Antilles and Bahamas. Most of these tortoises are not known from cultural contexts but it

is reasonable to presume that people caused their extinction.

Jamaica is more isolated than the three other major islands in the Greater Antilles

and therefore has relatively high levels of endemism in many groups of organisms

including land crabs (Schubart et al. 1998), frogs (Hedges 1989), anoles (Hedges and

Burnell 1990), birds (Raffaele et al. 1998), and mammals (Woods 1989). Unlike the

other Greater Antillean islands, Jamaica has no record of insectivores or ground sloths.





30


Another outcome of Jamaica's isolation is that it stands alone among Greater Antillean

islands in having no evidence of habitation by preceramic peoples. Jamaica is the only

island in the Greater Antilles with a species of rice rat, the historically extinct Oryzomys

palustris antillarum (Pregill et al. 1991).

Relative to the other major West Indian islands, the Bahamas have a depauperate

vertebrate fauna. Only 16 species of mammals are known from all of the Bahamas, with

15 of these being bats. The only non-volant mammal recorded from either archaeological

or fossil deposits is Geocapromys ingrahami, the Bahamian hutia (Morgan 1989; Wing

1969). The herpto-fauna is also impoverished. Pregill (1982) identified one vertebrae of

Crocodylus sp. from New Providence island. Large iguanas (Cyclura sp.) and an extinct

tortoise (Geochelone sp.) are also recorded from the Bahamas and may have provided

food for the Amerindians (Auffenberg 1967; Pregill 1982).

The fauna in the Lesser Antilles varies remarkably from that of the Greater

Antilles. Because there were fewer reliable terrestrial protein sources in the Lesser

Antilles during prehistory, we would expect the majority of the diet, especially during the

later periods of prehistory, to have been focused on marine protein sources such as sea

turtles, marine mammals (manatees, porpoises, monk seals) and fishes. The only

indigenous mammals in the Lesser Antilles (other than bats) were one species of

heptaxodontid rodent, the immense Amblyrhiza inundata in Anguilla and St. Martin, and

one or two species of rice rat (Oryzomyine) on most of the islands. The rice rats are

known from most major islands from St. Vincent north to Anguilla (Pregill et al. 1994)

although they remain poorly studied and mostly undescribed. Their occurrence in

paleontological deposits confirms that they were naturally dispersed among the islands,





31


although it is possible that Amerindians may have managed their distribution as well

(Woods 1989). Rice rat bones are abundant in most Lesser Antillean archaeological

deposits, especially those of the Saladoid period.

Several mammals recorded in Lesser Antillean archaeological sites are thought to

have been introduced into the islands by the colonizing Amerindians for use as food.

These include Didelphis sp. (opossum), Dasyprocta sp. (agouti) and Procyon sp.

(racoons). Dogs (Canisfamiliaris) are an introduced species and were probably pets, not

dietary items (Wing and Wing 1995). Dogs have been found in cultural deposits in St.

Eustatius, St. Kitts, Monserrat, St. Lucia, Barbados, Middle Caicos and Grenada (Pregill

et al. 1994; Wing and Wing 1995). That dogs were regarded as human companions is

evident from their context in human burials on many islands (Wing 1989). Agoutis have

been recorded in St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Antigua, Monserrat, Martinique, Saba, Nevis and

Grenada (Pregill et al. 1994; Wing and Wing 1995). Agoutis, like rice rats, flourish in

disturbed habitats such as fallow fields and the edge of forests (Wing 1996a). Guinea pig

(Cavia porcellus) is a domesticated rodent, native to South America, that has been found

in prehistoric middens in Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Antigua (Wing et al. 1968; Wing

and Reitz 1982; Wing and Wing 1995).

Iguanas, being among the few large terrestrial animals in the Lesser Antilles,

would have been important to human subsistence. Iguana remains (mostly Iguana spp.

rather than Cyclura spp.) have been found in sites in the Virgin Islands, Saba, St.

Eustatius, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Monserrat, Guadeloupe, Marie Galante, St. Lucia and

Grenada (Pregill et al. 1994; van der Klift 1985; Wing 1989; Wing and Wing 1995).

Land crabs (Gecarcinus, Cardisoma) have also been implicated as one of the main foods





32


for prehistoric West Indian foragers (Carbone 1980; deFrance 1988; Rainey 1940).

Remains of land crabs have been found in sites on Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Saba,

St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Eustatius, Grenada, and Antigua (deFrance 1988; van der Klift 1985;

Wing 1989; Wing 1996a, Wing and Kozuch 1998; Wing et al. n.d.).

Birds are discussed in the zooarchaeological literature of the Antilles much less

than fish or mammals even though, as in so many other island groups around the world,

birds provided a reliable source of protein and fat in the prehistoric West Indian diets.

The paucity of bird data may be due to some combination of several reasons. 1. Bird

bones are actually scarce in certain West Indian archaeological sites. 2. Poor recovery

methods in the field lead to underrepresentation of bird bones. 3. Bird bones are

collected adequately but are not analyzed thoroughly because of inadequate interest or

comparative osteological collection.

The birds most commonly recovered from archaeological middens in the Antilles

can be classified into three broad categories: seabirds, aquatic birds, and landbirds.

Seabirds are part of marine food webs and include shearwaters (Puffinus Iherminieri, P.

puffinus), petrels (Pterodroma sp.) boobies (Sula spp.), pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis),

terns (Steminae), and others. Aquatic species are dominated by herons (Ardeidae),

plovers (Charadriidae), and sandpipers (Scolopacidae). Landbirds are extremely diverse

in the West Indies and include hawks (Accipitridae), falcons (Falconidae), rails

(Rallidae), pigeons and doves (Columbidae), parrots (Amazona spp.), cuckoos

(Cuculidae), owls (Tytonidae, Strigidae), woodpeckers (Picidae) and many passerines

(Passeriformes).





33


Flightless rails have been described from middens in the Virgin Islands

(Nesotrochis debooyi, Wetmore 1918) and Puerto Rico (Olson 1982), in Cuba

(Nesotrochis sp., Olson 1974) and Haiti (Nesotrochis steganinos, Olson 1974). A near-

flightless rail still survives in Cuba (Olson 1982).

Bones of pigeons (Columba leucocephala, C. squamosa, Columba sp.) and doves

(Zenaida aurita, Columbinapasserina, Geotrygon montana, G. mystacea) are often the

most common avian components in West Indian zooarchaeological assemblages.

Pigeons and doves have been found on archaeological sites in Antigua (Steadman et al.

1984a), Montserrat (Steadman et al. 1984b), Marie Galante, Martinique (Fraser 1981), St.

Eustatius (van der Klift 1985), Vieques (Narganes Storde 1982 cited in Wing 1989), and

elsewhere. Bones of parrots (Amazona spp.) also have been found throughout the West

Indies from the Windward Islands through the Greater Antilles and Bahamas. Some of

these species may have been transported between islands by humans. Bones of passerine

birds, especially thrashers (Mimidae), have also been recovered from a number of sites in

the Lesser Antilles (Pregill et al. 1994). Like most West Indian species of pigeons,

thrashers eat primarily fruit (Raffaele et al. 1998) and therefore have sweet meat.

Barn owls (Tyto spp.) underwent a considerable evolutionary radiation throughout

the West Indies, including species smaller than the widespread T. alba and many other

species much larger than any extant barn owls (Olson 1978:105; Steadman and

Hilgartner, in press). These owls, which fed primarily on large rodents and, at least in

Cuba and Hispaniola, ground sloths (Olson 1978), would have provided an easy food

source for humans although none has been found in cultural deposits. They probably

became extinct because of the extinction of their preferred prey species.





34


For this study I have human bone material from Hispaniola, La Tortue and Puerto

Rico in the Greater Antilles, and Abaco, Eleuthera, Long Island, Crooked Island and

Rum Cay in the Bahamas. In the Greater Antilles, many of the birds and large mammals

would have gone extinct or become scarce during initial human colonization in the

preceramic period. Zooarchaeological data show that the terrestrial animals that were

exploited by the Saladoid and Ostionoid peoples in Hispaniola and Puerto Rico include

land crabs, insectivores, hutia, iguana and birds (Arredondo 1970; deFrance 1988; Veloz

Maggiolo and Ortega 1973). Land snails may also have been important food to

prehistoric West Indians (Veloz Maggiolo and Ortega 1973). Monkeys and the spiny rat

have not been recovered in middens but they may have still been food items. No

vertebrate fauna information is available for the island of La Tortue. In the Bahamas,

only hutia, iguana, a crocodile, a tortoise, land crabs and a few birds have been recovered

in archaeological sites (deFrance 1991; Keegan 1997; Olson 1974; 1982; Wing 1969,

1983).

The five islands in the Lesser Antilles for which I have human bone material are

Saba, Anguilla, St. Martin, Guadeloupe and Grenada. Unfortunately, the terrestrial fossil

and zooarchaeological record for most of these islands is sparse. On Guadeloupe, one

species of iguana and one rice rat are known (Clerc 1968; Pregill et al. 1994). The record

for Saba also is spotty, with one rice rat, agouti, iguana, freshwater turtle (Emydidae) and

several birds, including shearwaters, booby, doves, and thrashers (Hoogland 1996; Pregill

et al. 1994, Wing and Wing 1995,).

St. Martin and Anguilla are part of the same submarine bank. Amblyrhiza has

been found in fossil deposits on both islands but not in association with human





35


occupation (MacFarlane et al. 1998). Rice rats and birds have been found on both islands

from both archaeological and paleontological deposits (Haviser 1991c; Pregill et al.

1994). The only other possible terrestrial food item is Iguana delicatissima from a non-

cultural deposit on Anguilla (Pregill et al. 1994).

The southern Windward Islands of Grenada and the Grenadines, and especially

the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, have a much stronger South American influence in

their faunas than the rest of the West Indies. Grenada and St. Lucia are the only islands

where the opossum (Didelphis marsupialis) has been recorded (Pregill et al. 1994).

Dasypus sp. (armadillo) was also introduced into Grenada and has been found in the

midden at the Pearls site (Stokes 1990). Indigenous species found in middens on

Grenada include rice rats, iguana and several birds (Lippold 1991).




Marine Animal Resources


The marine animals of the West Indies will be discussed according to habitat,

since of course they are not confined to any one island. The four habitats in which

marine animals are found are beaches, inshore-estuary habitats, banks and reefs, and the

offshore pelagic community (Wing and Reitz 1982). The fish discussed below are only

the most common ones found on sites in the West Indies. The most common habitat is

listed for the fishes that can tolerate several habitats.

The beach habitat is where sea turtles (Cheloniidae) and monk seals (Monachus

tropicalis) could be captured. Sea turtles return to their nesting beaches year after year

and they are especially vulnerable to human predation when laying their eggs. Along





36


with the turtle meat, which provides a good source of protein and fat, the eggs would also

be harvested and eaten (Neitschmann 1973). When hauled out on their beaches, monk

seals would have been vulnerable to human hunters, particularly during the earliest

colonization by humans when they were unaccustomed to predators. Due to human

predation, monk seals now are presumably extinct. Monk seal bones have been

recovered from archaeological sites in Puerto Rico, St. Eustatius, and Nevis (Wing 1992).

Whales and porpoises (Cetacea) may also have been butchered if they were found to have

beached themselves although there are only a few records of cetaceans in West Indian

middens (van der Klift 1992; Veloz Maggiolo and Ortega 1976:153; Wing and Reitz

1982; Wing and Wing 1995).

The rocky intertidal region is the habitat of several mollusk species that are

commonly found in prehistoric middens. In fact, the Archaic peoples of the West Indies

have often been characterized as shellfish gatherers because of the numerous species of

rocky intertidal and estuarine mollusks found in their sites. Common species found on

beach rock are chitons (Chitonidae, particularly Chiton tuberculatus), limpets

(Fissurellidae, Acmaeidae), West Indian top shell (Cittarium pica), and nerites

(Neritidae).

The inshore-estuarine environment is home to numerous mollusks, crabs and

fishes. Bivalves such as Lucinidae (particularly Lucinapectinata and Codakia

orbicularis), Tellinidae (Tellinafausta), Donax sp. and Anadara transversa are benthic

species. These mollusks can be collected by poking a stick into the sand or mud until one

is encountered and then digging it out by hand. The conch, Strombus gigas, inhabits the

turtle grass out to coral reefs. Conchs were important for food and for the shell as raw





37


material for tools, adornments, and pottery temper. Prehistoric inhabitants probably

collected conchs by hooking them or diving for them, as is done today. The fishes that

inhabit the inshore-estuarine environment include porgies (Sparidae), jacks (Carangidae),

drum (Sciaenidae), mojarras (Gerreidae) and sardines and herrings (Clupeidae) (Wing

and Kozuch 1988; Wing and Reitz 1982). Certain sharks (Squaliformes) and stingrays

(Rajiformes) that feed in this environment are sometimes recovered in middens. Bones

of the manatee (Trichechus manatus), a large estuarine mammal, have been found at sites

in Grenada (Bullen 1964), St. Kitts (Wing 1973), Jamaica (Scudder 1991), Hispaniola

(Veloz Maggiolo and Ortega 1976:153) and Antigua (Wing et al. 1968).

The bank and reef environment is the habitat of most of the fishes found in

archaeological middens in the West Indies. The most common reef fishes used for food

prehistorically are parrotfishes (Scaridae, particularly Sparisoma viride). Other common

reef fishes include seabasses (Serranidae), snappers (Lutjanidae), wrasses (Labridae,

particularly Bodianus rufus, Lachnolaimus maximus, and Halichoeres radiatus),

squirrelfishes (Holocentridae), surgeonfishes (Acanthurus sp.), grunts (Haemulidae), and

triggerfish (Balistes vetula, B. capriscus) (Wing and Reitz 1982, Wing and Kozuch

1998). In many Bahamian sites, parrotfishes constitute most of the vertebrate fauna

(Wing 1969). Among mollusks, Arca zebra, some murexes (Muricidae), and oysters

(Ostreidae) are found on or near banks and coral reefs.

Fewer species of fishes inhabit the offshore pelagic environment. The common

varieties are the flying fishes (Exocoetidae) and tunas and mackerals (Scombridae) (Wing

and Kozuch 1998; Wing and Reitz 1982). These species of fish should be more common





38


in middens on islands that have little reef development, where deep water is found just

off the coast, such as in Saba.

Many of the fish just mentioned will move between habitats during the day. The

blue runner (Caranx crysos), for example, is primarily pelagic but will sometimes visit

reefs (Humann 1996). Fish that move between inshore mangrove or rocky areas and the

reef include several species of snapper (Lutjanus griseus, L. apodus, L. synagris) and

hogfish (Lachnolaimus maximus). Barracudas (Sphyraena barracuda) also travel

between inshore and offshore environments.

The habitat in which an organism feeds influences the type of isotopic signature it

will have. Usually organisms of similar trophic levels feeding in the same environment

will have similar signatures although there are exceptions, such as Codakia orbicularis

which is symbiotic with sulfur bacteria and therefore has a different signature than other

benthic mollusks (Keegan and DeNiro 1988). Dietary interpretation of isotopic data from

human bones is compromised without knowing the 815N and 813C isotopic signatures of

the main food items thought to be included in the diet of the human population under

study. The isotopic signatures of various terrestrial and marine food items including

many of those just discussed are presented in the Results chapter.




What Did the Prehistoric West Indians Eat?


Various approaches have been taken to study the subsistence practices of the

prehistoric West Indians including zooarchaeology, archaeobotany, settlement patterns,

catchment analysis, economic and optimal foraging theory, osteochemical techniques and





39


biogeographic theory. After briefly reviewing these approaches, I will present the

theoretical framework for this study.

Questions of prehistoric subsistence in the West Indies were first raised by

Froelich Rainey (1940) when he proposed that two separate cultures had migrated into

the West Indies, the first subsisting primarily on land crabs and the later group subsisting

on mollusks. This change of focus from terrestrial foods to marine foods has since been

attributed to either population pressure causing a diversification in the subsistence base

(Goodwin 1980) or a pan-Caribbean climate change causing a reduction in land crab

populations (Carbone 1980).

Keegan (1985) incorporated economic and ecological models, particularly

optimal foraging, to suggest that prehistoric food choices were determined by what was

economically most logical. In other words, foods that gave the highest return in terms of

calories and protein for the least cost in terms of time would have been exploited first.

Lower return food items would have been added to the diet as the higher return items

became overexploited. With the exception of marine turtles and marine mammals,

terrestrial resources would have been the highest ranked food sources.

Settlement patterning and catchment analyses have been employed to predict and

explain what prehistoric groups would have been eating. For Antigua, Amerindians

exploited the resources closest to their settlements or alternatively, populations settled

closest to the resources that were most important to them (Davis 1982, 1995, Nodine

1987; Stokes 1991). The archaic sites on Antigua were located along the coast in areas

with abundant mollusk beds; ceramic-period sites were located along river beds for

access to good soils and fresh water. Seven prehistoric sites on Bonaire, dating from the





40


Archaic and ceramic periods, follow a similar pattern (Haviser 1991a, 1991b). These

analyses from Antigua and Bonaire provide additional data for the settlement model that

Irving Rouse has proposed for years (Rouse 1986, 1992).

Much of what we know about prehistoric subsistence has come from the

zooarchaeological and archaeobotanical studies of sites throughout the West Indies by

Elizabeth Wing and her students. Wing sees a temporal trend with the earliest ceramic-

groups exploiting more terrestrial resources than later in prehistory, when more marine

resources were used. She suggests that "immigrants [from the neotropical mainland]

attempted to duplicate their traditional customs and foodways as closely as possible"

(Wing 1989:144). Newsom (1993) reiterates this pattern of replicating mainland

subsistence habits in her archaeobotanical data. In the Lesser Antilles during preceramic

times, one-third of the faunal material (represented as minimum number of individuals,

MNI) came from terrestrial animals, during the Saladoid period approximately 38% of

the MNI were from terrestrial animals, and in the post-Saladoid period one-fifth was

terrestrial (Wing 1989). In the Greater Antilles, more than one third of the diet overall

was terrestrial and in the Bahamas, less than 20% was terrestrial. In spite of this general

pattern, Wing found specific situations where people ate whatever resources were closest

to their site. For example, sites located near extended reefs have primarily bones of

herbivorous and omnivorous fishes, sites located near patch reefs have mostly bones of

carnivorous fishes, and sites on high volcanic islands with narrow shelves have a higher

percentage of bones from pelagic fishes. An alternative explanation for this shift from

relatively more carnivorous fishes to relatively more herbivorous fishes in the diet is that

the carnivores were overexploited leading to increasing dependence on herbivores (Wing,





41


personal communication, November 18, 1998). Other general patterns are that sites in

the Greater Antilles have more inshore/estuarine animals than the Lesser Antilles and

Bahamas, and sites in the Greater Antilles and early ceramic-period sites in the Lesser

Antilles have more terrestrial animals than later sites in the Lesser Antilles and all

Bahamian sites (Wing 1989). These patterns will be explored further in the Results

chapter of this dissertation.




Island Biogeography


Island biogeography has been introduced to West Indian archaeology in a number

of recent papers. Most of these papers address how island biogeography can be applied

to archaeological questions, but do not actually apply any specific biogeographic models

to the analysis of archaeological data.

Keegan and Diamond (1987) reviewed the basic principles of island

biogeographic theory as developed to explain the distribution of plants and non-human

animals, and then discussed these principles in terms of human colonization of island

groups throughout the world. Their informative discussion of the West Indies still stands

as a good review of the basic principles of the theory, although archaeological research of

the past decade has considerably augmented the data they used pertaining to prehistoric

colonization and subsistence in the West Indies.

While reviewing prehistoric West Indian subsistence practices, Davis (1988:182)

stated that biogeographic theory will allow archaeologists to understand "processes of

prehistoric cultural change" through "colonization theory". However, he gave only a





42


very limited explanation of how this can be achieved and did not apply the principles to

any current problems in West Indian prehistory.

Dave Watters (1989) detailed how faunal material recovered from archaeological

sites can be used to examine endemism, geographic range, introductions, extinctions,

morphology and systematics of West Indian animals. A temporal perspective that

includes paleontological (pre-cultural) data is necessary if we are to examine human

impact on these animals. The paleontological data can supply information on the array

of animals available to human populations initially colonizing an island. Watters pointed

out the importance of having solid information on provenience and chronology for faunal

material if conclusions about change through time and human impact are to be drawn.

He also cautioned archaeologists and biogeographers to recognize the limits of their data.

For zooarchaeological material this includes recognizing that not all items included in the

diet of a people will be recovered from middens.

Wing and Wing (1995) applied the principles of island biogeographic theory to

terrestrial and marine faunal material recovered from ceramic-period sites in the West

Indies. Their study was undertaken in order to understand how humans adapt to their

environments. The authors found decreased diversity in the types of animals exploited

with a greater distance from the mainland source area. They also found greater diversity

in the number of species used for food on large islands versus smaller islands. These two

patterns can be expected for terrestrial animals since paleontological records indicate that

generally the larger islands (i.e. Greater Antilles) had more terrestrial species than the

smaller islands (i.e. Lesser Antilles, Bahamas) even before human impact (but see

below). Still, the positive correlation between island area and species richness may not





43

be quite so linear if the earliest human habitation sites on each island could be excavated

and the faunal record examined. A potential problem with their study is that both marine

and terrestrial faunas are included in their analyses. One of the basic assumptions of

island biogeography is that the fauna under study lives in a circumscribed environment.

Therefore species-area relationships and distance effects under the principles of

biogeography were formulated for terrestrial rather than marine faunas. Marine animals

are seldom endemic to any one island but typically have larval or adult age classes that

disperse freely and have no well proscribed "source area".

Island biogeographic theory examines the manner in which plants and animals

colonize islands, establish populations, and perhaps with time become extinct. True

island types are defined as either continental (with previous connections to continental

source areas) or oceanic (without such connections). The theory often has been extended

as well to habitat "islands" on continents. Islands can be colonized either through

vicariant (abiotic) or dispersal (biotic) means. The only likely cases of vicariant species

in the modem West Indian faunas are the insectivores discussed above. The main

mechanism for colonization of the West Indies has been by dispersal from mainland

South America and Central America, in many cases followed by inter-island dispersal

within the West Indies. Species have dispersed through four methods: sea water

flotation, rafting, and transport by birds, or by the wind (Carlquist 1965).

Species richness on an island is thought to be determined primarily by two

factors, the island area (size) and the degree of isolation (distance from the source area),

with a third factor, elevation, also exerting some influence (MacArthur and Wilson

1967:16-17). The species-area curve illustrates that with increased island size, a greater





44


number of species is likely to colonize the island (MacArthur and Wilson 1967:17). The

island size is important for several reasons. First, a larger island simply provides a larger

target for colonizing plants or animals, regardless of the means of dispersal. Size is also

important because the larger islands potentially can support larger populations that

increase chances of long-term survival. Thus more micro-habitats will develop, which in

turn can sustain a larger number of animals. Larger islands tend, on average, to be higher

in elevation (see below), yielding greater potential for topographic and/or climatic

heterogeneity.

The species-isolation curve illustrates that the number of species decreases with

distance from the source area (Lomolino 1994; MacArthur and Wilson 1967:17). In

other words, the farther away an island is from the source of potential colonists, the fewer

the types of plants and animals that can survive the dispersal event to colonize the island.

For example, coconuts disperse well because of their large floating seeds whereas less

durable types of fruit are not able to survive as long in salt water. Small mammals tend

to have a much greater chance of surviving an over-water journey than a large mammal

(Carlquist 1965) with notable exceptions such as elephants (Steadman and Martin in

press). Even once established, the survival rate of species decreases with greater

isolation because there is less chance that additional members of the species will reach

the island to augment the population, a phenomenon known as "the rescue effect"

(Thornton 1996).

A third factor in island colonization is the elevation of the island (Diamond and

Mayr 1976). High islands may provide more diverse habitats and may also be less likely

to be inundated by changes in sea level. Alternatively, high islands are less likely to have





45


a gentle slope along the shoreline. If it is difficult for non-volant propagules to land on

the island due to a steep, rocky shoreline, this will reduce the rate of colonizations. Other

factors affecting survival once a species reaches the island include whether adequate

habitat and food are present, whether similar species are competing for a niche, and the

reproductive potential of the propagule (population size, generation time, reproductive

rate, etc).

MacArthur and Wilson (1963, 1967) predict that the rates of immigration and of

extinction on any island eventually will offset each other to yield a state of equilibrium in

species richness. The rate of immigration will decrease as more species become

established on the island and there are fewer different species left in the source area that

have yet to colonize the island. This rate will also be affected by the dispersal ability of

the organism; those with the best dispersal abilities will colonize the island first

(Thornton 1996). Before equilibrium is attained, extinctions may increase as more

species being on the island results in greater competition and smaller population sizes

(MacArthur and Wilson 1967:22). The animals most susceptible to extinction are those

with large body mass that are easily affected by environmental change, limited food

choices (such as carnivores), or with specialized habitat requirements (Brown 1995).

After equilibrium is attained, the precise set of species present on an island will change

(i.e. "turnover") at some rate but the overall number of species will remain about the

same (Simberloff 1974:163; Thornton 1996). Turnover rates depend on several factors

aside from dispersal ability, changes in habitat, and competition between species.

Equilibrium is subject to the "area effect" which means that larger islands with greater

numbers of species will have lower rates of turnover. Islands close to the source area will





46


have a greater number of species present but because of the reliable source of new

propagules will also have a higher turnover rate than islands farther away from the source

area. This is called the "distance effect".

The equilibrium model is impressive in its simplicity and seemingly ubiquitous

applicability. Since its development by MacArthur and Wilson (1963), however, the

equilibrium model and the species-area relationships have been criticized for their

inability to consider entire biotas and to take into consideration habitat, genetic or

geographical diversity (Sauer 1969) and for failing to consider long time-scales or to

"blend quantitative theory satisfactorily with empirical data" (Steadman 1986:78).

Simberloff (1983:1275) criticizes the equilibrium model because of the "subjective

assessment of its most fundamental contention-that species number tends toward

equilibrium". The allowed coefficient of variation in the species number is broad and the

criteria for determining when equilibrium has been achieved are not always clearly

stated.

The size of an island does not necessarily determine the number of species an

island can support. In some instances, the number of habitats determines species richness

more than island size (Rosenzweig 1995). Also, island size can change due to volcanism,

tectonic uplift or subsidence, sea level change, or erosion. This criticism of the model

leads directly into the most obvious overlooked variable, that of time. Even though

Wilson and Taylor (1967) stated that faunas may not be at equilibrium in evolutionary

time, but only in a human time frame, this important qualifier has been overlooked by the

great majority of biogeographers. Although the rate of colonization theoretically declines

as fewer new species are available from the source area to colonize an island, there is no





47


reason to believe that with enough time, most if not all of the types of organisms found in

the source area will eventually disperse to and colonize the island. As mentioned above,

as more micro-habitats become present on the island, the island will be able to support

more species. By comparing old islands to younger islands, such as the Greater Antilles

to the Bahamas, it is apparent that size may have less to do with the number of species

than the time available for colonization (see below). In general, MacArthur and Wilson's

model may be applied to islands with no environmental change, no human impact, and

those islands where speciation has been absent or minimal (Brown 1995; Brown and

Lomolino 1989; Thornton 1996).

Equilibrium theory predicts some regular rate of extinction, yet all empirical

evidence would argue that extinctions on islands rarely occur in the absence of human

influences. Natural occurrences such as tropical storms (short term), reduced carrying

capacity (short or long term), major climatic changes (long term) and sea level rise (long

term) will impact floras and faunas (James 1995). As shown in the Galapagos, Polynesia

and the West Indies, nearly all extinction can be traced to humans who hunt the animals,

clear tracts of land for agriculture which in turn destroys habitats, introduce foreign

species (predators), introduce diseases, and interrupt interspecific relationships (Athens

1997; Case 1996; Steadman 1986, 1991, 1993).

The older an island is the richer the diversity of plant and animal species.

Therefore, the Greater Antilles have more diversity and higher endemism than the Lesser

Antilles and Bahamas because they are older, larger, have more relief, have a much

different tectonic history and have been closer to continental source areas (see Geology

section of this chapter). The Lesser Antilles were formed along a subduction zone;





48


individual Lesser Antillean islands have only been above sea level for less than 10 my

(Mann et al. 1990). All plants and animals found on those islands reached the islands by

dispersal. When sea level was 120 m lower than today during the glacial maximum

(18,000 BP), a significantly larger area of the Bahamas was exposed which provided a

larger target for species to colonize these islands. The Bahama islands were formed over

the last 200 million years but were submerged during the Sangamon high sea level stand

120,000 to 130,000 BP. Therefore, all of the flora and fauna has colonized these islands

fairly recently, much of it from the Greater Antilles. As a result, the Bahamas in

particular have a depauperate biota with little endemism.

In order to interpret prehistoric diet, it is ideal to know what animals were

potentially available to prehistoric peoples on each island as reconstructed from the

paleontological records, and whether any species went extinct due to human colonization.

It is also important to determine which of those species we find most commonly in

middens and what evidence there is for conservation, management of species or inter-

island introduction by Amerindians. The most important dietary issues that can be

addressed using isotopes are: 1. To what extent were the prehistoric West Indians

exploiting marine or terrestrial protein sources?, 2. Is there any evidence for maize or

other C4 grasses in the diet? 3. How does the diet change through time and between

islands of different size?

In this study of prehistoric West Indian diet, I will be seeking answers to these

questions by examining several isotopic variables within a framework derived from

island biogeography. 1. Area of the island (how diet differs between large islands and

small islands). 2. Elevation, how the diet differs between humans living on low





49


limestone islands versus those living on high volcanic islands. 3. Distance from the

mainland source area, how this affected the exploitation of terrestrial plants and animals.

4. Time, when potential diet items went extinct, whether it was due to humans, and how

human diet changed through time due to changes in resource abundance..













CHAPTER 3
PREHISTORY OF THE WEST INDIES




Archaeological research in the West Indies has been ongoing since the early

1900s. Some of the major questions concerning migrations, settlement patterning, and

subsistence, however, are still unresolved as a result of limited, poor, and unpublished

research. Historic accounts make the reconstruction of indigenous life in the West Indies

at and just prior to contact easier and more accurate. Farther back in time, our knowledge

of the origins, cultural distinctions and interactions among people are less well

understood. I expect and hope that many of these issues will be resolved through well-

executed and published research in the next decade.

In this chapter, I will synthesize what has been theorized about the prehistory of

the West Indies, beginning with the earliest migrations of foragers continuing until

contact with European cultures in the late 15th century. I will follow the nomenclature

developed by Rouse (1952, 1989,1992) and Vescelius (1980) for the prehistoric

inhabitants of the West Indies in which the cultural periods named after the type sites are

divided into "series" designated by the suffix -oid, and "sub-series", designated by the

suffix -an.









50





51


Aceramic Period (4000 B.C. to 400 B.C.)


During the aceramic period, two cultural groups inhabited the West Indies (Rouse

1992). The Lithic culture, called the Casimiran Casimiroid group (4000-2000 B.C.) is

known only in Cuba and Hispaniola. The only material culture recovered from Lithic

sites is flaked stone tools. The Lithic culture of these two islands developed in situ into

the Archaic culture (Redondan Casimiroid in Cuba and the Courian Casimiroid in

Hispaniola) in situ by about 2000 B.C. with the addition of ground stone tools, bone tools

and shell tools. In the Lesser Antilles, the Archaic period begins around 2500 B.C. with

the migration of a separate cultural group (Ortoiroid) from South America who, like the

Archaic groups in the Greater Antilles, manufactured tools of ground stone, flaked stone,

shell and bone.

The distinction between the Lithic and Archaic cultures of the West Indies is

vague. The origin, subsistence base and migration patterns of the peoples who produced

the material culture are not well understood. Rouse (1992) distinguishes the Lithic from

the Archaic based on differences in the types of tools found on the sites. Equally

plausible explanations for the variation in tool types at aceramic sites would be that they

result from differential access to resources such as chert and shell, differences in

subsistence base related to habitat proximity to the site, technological changes in

procuring resources, or restricted access to certain resources based on competition

between groups. These theories need to be explored through new research.





52


Lithic Period (Casimiran Casimiroid 4000 B.C. to 2000 B.C.)

The earliest inhabitants of the West Indies were foragers, referred to as the

Casimiroid culture, who settled Cuba and Hispaniola around 4000 B.C. (Rouse 1960,

1986, 1992). Casimiroid origins are still debated as either Central America or South

America. Rouse supports the Central American origin due to proximity of Central

America to the Greater Antilles and the presumed similarity of the material culture (see

Rouse 1992:56). A computer simulation model (Callaghan 1990a, 1990b), considering

trade winds and currents, shows that traveling would be easier to Cuba from South

America than from Central America. By contrast, Irwin (1992), has pointed out that for

purposeful colonization, humans are more likely to set out on a route against the

prevailing winds and currents. This helps to ensure a relatively safe return voyage to

their home area, versus allowing the winds and currents to dictate their travel into an area

that is unknown. Irwin's concepts were developed to explain the peopling of Polynesia,

an oceanic region much more vast than the West Indies. The precise differences in

sailing technology and ability between early colonists of the West Indies versus Oceania

are speculative. Based upon the very late discoveries of many West Indian islands (i.e.

Bahamas; Keegan 1985) and the absence of prehistoric cultural evidence on selected

islands (i.e. Grand Cayman; Stokes and Keegan 1996), one might guess that the long-

distance sailing skills of prehistoric West Indian peoples did not match those of

Austronesian speaking peoples in Oceania (see Kirch 1996).

Two additional theories to explain colonization of the West Indies have been

proposed. The first is that the preceramic cultures result from contact between Cuba and

the Mississippi Valley (Febles 1991). The second theory, related to the first, is that the





53


preceramic cultures have an origin somewhere in North America (Rey Bettancourt and

Garcia Rodriguez 1988). Neither of these theories has received much attention because

of the great dissimilarities in material assemblages between North America and the West

Indies (Davis 1995:11).

Part of the problem in determining the origin of the Lithic culture is a paucity of

good scientific research. Most archaeologists prefer to concentrate on ceramic sites.

Also, most Lithic age sites seem to be small, temporary camps that are difficult to locate

and interpret. Coastal sites of the early Lithic, and even later Archaic, may now be

submerged by sea level change or tectonic activity. About 5000 years ago, sea level may

have been as much as 7 meters lower than today (Fairbanks 1989; Watters et al. 1992).

To date, sites of the Lithic culture have been identified only on Cuba and Hispaniola.

With further research, they may be found to be present on Puerto Rico and Jamaica as

well (Pantel 1988). The earliest lithic sites are the Levisa rockshelter site in Cuba dated

to 4190 B.C. and the Vignier III site, an open air site on the west coast of Haiti dated to

3600 B.C. (Allaire 1997a; Kozlowski 1974; Rouse 1992). As with most preceramic sites,

the chronologies of these sites are tentative because most of the radiocarbon dates were

derived from marine shell, sometimes from surface collections, and often have not been

corrected for marine reservoir effects or '3C/'2C ratios, nor have the dates been calibrated

properly into calendar ages.

The Casimiran Casimiroid peoples were foragers whose stone tool kit included

large macroblades (rarely with any retouch) and prismatic cores (Rouse 1992; Pantel

1988) although scrapers, gravers, awls, and hammerstones have been reported from the

Barrera-Mordan site in the Dominican Republic (Veloz and Vega 1982). Allaire (1997a)





54


has suggested that the Lithic peoples may have been attracted to Cuba and Hispaniola for

the chert resources. A second possibility is that since they were the first humans to

inhabit the islands, they were attracted to the islands by the rich terrestrial and marine

fauna that had never been exploited by humans.

Subsistence among the Lithic cultures may have been primarily terrestrially

oriented (Rouse 1992:61), primarily marine oriented (Petersen 1997:119), or both (Veloz

and Vega 1982:40). As mentioned above, these early inhabitants had many food choices

and probably exploited every habitat for which the technology was available. Although

primarily foragers, the Lithic cultures may have practiced some incipient horticulture

(Davis 1988; Veloz Maggiolo 1991).

Archaic Period (Casimiroid 2000 B.C. to 400 B.C.: Ortoiroid 2500 B.C. to 400 B.C)

The Lithic peoples persisted in Cuba and Hispaniola until sometime in the second

millenium B.C. when the Casimiroid series developed in situ into what Rouse considers

two separate Archaic cultures, the Redondan Casimiroid in Cuba and the Courian

Casimiroid in Hispaniola (Rouse 1992:57-62). These two groups differ from their Lithic

ancestors by the addition of ground stone tools (single and double-bitted axes, hammer-

grinders, conical pestles) along with manos and metates presumably used to grind plant

foods. These cultures have a similar tool kit to the Archaic groups, called Ortoiroid, who

entered the Lesser Antilles around 2000 B.C. The Ortioroid, named after the Ortoire site

in Trinidad, settled mainly in the Leeward Islands and northwestward into Puerto Rico,

although preceramic sites have been reported in Martinique (Henri Petitjean-Roget 1976).

Most archaeologists support the theory that Ortoiroid peoples originated in South

America around the Orinoco Delta (Harris 1973, 1976; Rouse 1992:62; Rouse and





55


Cruxent 1963:58-59) although the origins and relationships of the Casimiroid and the

Ortoiroid are poorly understood; they may in fact be the same culture. At the Whitehead

Bluff site in Anguilla, dated to 1500 to 1400 B.C., elements of both Casimiroid and

Ortoiroid cultures are present (Crock et al. 1995). The Casimiroid elements include shell

vessels like those found in the Dominican Republic (Veloz Maggiolo and Ortega 1976)

and Cuba (Izquierdo Diaz 1988). Shell celts, characteristic of the Ortoiroid culture, are

present as well (Rouse 1992). Hammerstones were recovered but no ground stone tools,

manos, or metates. Even though the Casimiroid/Ortoiroid frontier is supposed to be in

Puerto Rico, the division between Casimiroid and Ortoiroid is likely to become

exceedingly murky with additional research.

As with the Lithic cultures, the subsistence of Archaic groups is poorly

understood because of inadequate recovery of faunal and archaeobotanical remains. By

default, the Archaic cultures are characterized as hunter-gatherers with subsistence

strategies inferred from settlement location (Davis 1995; Watters and Rouse 1989).

Ortoiroid sites are usually coastal and have shell middens, suggesting a maritime

subsistence concentrating on mollusks with some fishes, such as at Whitehead Bluff,

Anguilla (Crock et al. 1995), Jolly Beach, Antigua (Davis 1974; Olsen 1976), Sugar

Factory Pier, St. Kitts (Goodwin 1978), and Krum Bay, St. Thomas (Bullen and Sleight

1963; Lundberg 1989). Casimiroid sites, on the other hand, are located either on the

coast or inland suggesting a mixed terrestrial/marine orientation (Rouse 1992; Veloz and

Ortega 1976; Veloz Maggiolo 1977). It is logical that humans will exploit whatever food

resources are easiest to procure as long as social taboos or technological limitations do





56


not forbid it. In fact, the various tool kits identified at different Lithic and Archaic sites

may be the result of local procurement strategies rather than innate cultural differences.

Archaic peoples have been traditionally categorized as foragers although

archaeobotanical data suggest that Archaic groups may have been gardening and

practicing arboriculture as well as gathering (Lundberg 1989; Newsom 1993). From the

Heywoods site in Barbados (1630 B.C., corrected shell date), Newsom (1993) has

identified manchineel (Hippomane mancinella), Guiana plum (Orypetes sp.) and palm

(Palmae). Mastic-bully (Mastichodendronfoetidissimum) and trianthema (Trianthema

portulaca) have been recovered from Krum Bay (Pearsall 1983). The recovery of

primrose (Oenothera sp.) at the Archaic site of Hickman's Shell Heap in Nevis may be

evidence that Archaic populations gardened or tended plants (Newsom 1993:141).

Sapotaceae fruit was recovered from the Archaic Krum Bay site in St. Thomas; if the

seeds represent Manilkara zapota, this would be the earliest record of a housegarden

species in the West Indies (Newsom 1993:141; Pearsall 1989). Cupey (also called false

mamey, Clusia rosea) and zamia (Zamia debilis) have been found at Cueva de Berna in

southeastern Hispaniola (Veloz Maggiolo 1991, 1992; Veloz Maggiolo and Vega 1982).

Ground stone grinding tools (manos and metates) are also present in Archaic sites (Harris

1973, 1976; Petersen 1997; Veloz Maggiolo and Vega 1982). In other tropical forest

areas, grinding tools have been associated with wild or semi-domesticated panicoid

grasses (Newsom 1993:21). Preceramic horticulture has been documented at many sites

in North, Central, and South America so there is little reason to believe that preceramic

West Indian peoples possessed no forms of plant domestication (Pearsall 1995; Wills

1995).





57





Ceramic Period (400 B.C.to A.D. 1500)


The preceramic cultures of the West Indies probably persisted until contact was

made with the ceramic-using horticulturalists who entered the archipelago from the

Orinoco River Valley region and the Guianas of South America around 400 B.C. (Allaire

1997a; Haviser 1997; Rouse 1992). There are three separate views on the origin of the

earliest ceramic-using peoples in the West Indies (Haviser 1997; Siegel 1989).

Early Ceramic Period/Saladoid Period

Irving Rouse (1989, 1992) believes that the earliest ceramic-using peoples to enter

the West Indies were horticulturalists who originated in the Orinoco River Valley region.

They manufactured elaborate pottery vessels, characteristically in an inverted-bell shape,

with white-on-red (WOR) painting and elaborate zoned-incised-crosshatching (ZIC)

designs. This cultural group is called Saladoid, after the type site of Saladero on the

Orinoco River, Venezuela. The two forms of pottery may indicate a "duality" within the

Saladoid culture representing either different family lineages or a subgroup that diverged

at the northern end of the migration (Rouse 1992:89). Regardless, Rouse divides the

Saladoid period into the Huecan Saladoid, associated with ZIC, and the Cedrosan

Saladoid, associated with WOR.

The Saladoid peoples entered the Lesser Antilles around 500 B.C. and originally

settled on the higher, volcanic islands of the Lesser Antilles, into the Virgin Islands, and

Puerto Rico (Rouse 1992:77; Watters 1980). Rouse suggests that the Saladoid groups

were halted in their migration at this point by the preceramic groups living in Hispaniola.





58


However, the Saladoid groups must have encountered Archaic peoples in the Lesser

Antilles as well. Perhaps the populations of Archaic peoples in Hispaniola simply were

too large to be assimilated or replaced by Saladoid peoples.

Influences between Archaic and Saladoid peoples can be evaluated at the El

Caimito site on the southeastern tip of Hispaniola. Rouse's theory is that interaction

between the Hacienda Grande people, an early Saladoid group living in Western Puerto

Rico (and one site on eastern Hispaniola), and the El Porvenir people of the Courian

Casimiroid series living in Eastern Hispaniola, gave rise to the El Caimito style of

ceramics that dates from 350 B.C. to A.D. 120 (Rouse 1989:390-391). For Rouse and

others (Rouse 1992:90-92; Veloz Maggiolo 1980; Veloz Maggiolo, Ortega and Pina

1974), this would explain the occurrence at the El Caimito site of crude pottery along

with Casimiroid artifacts such as large flint blades, manos and metates, double-bitted

axes, and one stone vessel with incising and punctation. I disagree that El Caimito

represents contact between the Archaic and Saladoid groups. If they were in contact, we

should find trade goods such as well-made pottery at El Caimito rather than vessels made

of stone, which easily could have been made by the Archaic groups who were proficient

at ground stone work.

Early Ceramic Migration

Haviser (1997) has proposed that ceramic-using peoples migrated from the

Guianas into the West Indies just prior to the Saladoid migration. His theory is based on

the excavation of a small midden at Hope Estate in St. Martin that has an early

(uncalibrated) radiocarbon date of 560-350 B.C. The pottery in this Early Ceramic

midden lacks painting and ZIC and is thin, with zoned puntation, curvilinear incising





59


(particularly the use of spirals), appliqued nubbins and zoomorphic lugs with holes for

attachments such as feathers (Haviser 1991c:653-654). A separate and larger midden on

the site with Saladoid-type ceramics dates from 325 B.C. to A.D. 460. Haviser

(1991c:655) suggests that the Early Ceramic group is a hybridization of the Archaic and

Ceramic developmental stages. The subsistence base seems to be much more terrestrially

oriented than during later ceramic periods. Sites of the Early Ceramic period have also

been reported from Puerto Rico that are thought to represent a hybridization of the Early

Ceramic peoples with the Saladoid, as explained below (Haviser 1991c:655).

Huecan Saladoid

Several sites have been identified that contain ZIC pottery but no evidence for

WOR decoration. On this basis it has been suggested that there was a pre-Saladoid

migration or a migration of peoples roughly contemporaneous with the Saladoid

migration that produced ZIC pottery (Chanlatte Baik and Narganes Storde 1984, 1989).

At the Sorc6 site in Vieques, for example, a component termed "La Hueca" contains

purely ZIC pottery along with elaborate lapidary artifacts such as bird head pendants

carved from exotic stones and elaborate ritual items such as containers for inhaling or

ingesting presumably halucinogenic substances. Another purely ZIC component has

been identified at Punta Candalero on the SE coast of Puerto Rico (Rodriguez 1989,

1997; Rodriguez and Rivera 1991). ZIC and WOR have been found in mixed

components at several sites in Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles (Alegria 1965;

Peterson and Watters 1995; Rodriguez 1989; Rodriguez and Rivera 1991; Roe 1989;

Rouse 1952). Although the radiocarbon dates reported for these sites are often

uncorrected and uncalibrated, my interpretation following Rodriguez (1989) is that there








were at least two migrations of ceramic bearing inhabitants more than 2000 years ago.

Both groups originated in South America. Trading of pottery or pottery styles between

these groups eventually resulted in assemblages with both ZIC and WOR, suggesting an

acculturation between the two early ceramic-using peoples.

Regardless of the migration routes, the settlement patterning of the early ceramic

or Saladoid migrants is very similar. The early ceramic-using peoples settled the Lesser

Antilles, Puerto Rico and the eastern tip of Hispaniola within several hundred years

(Callahan 1995; Petersen 1997; Pregill et al. 1994; Rouse 1992:92). No Saladoid sites

have been found in western Hispaniola, Jamaica or Cuba. The absence of sites in

Jamaica may be due to a sampling error or geographic isolation. The lack of Saladoid

sites in Cuba and Hispaniola has been attributed to a barrier created by the preceramic

groups already established in these islands.

Saladoid Social and Economic Organization

The Saladoid probably were organized into "complex tribes" with status

differentiation and communal activities but no centralized authority (Allaire 1997a:23;

Siegel 1989). The early Saladoid sites were small villages with large pole and thatch

houses for as many as 60 people arranged around a central plaza that at some sites serves

as the cemetery (Curet 1992a, 1992b; Haviser 1997; Righter 1997; Siegel 1996; Versteeg

and Schinkel 1992). Saladoid settlements were situated both inland and along the coast

(Curet 1992b; Siegel 1992). The earliest Saladoid peoples are thought to have focused

their subsistence upon terrestrial animals that would have been easier to procure and less

costly than the marine species (Keegan 1985; Rouse 1992).





61

The Saladoid were horticulturists whose staple crop may have been manioc,

supplemented by other tubers, legumes, and house garden plants. Although no manioc

tubers have been recovered from Saladoid sites, their reliance on manioc is inferred from

the recovery of ceramic griddles. Tended plants were supplemented by wild varieties that

could be gathered. The Saladoid peoples may have brought some plants with them from

South America such as the Panama tree (Sterculia apetala) (Newsom 1993:176).

Saladoid Material Culture

During the Saladoid period, the ceramics are diverse in shape and highly

decorative with white on red painting (WOR), polychrome painting in red, white and

black, zoned incised crosshatching (ZIC), and painting combined with incising (Rouse

1992:82). The Saladoid groups continued to produce chert artifacts but the flakes and

blades were much smaller and less well made than those of the preceramic groups. Like

the preceramic groups, stone axes and shell adzes and other shell tools were produced,

perhaps influenced by the preceramic peoples that the Saladoid migrants encountered

(Rouse 1992:84). That the Saladoid had a rich religious belief system and mythology is

suggested by the presence of incense burners and three-pointed stones called zemis. This

religious system later became elaborated into Taino ancestor worship (Allaire 1997a:24;

Roe 1989; Siegel 1992). Inter-island and mainland trade are indicated by ornamental

items such as carved pendants, some made from stone imported from outside of the West

Indies, and other trade items such as shell beads and jewelry made from semi-precious

stones (Allaire 1997a; Boomert 1987; Watters 1997).

The ceramic assemblage in the Lesser Antilles was influenced by the Barrancoid

culture of South America by A.D. 350 (Allaire 1997a:24; Rouse 1992:127). This





62


fluorescence of decorative styles is best represented in the elaborate modeled incising on

handles, adomos and incense burners (Allaire 1997a:25). The Barrancoid influence may

have been as far-reaching as the Greater Antilles but seems to have lasted only until

around A.D. 500 after which there is a marked difference in the pottery styles.

Saladoid/Ostionoid Transition

During the late Saladoid period (A.D. 100-600), larger and more numerous

settlements indicate that the population of the West Indies was increasing.

Zooarchaeological evidence from sites of this time period indicate that humans may have

been overexploiting terrestrial animals (Reitz 1994; Wing and Scudder 1980; Wing 1995)

and suffering from reduced crop production (Newsom 1993:15). Although a shift from

terrestrial to marine resources is generally well accepted, deFrance (1989) and Siegel

(1992) propose that no such shift occured but instead the Saladoid already derived the

majority of the protein in their diet from marine sources. Several authors have noted a

shift in zooarchaeological assemblages throughout the West Indies from land crabs in the

lower levels to marine mollusks in the higher levels. The reason has been attributed to

two separate cultures (Rainey 1940), environmental change (Carbone 1980), population

pressure necessitating diversification of the resource base (Goodwin 1980), or a change

in procurement strategies based on the cost of obtaining food items (Keegan 1989).

However, the abundance of land crab remains in the lower levels of sites may have little

to do with cultural deposits, but may instead be a result of the natural tendency of land

crabs to excavate burrows in soft sediments (Allen and Steadman 1990).

A change in the material culture around A.D. 600 signals a cultural change most

pronounced along the Saladoid-Casimiroid frontier (Rouse 1992:90). The change may





63


have been due to immigration of people from South America (Zucchi et al. 1984),

conflict resulting in warfare and subsequent aggregation for defense against the

preceramic groups still inhabiting Hispaniola and Cuba (Siegel 1992), or socio-cultural

implications of increasing population (Keegan 1985). Regardless, pottery styles

throughout the region become less homogenous (Keegan, in press). Technological

innovations may also have occurred during this time period leading to the use of new

fishing techniques such as nets and traps (Wing and Reitz 1982) and the terracing of

hillsides for increased agricultural yields (Ortiz Aguilu et al. 1991).

Post-Saladoid in the Lesser Antilles

In the Lesser Antilles, the post-Saladoid period was a time of regional division in

pottery styles indicative of local cultural development. This period (A.D. 800-1250) in

the Leeward Islands and the Virgin Islands is not well-understood. The number and size

of sites in the Leeward Islands point toward a population explosion. For instance, 17 of

the 19 ceramic period archaeological sites on Nevis are post-Saladoid (Wilson 1989:436).

Subsistence emphasis shifted from land crabs (perhaps) and other terrestrial animals to

marine protein including mollusks and fishes (Carbone 1980; Rouse 1992:94). Pottery

became less elaborate in vessel form and decoration although pottery styles became

locally diverse (Hofman 1993; Rouse 1992:124;). ZIC disappeared and WOR painting

was confined to rectilinear designs.

Hoogland (1996:220) has suggested that the local diversity in pottery assemblages

in post-Saladoid times is evidence that the Saladoid social system broke down into small

aggregates that then developed along local trajectories. The greater number of sites

resulted not only from population growth but also from increased mobility reflecting





64


shifting alliances and changing interaction spheres. Aggregation of these local

communities gave rise either to complex tribes (Hoogland 1996:220) or simple

chiefdoms (Haviser 1991a)-precursors to the rise of Taino chiefdoms in the Greater

Antilles. Late in prehistory, the northern Lesser Antilles and the Virgin Islands came

under the influence of Greater Antillean Taino chiefdoms. Chican Ostionoid design

elements occur in the pottery styles and a "Taino outpost" has been suggested on Saba at

the Kelby's Ridge 2 site (Hoogland 1996:221). If the northern Lesser Antilles were

being incorporated into the Tainan economic and socio-political system (Hoogland

1996:221-222), these satellite settlements were used either for resource extraction or as

gateways for trade and communication with the Windward Islands and the South

American mainland.

The pottery made during this period in the Windward Islands, called Troumassoid

(A.D. 700-1000) is crudely made and exhibits Barrancoid elements including red, black,

and white painting, curvilinear incising, modeled-incised decoration, and wedge shaped

lugs (Allaire 1997a; Bullen and Bullen 1972; Rouse 1992:128). The pottery became

plainer during the late Troumassoid period. A local development was the manufacture of

footed griddles, the use of which never spread to the Greater Antilles or mainland South

America. The Suazoid series (A.D. 1000-1450) followed the Troumassoid series from

Martinique south to Grenada and Barbados (Drewitt 1991). No Suazoid sites have been

found to include European artifacts, which has led archaeologists to conclude that the

Suazey did not survive to European arrival (Allaire 1977, 1991; Rouse and Allaire 1978).

The Suazoid may be direct descendents of the Saladoid peoples, since there is no

evidence for intervening migrations (Allaire 1977; Allaire 1991:716). Like their





65


ancestors, the Suazey were slash and bur horticulturalists who relied heavily on manioc

supplemented by hunting and fishing, and particularly turtling as evidenced by the

abundance of turtle remains found at the Macabou and Anse Trabaud sites on Martinique

(Allaire 1991:718). The settlements are usually located along mangroves where mollusks

are abundant and near coral reefs (Allaire 1997a). Suazey ceramics are often considered

the most poorly made ceramics in the West Indies. Most vessels are bulky with little

decoration except finger indention along the rim and exterior scratched surfaces. A small

percentage of Suazey ceramics are better made, being thinner with red paint or incising.

Flat-faced human-looking adornos are characteristic of the Suazoid series (Allaire

1997a). The reason for the decline of the Suazey prior to A.D. 1450 (Rouse and Allaire

1978) and their extinction is not well understood, but it is probably due to conflict or

competition with the Island Carib.

Island Carib

A major debate in West Indian archaeology concerns the relationship between the

Suazey and the Island Carib. Whether these two groups co-existed in the islands or the

Island Caribs moved into a niche vacated by the Suazey or even replaced the Suazey by

force will have to await more research. A lack of continuity in the material assemblage

and differences in settlement patterns have led Allaire (1991, 1997a) to conclude that

they are two separate peoples. Suazey were descendents of the earliest ceramic

immigrants while the Island Carib were a late prehistoric migration into the Windward

Islands from South America.

Europeans who encountered the Island Carib in the Windward Islands noted

differences between these peoples and the Taino of the Greater Antilles and Bahamas.





66


The Island Carib used bow and arrows, raided villages, were described as being

cannibals, had a men's house in the center of the village, had a tribal level of social

organization where a war chief was designated as necessary for raids, and produced

alcoholic beverages (Allaire 1997a). Island Carib settlements as recorded by Father

Breton (1978) in the 17th century were usually located in humid areas reminiscent of

mainland tropical rain forests with less emphasis on a maritime economy (Allaire

1991:718). This is in contrast to the Suazey sites that were usually located on the arid

southeastern part of the island (Pinchon 1952 cited in Allaire 1991). The Island Carib

probably were Arawakan speakers who used a Carib-based pidgin during trading with the

Carib-speaking Indians of Guyana (Cooper 1997:187).

The best candidate for Island Carib pottery is that from the Cayo site in St.

Vincent and other sites in the Windward Islands dating from A.D. 1250 (Allaire 1997b).

Cayo pottery has elements of Suazey pottery (finger-indenting, scratched surfaces and red

slip) as well as elements similar to late prehistoric pottery from the Guianas (lobed rims,

deep V-incisions in curvilinear motifs, punctation, cleat-shaped lugs, nicked applique

fillets, and abundant quartz temper (Boomert 1986). Cayo pottery underlies Suazey

pottery at the Camden Park site in St. Vincent, supporting the hypothesis that the Suazey

and Island Carib may have co-existed for a time (Boomert 1986).

Tainos

The Ostionoid period (A.D. 600-1500) in the Greater Antilles was a time of

population advance to the north into the Bahamian Archipelago and west along the coasts

of Hispaniola into Jamaica and Cuba. Rouse has divided the early Ostionoid period into

the Elenan Ostionoid in eastern Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and Ostionan





67


Ostionoid in western Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. During this period, the

Archaic groups that had inhabited Hispaniola and Cuba probably were assimilated into

the Ostionoid groups (Veloz Maggiolo 1997). Settlements of this period are found both

along the coast and in the interior. The Ostionoid groups like their Saladoid predecessors

were horticulturalists; the terracing of hillsides (Ortiz Aguilu et al. 1991) and the

construction of conucos (planted rows of montones, or small earthen mounds) (Rouse

1992) indicate an intensification of horticultural production. The early Ostionoid period

was one of increasing emphasis on marine foods over terrestrial protein, particularly land

crabs (Rouse 1992). Although marine mollusk exploitation did increase, the majority of

the protein in the diet was likely derived from marine fishes (Keegan 1989).

Early Ostionan and Elenan pottery retains some characteristics of Saladoid such

as tab lugs and strap handles (Curet 1992b:56). White, black, and orange paint fall out of

use; only red slipping is used, often over the entire vessel (Rouse 1992:95). Strap

handles that rise above the rim replace the D-shaped handles of the Saladoid period.

Elenan pottery (Monserrate style) is thicker and coarser with roughened surfaces; vessels

from the early part of the period have out-turned rims while later incurving rims are more

common (Curet 1992b:56). Ostionan Ostionoid vessels have thin, smooth walls and

include hammock shape platters, globular bowls and bowls with individual

compartments. Modeling and incising are reintroduced, especially represented by

zoomorphic and anthropomorphic adorno handles. Ostionan pottery in eastern

Hispaniola is decorated by applique with limbs, feet, and zoomorphic faces as well as

vertical bands and linear hatch. On western Hispaniola, no body appliques are used but

instead dots and incised applique designs are common (Rouse 1992).





68

The apparent "devolution" in the material culture juxtaposed against the apparent

increase in the economic, socio-political and religious complexity at the beginning of the

Ostionoid period has been attributed to numerous causes. Some researchers have argued

that the change was due to a new migration of people from South America (Alegria 1965;

Rainey 1940). Others have attributed the "devolution" to local developments in styles of

ceramics (Rouse 1952, 1982, 1986), to changes in the ideological structure of the society

(Veloz Maggiolo 1974), to a change in the subsistence practices possibly due to an

increase in population (Goodwin 1978, 1980), or to a change from the tropical forest

adaptation to an insular adaptation (Pons Alegria 1983). Combining several of these

ideas, Roe (1989) suggests that the disruption of trading networks the Saladoid had

established with peoples living in South America curbed the flow of ideas and symbolic

messages, thus causing a "devolution" of ceramic quality. Curet (1992b:61) suggests that

the change in material culture is related to social complexity, with an emerging elite

group controling symbols and ideology thus placing themselves as intermediaries

between the commoners and the supernatural. Fewer religious artifacts including zemis,

snuffing vessels and personal adornments in archaeological sites may be evidence for

increasing communal ceremonialism (Curet 1992b:329).

A site hierarchy is recognizable in the Ostionan settlement patterning (Curet

1992b). At the beginning of the period, large houses for extended families were arranged

around an open plaza, but later, at least in Puerto Rico, houses were smaller as if built

only for a nuclear family. Open plazas were replaced with stone lined plazas either in the

center of a village or on the outskirts. Burials were placed either in the central plazas, in

cemeteries outside the settlements, under house floors, or in middens. Keegan and





69


Maclachlan (1989) have suggested that during this period, the groundwork was laid for

evolution of the sociopolitical organization of the Taino chiefdoms--a matrilineal

inheritance and matrilocal residence pattern.

Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos

The earliest evidence of prehistoric habitation in the Bahamian Archipelago was

during the Ostionan period, at least by A.D. 750 (Keegan 1997). The earliest site, GT-3

on Grand Turk, contains only imported pottery of the Ostionan style (Keegan 1997). The

pottery produced in the Bahamas of red loam with burned and crushed conch shell temper

is called Palmetto ware. A very small percentage of the Palmetto ware sherds from the

Bahamas are decorated; the design motifs are Meillacan and are executed around the rim

of the vessel (Keegan 1992:52). Sites with Chican and Meillacan pottery (described

below) have been found through much of the Bahamas.

The reasons for settling the Bahamas have been given as population pressure in

the Greater Antilles that forced movement into new areas (Veloz Maggiolo 1991), access

to salt as a valued trade item (Sullivan 1981), or the draw of a pristine environment with

abundant, unexploited resources (Keegan 1985). All of the large islands and even some

of the smaller ones were settled by the contact period although settlement was denser in

the southern islands, closer to the Greater Antillean source area. In his settlement survey

of the Bahamian Archipelago, Keegan (1985, 1992) found a statistically significant

pattern to the settlements. Keegan found that sites in the Bahamas occur in pairs. With

the growing population and increased sociopolitical integration, the pairs may be based

upon matrilineal moieties or avunculocal residence among an emerging dominant lineage

(Keegan 1992:84,107).





70

The Taino (known in the Bahamas as the Lucayans) may have had satellite

settlements headed by chiefs in the Bahamian Archipelago. Two sites found on Middle

Caicos have plaza areas similar to those recorded in the Greater Antilles. MC-6 is

located along an estuary adjacent to salt ponds; the site has two plaza areas and what may

be a cacique's (chief) house between them (Sullivan 1981). The larger plaza has stones

placed to align with certain celestial bodies and events. The site has also produced items

traded into the Bahamas such as greenstone celts and other high status items.

Taino Material Culture

Around A.D. 900, the Ostionans in southeastern Hispaniola evolved into a culture

defined by the Chican pottery style while in north-central Hispaniola the Meillacan

culture evolved (Rouse 1992:107). In the Bahamas, the Lucayan culture developed from

the Ostionan as a result of contact with the Greater Antilles (Keegan 1997). The

Meillacan culture spread through western Hispaniola, Jamaica and Cuba through contact

with the Ostionans (Rouse 1992:107). After A.D. 1200, the Chican culture expanded east

to the Virgin Island and northern Lesser Antilles and westward through Hispaniola with

pockets represented in Cuba replacing the Meillacan pottery style.

Meillacan pottery is thin and hard but unlike in earlier periods is unpainted.

Design elements characteristic of Meillacan potterery include combinations of applique

and incising, punctation, appliqued limbs, zoomorphic, wedge and cylindrical lugs and

horizontal parallel line incising. Bowls with inturned shoulders are the most common

vessel (Rouse 1992:97). The designs are usually rectilinear and occur between the rim

and shoulder. The incising and punctation on Meillacan ceramics may have been

incorporated into the Meillacan culture during assimilation of the Courian Casimiroid





71


culture (Rouse 1992:97). Alternatively, incising on Meillacan vessels may have been

introduced to the Greater Antilles from the Guianas (Veloz Maggiolo et al. 1981; Zucchi

1990, 1991). Meillacan artifacts also include clay griddles as well as stone, shell, and

bone tools (Rouse 1992:98). Settlements with Meillacan pottery are found well inland or

on high ground slightly inland from the coast (Rouse 1992:99).

Chican pottery is slightly thicker than Meillacan pottery and not as hard.

Burnishing is common but like Meillacan pottery, painting is absent. Vessel forms

include bowls, especially collared bowls, along with bottles, and round and hammock-

shaped platters. Chican pottery is characterized by sigmoid designs (wide applique strips

in a curved pattern with punctation or incision), incised lines ending in a dot, broad line

engraved incising (much wider incisions than Meillacan), geometric incised designs, and

zoomorphic head lugs often in the shape of a bat. Later in the Chican period, modeling

becomes prevalent along with engraving of broad areas, negative designs, and ovoid and

curvilinear design motifs.

The makers of Meillacan and Chican pottery continued to produce three-pointed

stones (zemis), indicating a continuation of the religious tradition first present in the

Saladoid groups and continued with the Ostionans (Roe 1997). These and other status

objects suggest a non-egalitarian society and point to the development of pristine

chiefdoms. The status objects include idols of stone, wood and cotton, and stone collars

or elbow stones which may be related to a ballgame played in the central plazas (Walker

1992), and duhos, benches usually made of wood and used only by chiefs during

religious ceremonies (Curet 1992b:331).





72


Taino Social Organization

The development of chiefdoms in the West Indies has been explained by both

adaptationist and political models. Veloz Maggiolo (1977) proposes an adaptationist

model that stresses demographic and environmental variables. He hypothesizes that with

a growing population, montone (mounded field) agriculture developed because it allowed

a higher output, resulting in surplus production. The chief emerged as a public servant

willing to organize and manage the storage and distribution of the surplus, which in turn

allowed the chief to gain power.

As discussed briefly above, Curet (1992a, 1992b) attempts to link the

development of a pristine chiefdom to the political realm which stresses the use of

religious ideology to increase the status, power and authority of the emerging elite.

Following a settlement survey of Maunabo Valley in Puerto Rico, Curet believed that the

population was below carrying capacity thus dismissing economic reasons for the

development of chiefdoms. Individuals managed to redirect symbolism related to

personal status toward communal rituals that reinforced community bonds. Gradually,

group unity was transformed to legitimize chiefly power, thus establishing a chief who

acted as intermediary between the people and their ancestors, dieties and the supernatural

world (Curet 1992b:338). A criticism of this model is that protein and fat rather than

total calories should have been used as the currency to estimate carrying capacity among

a group of manioc horticulturalists, unless there is some evidence for environmental

degradation that would effect crop production.

A Marxian explanation (Moscoso 1981) is that complexity was a result of the

manipulation of the economic system by principals or a chiefly group who owned the





73


forces of production and exacted tribute from the rest of society. His model does not

adequately explain the early stages in the development of the chiefdom, why a surplus

was produced, or how the principals gained power.

Contact Period

The Taino Indians that Columbus encountered at the close of the 15th century

produced Chican pottery (Classic Taino), Palmetto ware (Lucayan Taino) and Meillacan

pottery (Classic and Western Taino). "Taino" was the name given to Columbus by the

people inhabiting the Greater Antilles; it means "good" or "noble" (Alegria 1981; Arrom

1975; Rouse 1992:5). The Taino spoke an Arawakan language although separate regions

or islands had different dialects or mutually unintelligible languages (Las Casas 1909).

Nevertheless, it seems likely that a common language was used to facilitate trade in

goods and ideas and to form social alliances.

The Taino sociopolitical system developed in the Greater Antilles. At contact, the

Taino were organized into complex chiefdoms. A cacique ruled a "collective polity" of

villages. Alliances between the cacicazgos (chiefdoms) changed depending upon the

immediate economic and military situation (Wilson 1990:4, 32, 109). The large supra-

regional polities were tenuous but the regional polities were more permanent.

The Taino were a matrilineal society with inherited rights to the cacicazgo being

passed through the female line from the cacique to the son of his eldest sister, or sons of

the subsequent sisters if the eldest had no sons (Sued Badillo 1979; Wilson 1990:34). In

Hispaniola, the early Europeans also reported the presence of female cacicas although

whether female inheritance was due to a collapsing social system (Alegria 1979) or was a

common occurrence in this matrilineal society (Sued Badillo 1979) is uncertain. The





74


caciques extracted tribute and labor from his or her subjects. At contact, Hispaniola was

divided into five main cacicazgos ruled by five paramount caciques.

Taino social organization was hierarchical. The noble class or nitainos included

the cacique, behiques (shamans), and clan-lords. Commoners were ranked below the

nitainos followed by naborias, who were service-related people but probably not slaves

(Curet 1992b:71-72; Keegan 1997:79). Each paramount cacique ruled a group of

subchiefs with control over large districts. Subchiefs had control over village headmen.

Taino settlements were arranged as primary, secondary and tertiary centers of

authority (Siegel 1991b:236). The largest sites were ceremonial centers where the

caciques resided, surrounded by hamlets and villages (Siegel 1991b:237). This is in

contrast to Saladoid sites that are relatively evenly distributed and early Ostionoid sites

that have ball courts and ceremonial centers but are smaller than the Taino version

(Siegel 1991b:237). The ceremonial centers had large plaza areas, the later ones often

lined in stone, that were probably used as ball courts and plazas for other ceremonies

(Alegria 1983). The chiefdoms in Puerto Rico were not as expansive as those in

Hispaniola during the contact period. To date, 79 ball courts and plazas have been

located at 72 sites across Hispaniola ranging in age from A.D. 700 to 1500. In Puerto

Rico, the ball courts were size-ranked with smaller courts surrounding and outnumbering

the larger courts (Siegel 1991b:236).

The subsistence system of the Taino Indians is best known from Hispaniola,

Puerto Rico, and Cuba through the historic accounts of Gonzalo Femrndez de Oviedo

(1959), Bartolom6 de Las Casas (1909, 1951, 1971), and Christopher Columbus (Dunn

and Kelley 1989; Jane 1988). With the rise of chiefdoms came the need and/or ability for





75


agricultural intensification. The major crop of the Taino was manioc, both the sweet and

bitter varieties (Oviedo 1959:16; Sauer 1966). The bitter variety was grated into a pulp,

placed in a long thin basket in which the poison juice was extracted, and then baked into

unleavened bread called cassava. Cassava could be stored for months and was taken on

fishing and trading ventures (Oviedo 1959: 17; Sauer 1966:52). The sweet variety was

boiled like potatoes or baked (Sauer 1966:52).

Other crops recorded by the early Europeans include arrowroot, peanuts, beans,

squashes, capsicum peppers and maize. Maize must have been introduced to the West

Indies either from South America or Central America since it is not native to the West

Indies. Maize has been found in archaeological deposits in Central America dating to

5000 B.C. (Pearsall 1990; Piperno 1989) and in northwestern South American by 3300

B.C. (Piperno 1990). Newsom identified macroremains of maize from En Bas Saline

(Haiti) in a deposit dated to A.D. 1250 and hypothesizes that maize may have been

restricted to the elite classes since the carbonized kernels and cupule fragments were

recovered only from the chiefs house (Newsom 1993). Many fruits, medicinal plants

and plants used in the manufacture of goods such as cotton (Gossypium sp.) and sisal

(Agave sp.) were grown in house gardens. Mamey (Mammea americana) trees were

recorded at contact in the Greater Antilles, and pineapples were reportedly grown by the

Carib Indians (Sauer 1966:57). Other house garden plants include papaya (Carica

papaya), caimito fruit (Chrysophyllum caimito), royal palm (Roystonea hispaniolana),

cycad (Zamia debilis), and tobacco (Nicotiana sp.) (Keegan 1997:66; Newsom 1993;

Vega 1995; Veloz Maggiolo and Ortega 1995).





76


Gourds (Crescentia cujete, Lagenaria sp.) were grown for use as containers. Red

dye was extracted from achiote (Bixa orellana) and black dye from the fruit of the

Genipa americana tree. Cohoba (Piptadenia peregrina) was mixed with tobacco and

used as a halucinogen. Poison was extracted from the manchineel tree to tip arrows and

darts. Cotton was spun to make clothing, hammocks, idols, and zemis. The idols,

patterned in a human form, were often inlaid with beads and other decorative items.

Canoes and duhos were manufactured from trees such as Ceibapentandra, cedar

(Cedrela sp.), and mahogany (Swietenia sp.) (Oviedo 1959:78; Sauer 1966:560).

Crops were grown either in montones (mounded fields), in fields cleared by slash

and burn techniques, or in house gardens. Besides constructing montones to increase crop

production, irrigation systems were developed in arid areas using canals to divert water to

the fields. Las Casas (1909) reported a system of irrigation canals in the province of

Xaragua (southwestern Haiti) to provide water for the conucos (planted mounds).

From historic accounts, it appears that most protein in Taino diet was from the

sea. The Taino fishing technology included the use of nets, traps, harpoons, hooks,

poison, and remora, a type of fish that will attach to other fishes. Sea turtles were

captured either in the water using nets, by harpooning, or while nesting on beaches. Both

meat and eggs of sea turtles were consumed. Marine mammals were captured including

manatees, West Indian monk seal, and possibly even whales. Terrestrial animals would

have been hunted and trapped. The distribution of terrestrial and marine animals was

discussed in Chapter 2. In general, we can assume that the terrestrial and some marine

animal populations may have been reduced by the Taino period due to overexploitation.





77


The sites from which I have human skeletal samples for isotope analysis all date

to the ceramic period. The human bone from one Lithic period site that I analyzed,

Cueva Roja in the Dominican Republic, did not have adequate collagen remaining in the

bone. Site descriptions are contained in the next chapter.













CHAPTER 4
HUMAN SKELETAL SAMPLES AND THEIR CONTEXT




Human skeletal material included in this study was excavated by archaeologists

working on Hispaniola, La Tortue, Puerto Rico, Anguilla, St. Martin, Saba, Guadeloupe,

La D6sirade, Grenada and the Bahamian islands of Abaco, Eleuthra, Long Island,

Crooked Island and Rum Cay. For each island, I will first give general information on

the geography of the island, then I will describe each site. Some sites were excavated

more thoroughly or recently than others, resulting in better methodology or more

thorough analysis. Therefore, the site descriptions will vary in detail.




Hispaniola


Hispaniola (77,355 km2) is the second largest of the West Indies (after Cuba).

Hispaniola is very complex topographically and geologically with both marine and

terrestrial rocks of volcanic, sedimentary, and metamorphic origins. The northern two-

thirds of the island are formed of complex island-arc terranes ranging in age from Early

Cretaceous to late Eocene (Mann et al. 1991). The southern one-third of Hispaniola is an

outcrop of oceanic plateau, often capped by carbonates. Both the oceanic and the island-

arc terranes are remnants of the Great Arc that formed in the Pacific and moved into the

Caribbean basin (see Chapter 2).



78





79


Hispaniola is the most mountainous of the Antilles, with four mountain ranges

following a general northwest to southeast orientation. The northernmost chain is the

Cordillera Septentrional (max. elevation of ca. 1000 m). The Cibao Valley borders this

range on the south. Through the center of the island is the Cordillera Central (called the

Massif du Nord in Haiti). This range rises to ca. 3100 m at Pico Duarte, the highest peak

in the West Indies. The Cordillera Central is separated from the Sierra de Neiba by the

San Juan Valley and the Central Plateau. South of this range is the depressed Enriquillo

Plain (called the Cul de Sac Plain in Haiti) with two salt lakes below sea level. Two

related ranges in the southern peninsula of Haiti are the Massif de la Hotte in the west

and the Massif de la Selle to the east.

Because of its varied relief, the temperature and rainfall vary dramatically in

Hispaniola. Rainfall over 225 cm per year falls in the mountains of the Cordillera Central

and around the peaks of the Massif de la Hotte. The arid regions, particularly in western

Haiti, receive less than 75 cm of rain per year. The vegetation also varies greatly across

Hispaniola, tracking the climate. The mountain ranges are cool and sustain woodlands

dominated by Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea). At lower elevations in areas of high

rainfall, tropical rain forests occur. In the valleys, such as the Cibao and the Central

Plateau, savannas may be at least partly anthropogenic in origin. Cactus and thorn forests

are present in the drier areas (Macpherson 1975:142).

I analyzed human skeletal samples from two sites on Hispaniola, Juan Dolio and

Boca del Soco, both located along the limestone shelf on the southeast coast of the

Dominican Republic, a region with numerous archaeological sites (Figure 2). This is an

area of tropical dry climate with rainfall under 100 cm per year (Macpherson 1975:142).





80



72 00'W
Manigat Cave

e-de-la-Tortue


lie-de- ', DOMINICAN
la-Gonave HAITI
Grand REPUBLIC

/ .Santo Domingo

1- OW' N Juan olio IslaSaona
Cotes-de-Fer Boca del
Boca del
IslaBeat Soco

HISPANIOLA
0 50 100 150 miles
I I I I I
0 100 200 kms


Figure 2. Hispaniola and La Tortue showing archaeological sites mentioned in the text.



Boca del Soco

The Boca del Soco site was excavated in 1975 and 1980 by researchers from El

Museo del Hombre Dominicano. The site is located in the province of San Pedro de

Macoris ca. 75 km east of Santo Domingo (Luna Calderon 1985; Veloz Maggiolo 1972).

Two occupational phases are present at Boca del Soco. The first is an Ostionoid period

occupation (now referred to as Ostionan Ostionoid) dating to around A.D. 700-800,

called the Margarita Phase. The second occupation is "Chicoid" (A.D. 1000-1500, now

referred to as Chican Ostionoid), assigned to the El Soco Phase. The human skeletal

material dates to the Chican Ostionoid occupation and was studied by Femanado Luna

Calderon (1985).





81


A total of 158 individuals were recovered from Boca del Soco, 118 belonging to

Phase 1 and 40 belonging to Phase II (Coppa et al. 1995:154). The burials are in both

primary and secondary contexts, and are accompanied by grave offerings such as pottery

and dogs. Most of the crania were too fragmentary to analyze for deformities, but as has

been noted in other prehistoric West Indian populations, 10 individuals showed signs of

oblique tabular deformation of the frontal and occipital. A high incidence of disease,

along with infections, caused a high mortality rate among adolescents (Luna Calderon

1985:290). In general, the Boca del Soco population was not in good health.

During the Margarita phase, burial was communal. The frontal bone appears to

be flattened in some adults, but not in sub-adults. Infants had a high mortality rate in this

phase contrasting with the high rate of adolescent death in the El Soco Phase.

No zooarchaeological data are available for Boca del Soco. For a coastal site

during the Chican period, I would expect the diet to be divided between terrestrial and

marine protein sources. Manioc and house garden plants probably supplied the main

carbohydrate part of the diet, perhaps with a small contribution of C4 or CAM plants.

Juan Dolio

The Juan Dolio site is ca. 80 km from Santo Domingo and just west of Boca del

Soco. The site was excavated by numerous researchers (Boyrie Moya 1960; Boyrie

Moya and Cruxent 1955; Chanlatte Baik 1954). Juan Dolio is one of the key sites of the

"Boca Chica" Chican ceramic style that spans from A.D. 900 to 1500 (Veloz Maggiolo

1972). Juan Dolio was occupied as late as European contact as evidenced by the

abundance of Spanish and other European pottery sherds in upper levels.




Full Text
85
expect further to see little to no contribution of C4 grasses in the diet of a population
living during the Ostionan period.
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico (9,000 km ) is the smallest of the Greater Antilles. The geology of
Puerto Rico is much less complex than that of Hispaniola. Puerto Rico is dominated by
two mountain ranges, the Cordillera Central across the center of the island (max.
elevation 1,338 m) and the Sierra de Luquillo (max. elevation 1,074 m) in the northeast.
These mountain ranges have volcanic and metamorphic rocks at the core but most surface
rocks throughout Puerto Rico are limestone. Particularly in the north, the limestone has
eroded to produce a karstic topography. Along the coast the limestone is covered by
alluvial deposits (Macpherson 1975:148).
Rainfall averages over 250 cm per year in the mountainous regions of Puerto
Rico, but tapers off to the north and the south. The north coast receives from 100 to 200
cm per year and much of the south coast receives less than 100 cm of rain per year.
Average daily temperature varies little due to the trade winds and ranges from 24C in the
winter to 27C in the summer.
The two sites from which I analyzed human skeletal material are both in northern
Puerto Rico (Figure 3). Maisabel is located directly on the coast, ca. 30 km west of San
Juan, and 1 km from the Rio Cibuco. This large village site was occupied during the
Saladoid and Ostionoid periods. The Paso del Indio site lies ca. 5 km inland along the
Rio Indio in the city of Vega Baja. This site spans 6,000 years and extends to a depth of


Post-Saladoid in the Lesser Antilles 63
Island Carib 65
Tainos 66
Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos 69
Taino Material Culture 70
Taino Social Organization 72
Contact Period 73
4 HUMAN SKELETAL SAMPLES AND THEIR CONTEXT 78
Hispaniola 78
Boca del Soco 80
Juan Dolio 81
La Tortue 82
Manigat Cave Site 82
Puerto Rico 85
Maisabel Site 86
Paso del Indio 89
The Bahamas 90
Abaco 92
Eleuthera 93
Long Island 96
Rum Cay 98
Crooked Island 98
Anguilla 101
Maundays Bay Site 102
Rendezvous Bay Site 103
Sandy Hill Site 104
Hope Estate, St. Martin 105
Saba 108
Spring Bay 1 Site 110
Kelbeys Ridge 2 Site 113
Petite Riviere, La Dsirade 114
Anse la Gourde, Guadeloupe 117
5 STABLE ISOTOPE ANALYSIS 120
History of Isotope Analysis 122
Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopes 124
Variations in Carbon and Nitrogen 5 Values 127
The Debate Between the Use of Bone Collagen or Apatite for Dietary
Reconstruction 129
Post-mortem Bone Change 136
Issues Addressed Using Stable Isotopes 139
Previous Isotopic Studies in the West Indies 141
IX


262
Carbone, V.A.
1980 Some Problems in Cultural Paleoecology in the Caribbean Area. Proceedings
of the Eighth International Congress for the Study of the Pre-Columbian Cultures
of the Lesser Antilles, edited by S. M. Lewenstein. Arizona State University
Anthropological Research Papers, Tempe.
Carlquist, S.
1965 Island Life: A Natural History of the Islands of the World. Natural History
Press, Garden City, NY.
Case, T. J.
1996 Global Patterns in the Establishment and Distribution of Exotic Birds.
Biological Conservation 78:69-96.
Cerling, T. E., J. M. Harris, B. J. MacFadden, M. G. Leakey, J. Quade, V. Eisenmann and
J. R. Ehleringer
1997 Global Vegetation Change through the Miocene-Pliocene Boundary. Nature
389:153-157.
Cerling, T. E., J. Quade, S. H. Ambrose and N. E. Sikes
1991 Fossil Soils, Grasses and Carbon Isotopes from Fort Teman, Kenya: Grassland
or Woodland? Journal of Human Evolution 21:295-306.
Chanlatte Baik, L. A.
1954 Una Exploracin Arqueolgica a Juandolio. Alma Mater, Peridico de los
estudiantes de la Universidad de Santo Domingo Nos. 1 and 2.
Chanlatte Baik, L. A. and Y. M. Narganes Storde
1984 Catalogo Arquelogia de Vieques. Centro de Investigaciones Arqueolgicas,
Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.
1989 La Nueva Arqueolgica de Puerto Rico (su Proyeccin en las Antillas). Museo
del Hombre Dominicano Boletn 22:9-49.
Chisholm, B. S.
1989 Variation in Diet Reconstructions Based on Stable Isotopic Evidence. In The
Chemistry of Prehistoric Human Bone, edited by T. D. Price, pp. 10-37.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Chisholm, B. S., D. E. Nelson, K. Hobson, H. P. Schwarcz and M. Knyf
1982 Stable Carbon Isotope Ratios as a Measure of Marine versus Terrestrial Protein
in Ancient Diets. Science 216:1131-1132.


117
Burial 1 was found near the surface with a ceramic bowl placed on the skull.
Burial 1A was found below Burial 1. The third individual, IB, probably was excavated
from a dark stained area adjacent to the other two burials. Burial IB is a small, elderly
woman with numerous caries, one of which had abscessed. These caries were probably
caused by the consumption of sticky, soft, non-abrasive, non-fibrous, and cariogen
foods, that contain a lot of sugar (de Waal 1996:158).
Analysis of mollusks, invertebrate and vertebrate fauna from Petite Rivire
indicates that subsistence was based mainly on marine resources, especially reef and
estuarine fish. The most common mollusks were those than can be gathered from the
intertidal rocks such as chitons and West Indian top shells. Only 5.7% of the vertebrate
fauna were terrestrial species (rice rats, birds). From these analyses and the location of
the site on a small island with fringing reefs, I would expect the isotope analysis to show
a diet based primarily on marine foods, with the contribution by terrestrial animals small
and possibly undetectable. Horticulture was likely practiced by the inhabitants of Petite
Riviere, probably in small house gardens.
Anse la Gourde, Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe consists of two separate islands divided by a narrow channel, Rivire
Sallee. Grand-Terre is the eastern island measuring ca. 672 km2 and rising only 120 m
above sea level (Martin-Kaye 1969:189). The surface of Grand-Terre is covered by
middle Eocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene limestones that completely conceal the


195
The individuals from Abaco and Crooked Island are within the marine protein, C3
plant range. They reflect very little contribution of terrestrial animals and no detectable
contribution of maize. The individuals from Long Island, Eleuthera, and Rum Cay have
a diet that is intermediate between a small and medium apatite to collagen spacing. No
maize or other C4/CAM plants are detected in the apatite values. In fact, the gap between
the collagen and apatite values is extreme, indicating a whole diet heavily reliant on
plants with a C3 pathway and animals feeding on these plants. From zooarchaeological
data we know that prehistoric Bahamians, particularly at the earliest sites, consumed
animals with a more negative C3 signature such as birds, iguana, hutia and tortoises.
Therefore, the samples from Rum Cay, Crooked Island, and Long Island that fall between
the small and medium spacing probably represent a diet based on a mixture of marine and
terrestrial protein and C3 plants.
Anguilla
Like the Bahamian samples, the sample sizes from the three Anguillan sites are
small. The Maunday Bay site is probably early Saladoid (possibly even pre-Saladoid due
to the ZIC sherds on the surface). Rendezvous Bay and Sandy Hill date to the post-
Saladoid period (after A.D. 600). The prehistoric inhabitants of Anguilla and St. Martin
potentially have more terrestrial protein in their diets than people living on other islands
in the Lesser Antilles since the large rodent, Amblyrhiza, existed on the Anguilla-St.
Martin bank and possibly survived into the early period of human colonization.


20
Jamaicas Blue Mountains and many high peaks in the Lesser Antilles support elfin
woodlands.
Areas prone to drought, particularly on the leeward side of islands, support semi-
deciduous woodland. Trees found here are short and often thorny (Macpherson 1975:20).
In extremely dry areas (rainfall less than 75 cm) such as southern Hispaniola, the
southeastern coast of Puerto Rico, and parts of the Bahamian archipelago, thorn and
shrub forest is found (Macpherson 1975:20; Sealey 1994:100). Trees of this environment
include various legumes and palms, as well as stunted forms of many species that grow as
large trees in tropical woodlands, such as wild figs (Moraceae) and sapotes (Sapotaceae).
Tropical woodland (evergreen woodland) grows in areas that are seasonally wet
and dry, with annual rainfall between 75 and 200 cm. Limestone soils often support
tropical woodlands. Trees of this plant community that would have been important to
humans include lignum-vitae (Guaiacum officinale), mastic {Mastichodendron
foetidissimum), pigeon plum (Coccoloba diversifolia), palmetto (Sabal sp.), poison wood
(Metoplum toxiferum), and sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera). The fruits of mastic, pigeon
plum and sea grape provide food. Poison wood is used in fishing. Tropical woodlands
are common in the Bahamas and in parts of the Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles
(Sealey 1994:100). Tropical woodlands grade into savanna and grasslands, as well as
semi-deciduous woodlands.
Savannas contain mostly tropical grasses and sedges but are typically dry and
only support a few scattered trees, especially pines or palms. Most savannas probably
have been created by clearing the vegetation and repeated burning. In fact, the Arawak
word sabana meant treeless land (Oviedo 1959:107). Savannas are found in central


141
between terrestrial and marine sources. Keegan and DeNiro (1988) pointed out that the
815N values are good indicators of trophic level except in coral reef environments (such
as the West Indies) where nitrogen fixation in the coral reef and sea grass environments
produce low the 815N values. This phenomenon points to the importance of analyzing the
isotopic values of plants and animals from the environment in which the human
populations were living.
Previous Isotopic Studies in the West Indies
Five previous isotopic studies have been conducted on prehistoric human skeletal
material from sites in the West Indies. In four studies (Keegan 1985, Keegan and DeNiro
1988, Schoeninger et al. 1983; van Klinken 1991), bone collagen was analyzed but bone
apatite carbonate was not. These projects were completed when the linear mixing model
was generally accepted, and when the whole diet was reconstructed using the 8 C and
the 815N values from bone collagen. As explained above, isotope values from bone
collagen primarily reflect the source of protein in the diet. Therefore, because these diets
had protein and energy potentially from C3, C4 and marine sources, in the diet
interpretation section of these studies, the contribution of plant foods in the diet was
incorrectly estimated.
For my study, I have reanalyzed a large part of the human skeletal material
previously studied by Keegan and DeNiro and van Klinken. Keegan and DeNiro
(Keegan 1985; Keegan and DeNiro 1988) analyzed bone collagen from 17 skeletons from
cave burials in the Bahamas and one individual from the Hacienda Grande site in Puerto


CHAPTER 3
PREHISTORY OF THE WEST INDIES
Archaeological research in the West Indies has been ongoing since the early
1900s. Some of the major questions concerning migrations, settlement patterning, and
subsistence, however, are still unresolved as a result of limited, poor, and unpublished
research. Historic accounts make the reconstruction of indigenous life in the West Indies
at and just prior to contact easier and more accurate. Farther back in time, our knowledge
of the origins, cultural distinctions and interactions among people are less well
understood. I expect and hope that many of these issues will be resolved through well-
executed and published research in the next decade.
In this chapter, I will synthesize what has been theorized about the prehistory of
the West Indies, beginning with the earliest migrations of foragers continuing until
contact with European cultures in the late 15th century. I will follow the nomenclature
developed by Rouse (1952, 1989,1992) and Vescelius (1980) for the prehistoric
inhabitants of the West Indies in which the cultural periods named after the type sites are
divided into series designated by the suffix -oid, and sub-series, designated by the
suffix -an.
50


Marine Bird
Terr. Bird
Blue Land Crab
OLand snail
XTerr. Mammal
Marine Turtle
4-Reef Fish (C)
-Reef Fish (H)
Mollusks
Codakia
AMarine crab
Conch
Pelagic Fish
XC3 plants
C4 plants
:* CAM plants
Figure 13. Isotopic values of food items potentially in the diet of prehistoric West Indians.


148
3 M HC1 to make certain that the highest collagen yield was obtained. Once all the
funnels had been drained into flasks, the flasks were returned to the oven, uncovered, to
condense the solution to less than 10 ml, at which point it was transferred to labeled,
weighed scintillation vials. The vials were then put in the oven for the sample to
condense further to less than 1 cm of liquid, at which point the sample was removed from
the oven, allowed to cool, capped and placed in a freezer. Once frozen, the samples were
placed in a freeze dryer for approximately 48 hours. The vial with the sample was then
weighed and the collagen percentage yield was calculated.
To obtain the ratio of the stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in the bone
collagen, a small amount of collagen (approximately 0.5 mg for carbon and 1.0 mg for
nitrogen) was weighed into a small tin boat, each of which was wrapped tightly and
placed in a separate vial until they were introduced into the mass spectrometer. The
samples were combusted in a Carlo Erba CHN analyzer and then introduced directly into
a VG Isogas PRISM Series II stable isotope ratio mass spectrometer at the Department of
Geology, University of Florida. Some carbon and nitrogen samples were run in a
custom-made Dumas combustion device attached to a Sira Series II mass spectrometer at
Mountain Mass Spectrometry, Inc. in Colorado due to the unavailability of the mass
spectrometer in the Department of Geology.
Bone collagen was extracted from animal bone recovered from archaeological
sites with the same methods used for human bone collagen. The yields and C:N ratios for
both human and faunal samples were determined and only samples within the acceptable
ranges were used.


182
Collagen
Apatite
Figure 25. Mean 513C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and apatite,
Juan Dolio site, Hispaniola.
Table 12. 813C and 8I5N data for skeletal samples from Manigat Cave, La Tortue.
Sample
Nitrogen
Collagen
Apatite
Spacing
AS 107
7.38
-15.58
-21.75
3.33
AS 106
5.42
-17.97
-22.37
5.10
AS 109
4.09
-16.50
-20.27
5.73
AS 116
6.47
-17.39
-21.12
5.77
AS 108
6.30
-13.22
-17.97
4.75
AS 112
6.83
-15.44
-18.93
6.01
AS 115
6.03
-16.68
-19.89
6.29
AS 110
6.14
-16.71
-17.74
8.47
AS 114
7.25
-17.65
-18.68
8.47
AS 118
6.60
-17.60
-18.70
8.40
The apatite to collagen spacing for La Tortue is difficult to interpret without first
referring to the raw data (Table 12). The individual (AS 107) farthest to the left (Figure
26) had the second-most marine collagen signature and the second-most C3 (more
negative) apatite signature. Therefore, although this individual lies between the small


240
600
Isolation
Linear (Isolation)
-20 -18 -16 -14 -12 -10
813C Collagen
Figure 66. Relationship between the source of protein in the diet and the degree of
isolation from a Greater Antillean source area.
Archaeological Site Location
Another hypothesis that isotope analysis can test is to what extent human groups
living at coastal sites exploited or traded for inland resources and vice versa. The two
inland sites in my sample are Paso del Indio, Puerto Rico and Hope Estate, St. Martin.
Paso del Indio is ca. 5 km inland from the north coast of Puerto Rico and Hope Estate is
ca. 2 km inland. Paso del Indio is on a much larger island that had more terrestrial
resources prehistorically. These factors make the inland/coastal dichotomy less distinct.


15
the earth is heated most by the sun and causes the air to rise. Trade winds are produced
by the draw of the air from higher latitudes toward this convergence zone. During the
summer months, northeast trade winds blow into the northern part of the West Indies
while the southern and eastern Caribbean are affected by the southeast trade winds.
During the winter, when the Atlantic intertropical convergence zone shifts south off
Brazil, only the northeast trade winds are present in the West Indies. Areas closer to the
intertropical convergence zone receive more rainfall, resulting in greater precipitation in
the West Indies during the summer and reduced precipitation during the winter (Sealey
1992:76). The southern islands of the West Indies receive more rainfall in the winter
than the northern islands because they are closer to the doldrums. Effective precipitation
would have been greater when the islands were in their natural state with primary
vegetation. With deforestation by humans, precipitation is reduced because there is less
vegetation present to contain the water vapor and cause rain. Furthermore, forest soils
retain more moisture than degraded, sun-drenched soils. The third factor affecting
rainfall is the size and elevation of the island. Small islands usually do not have enough
land area or relief to generate the heat necessary to produce much rain. Also, terrestrial
vegetation (especially forest cover) may be limited on small islands and thus contribute
further to the reduced rainfall. Rainfall typically increases with elevation because of
orographic effects (rising moist air being cooled to the point of inducing rainfall).
Rainfall amounts vary not only between islands, but across a single island as well.
Tropical marine dry zones, with less than 100 cm (40 inches) of rain per year, include the
southern Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, ABC islands, southern Hispaniola and Puerto Rico,
south-central Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, and Barbuda. Areas with a


281
Raffaele, H., J. Wiley, O. Garrido, A. Keith and J. Raffaele
1998 A Guide to the Birds of the West Indies. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
Rainey, F. G.
1934 Diary Beginning January 22, 1934, Upon Arrival in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Manuscript on file at the Yale Peabody Museum, New Haven.
Rainey, F. G.
1940 Porto Rican Archaeology. Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin
Islands 18. New York Academy of Sciences, New York.
Reid, R. P.
1996 Late Quaternary Sedimentation in the Lesser Antilles Island Arc. Geological
Society of America Bulletin 108(1 ):78-l 00.
Reitz, E.
1994 Vertebrate Fauna from Trants (MS-G1), Montserrat. Annals of the Carnegie
Museum 63.
Rey Bettancourt, E. and F. Garcia Rodriguez
1988 Similitud entre los Artifactos Liticos dellejano Oriente de Asia y de Cuba.
Annuario de Arqueologa 1988, Academia de Ciencias de Cuba :1-13.
Richards, M. P. and P. A. Mellars
1998 Stable Isotopes and the Seasonality of the Oronsay Middens. Antiquity 72:178-
184.
Righter, E.
1997 The Ceramics, Art, and Material Culture of the Early Ceramic Period in the
Caribbean Islands. In The Indigenous People of the Caribbean, edited by S. M.
Wilson, pp. 70-79. The Ripley P. Bullen Series. University Press of Florida,
Gainesville.
Rodriguez, M. A.
1989 The Zoned Incised Crosshatched (ZIC) Ware of Early Precolumbian Ceramic
Age Sites in Puerto Rico and Vieques Island. In Early Ceramic Population
Lifeways and Adaptive Strategies in the Caribbean, edited by P. E. Siegel, pp.
249-266. BAR International Series 506, Oxford, England.
1997 Religious Beliefs of the Saladoid People. In Indigenous People of the
Caribbean, edited by S. M. Wilson, pp. 80-87. The Ripley P. Bullen Series.
University Press of Florida, Gainesville.


49
limestone islands versus those living on high volcanic islands. 3. Distance from the
mainland source area, how this affected the exploitation of terrestrial plants and animals.
4. Time, when potential diet items went extinct, whether it was due to humans, and how
human diet changed through time due to changes in resource abundance..


261
Bullen, R. P. and F. W. Sleight
1963 The Krum Bay Site: a Preceramic Site on St. Thomas United States Virgin
Islands. William L. Bryant Foundation American Studies Report 5, Orlando.
Bumstead, M. P.
1983 Adult Variation in 13C: Pre-Columbian North America. American Journal of
Physical Anthropology 60:178-179.
1984 Human Variation: 513C in Adult Bone Collagen and Relation to Diet in an
Isochronous C4 (maize) Archaeological Population. Los Alamos National
Laboratory. Publication LA 10259T.
Burger, R. L. and N. J. van der Merwe
1990 Maize and the Origin of Highland Chavin Civilization: An Isotopic
Perspective. American Anthropologist 92(l):85-95.
Burke, K.
1988 Tectonic Evolution of the Caribbean. In Annual Review of Earth and Planetary
Sciences, edited by G. W. Wetherill, A. L. Albee and F. G. Stehli, pp. 201-230.
Vol. 16. Annual Reviews Inc., Palo Alto.
Burleigh, R. and D. Brothwell
1978 Studies on Amerindian Dogs, 1: Carbon Isotopes in Relation to Maize in the
Diet of Domestic Dogs from Peru and Ecuador. Journal of Archaeological
Science 5:535-538.
Callaghan, R. T.
1990a Possible Pre-ceramic Connections between Central America and the Greater
Antilles. Paper presented at the Eleventh Congress of the International
Association for Caribbean Archaeology, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
1990b Mainland Origins of the Preceramic Cultures of the Greater Antilles. Ph.D.
dissertation, University of Calgary.
1995 Antillean Cultural Contacts with Mainland Region as a Navigation Problem. In
Proceedings of the Fifteenth International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology,
edited by R.E. Alegra and M. Rodriguez, pp. 181-190. Centro de Estudios
Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe, San Juan.
Capone, D. G. and B. F. Taylor
1980 N2 Fixation in the Rhizosphere of Thalassia testudinum. Canadian Journal of
Microbiology 26:998-1004.
Capone, D. G., D. L. Taylor and B. F. Taylor
1977 Nitrogen Fixation (Acetylene Reduction) Associated with Macroalgae in a
Coral-reef Community in the Bahamas. Marine Biology 40:29-32.


94
(Sealey 1994). Prehistorically, the environment would have been a tropical seasonal
forest with a canopy much taller and soils favorable for horticulture (Keegan 1985:78, 95,
100).
Rainey visited a number of caves on Eleuthera. The first was North Bannerman
Cave, on the southern tip of the island, one of the few caves that had not been dug out
for fertilizer but was completely excavated by Rainey (1934:9). The cave ceiling was
very low and the soil was less than 45 cm deep. One cranium with ffonto-occipital
flattening lay on the surface near the entrance to the cave. Also recovered were some
long bones, pelvis fragments, another piece of the cranium, some ribs, and small bones
(Rainey 1934:9). This individual (#4684) was probably a male, approximately 30 to 50
years of age and in a poor state of preservation (Keegan 1982).
Two and a half miles inland from Wemyss Bite on south end of Eleuthera was
another cave where Rainey excavated what he thought was one individual. When
Keegan (1982) analyzed the skeletal material (#4685), he found that the bones were from
two different individuals represented by two right humeri, two left temporal bones, two
right scapula, one almost complete cranium and one left temporal and one lumbar
vertebra. Both were male, one 20 to 30 years of age and the second in his fifties. No
artifacts were recovered.


71
culture (Rouse 1992:97). Alternatively, incising on Meillacan vessels may have been
introduced to the Greater Antilles from the Guianas (Veloz Maggiolo et al. 1981; Zucchi
1990,1991). Meillacan artifacts also include clay griddles as well as stone, shell, and
bone tools (Rouse 1992:98). Settlements with Meillacan pottery are found well inland or
on high ground slightly inland from the coast (Rouse 1992:99).
Chican pottery is slightly thicker than Meillacan pottery and not as hard.
Burnishing is common but like Meillacan pottery, painting is absent. Vessel forms
include bowls, especially collared bowls, along with bottles, and round and hammock
shaped platters. Chican pottery is characterized by sigmoid designs (wide applique strips
in a curved pattern with punctation or incision), incised lines ending in a dot, broad line
engraved incising (much wider incisions than Meillacan), geometric incised designs, and
zoomorphic head lugs often in the shape of a bat. Later in the Chican period, modeling
becomes prevalent along with engraving of broad areas, negative designs, and ovoid and
curvilinear design motifs.
The makers of Meillacan and Chican pottery continued to produce three-pointed
stones (zemis), indicating a continuation of the religious tradition first present in the
Saladoid groups and continued with the Ostionans (Roe 1997). These and other status
objects suggest a non-egalitarian society and point to the development of pristine
chiefdoms. The status objects include idols of stone, wood and cotton, and stone collars
or elbow stones which may be related to a ballgame played in the central plazas (Walker
1992), and duhos, benches usually made of wood and used only by chiefs during
religious ceremonies (Curet 1992b:331).


106
Two skeletons from the Hope Estate site were analyzed for their isotopic
signatures. Hope Estate is on the French side of St. Martin, ca. 2 km inland (Figure 10).
The site spans approximately 2/3 of a hectare on a flat plateau, 50 m above sea level. An
intermittent stream is adjacent to the site (Haviser 1991c).
Figure 10. St. Martin showing location of the Hope Estate site
Three separate cultural groups inhabited Hope Estate (Haviser 1991c). The first
was an Early Ceramic group (560-350 B.C.) that produced a thin and dense pottery
decorated with zoned punctation, curvilinear incising, nubbins and zoomorphic lugs.
These peoples were transitional between the Archaic and Saladoid groups and had a
terrestrially dominated subsistence including land crab, hermit crab, rice rats and manioc.
Saladoid immigrants (325-290 B.C.) produced ZIC pottery and assimilated their culture


235
Island Geology
The geology of an island will affect the types of plants and animals that disperse
to the island. High, volcanic islands may have a greater number of habitats due to
elevation. High, volcanic islands also usually have less reef development than low,
limestone islands. The islands in the volcanic category are Hispaniola, Puerto Rico,
and Saba; those in the limestone group are La Tortue, the Bahamas, Anguilla, St.
Martin, Guadeloupe (Basse Terre) and La Dsirade.
Statistically, the difference between the source of protein in the diet (513C values)
of people living on limestone islands and those living on volcanic islands is highly
significant (Table 16).
Table 16. Statistical difference (two-tailed t-test) between the source of carbon and
nitrogen in the diet of people living on limestone vs. volcanic islands.
Variable
Carbon
Nitrogen
N
Mean
SD
N
Mean
SD
Limestone
55
-14.94
1.48
55
7.32
0.98
Volcanic
47
-17.99
1.33
47
7.75
1.25
t=l 0.87
df=100
pc.001
t=-l .91
df==l 00
p=.06
The prehistoric West Indians living on limestone islands obtained most of their
protein from marine sources (Figure 63). Since only the island of Saba is in a different
category for this analysis than that for island size, the data for limestone vs. volcanic
islands closely mirror the data presented in Table 15 and Figure 62. The samples with
the least negative (most marine protein) 8I3C values in the volcanic category are from


113
Kelbevs Ridge 2 Site
The second site, Kelbeys Ridge 2, is located on Kelbeys Ridge, a cone-shaped
volcanic dome 140 m above sea level, northwest of Spring Bay and southwest of Flat
Point. Kelbeys Ridge 2 lies on slopes of 7-8 degrees and covers a total surface area of
2000 m2 with pottery sherds, coral, chert, shell and historic artifacts visible on the
surface. Seven burials were found at Kelbeys Ridge 2.
Over three field seasons, 46 units were excavated for a total area of 382 m2, ca.
19% of the site. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal from hearths and burned house posts
date the site to between A.D. 1300 to 1400, during the Chican Ostionoid period.
Kelbeys Ridge 2 may have been a Taino outpost (Hoogland 1996:210).
Seven individuals were found buried at the center of the site (see Table 4). The
burials show a pattern common in elite Taino burials in the Greater Antillesthat of
removing certain select bones from burials. In four of the burials, one bone has been
removed. Burial F068, an adult male, had the femur missing; F166 and F313, children of
12, had the cranium missing; and F337, a 3 year old child had a missing humerus. The
cranium and shafts of the long bones from FI 49, a 5 year old child, had been removed
and were buried with F068. This practice may be evidence of ancestor worship where
bones of ancestors are removed from a burial post-deposition and kept in the homes of
descendents.
The faunal remains recovered from the sites on Saba indicate a change in the diet
through time although marine fishes constituted the main dietary component through all
three cultural periods (Wing 1996a). Terrestrial vertebrates were least exploited during
the Saladoid period and gained importance through time. Land crabs were heavily


Copyright 1998
By
Anne V. Stokes


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150
Nochromix for a minimum of 20 minutes, rinsed with distilled water and allowed to dry.
They were then placed in a muffle furnace ramped in 5 C intervals to 600 C, allowed to
soak for 20 minutes, then cooled to room temperature. The plastic stop-cocks and test
tubes were soaked in Alconox and then scrubbed with Alconox to remove any
contaminates and rinsed in distilled water. Sterile disposable plastic test tubes were used
for some of the samples.
To obtain the stable isotope signature of carbon from the bone apatite, between
1.0 and 1.5 mg of bone apatite was weighed into small glass vials. Caps were put on the
vials and 60 vials at a time were placed in a Multiprep system attached directly to the
Isogas PRISM II mass spectrometer. The Multiprep system reacted each sample with
100% phosphoric acid at 90C, freezing the carbon for measurement.
All samples submitted for analysis at the mass spectrometer were compared with
various laboratory and international standards. By using standards of known isotopic
composition, the results of the analyses can be validated and compared with results
generated by other laboratories. The intralaboratory standard used for organics (collagen)
was thiourea (Sigma Chemical Co.) and the standard used for inorganics (apatite) was
Carrara Marble. A set of laboratory standards was run with every 10 to 15 archaeological
samples.
Adjustments for Dietary Interpretation
The 8JC values of modem specimens need to be adjusted by +1.5%o due to C
enrichment in the atmosphere caused by the burning of fossil fuels (Keeling et al. 1979,
Tieszen 1991). As with human bone collagen, there is a fractionation factor between the


213
The mean 8I3C and 815N from collagen are shown in Figure 59. The sites with
the greatest amount of terrestrial protein are located on the two largest islands, Hispaniola
and Puerto Rico. Because these islands are older and larger, and had more species of
terrestrial vertebrates, prehistoric peoples would have had the opportunity to consume an
increased percentage of terrestrial protein. The two sites on Hispaniola, Juan Dolio and
Boca del Soco, have the highest 8I5N values of all the sites. As discussed in the
individual site results above, there is no evidence of maize in the diet which would have
lowered the 8I5N values. Paso del Indio and Maisabel have lower 815N values than we
would expect from protein based mainly on terrestrial vertebrates. Maize probably is
responsible for lowering the 815N values.
La Tortue has the most terrestrial protein diet of all the smaller islands. Because
it is located off the coast of Hispaniola, either the island had more diverse fauna than we
find in the Bahamas and Lesser Antilles, or the people buried at La Tortue were
exploiting Hispaniolan terrestrial vertebrates. The S15N value is very low probably
because of the incorporation of reef fishes, mollusks and maize, all having low SI5N
signatures.
The sites on the Bahamian islands have the largest amount of marine protein in
the diet of all the sites as illustrated by the 813C collagen signatures. The Bahamas were
the last islands to be formed; most of the fauna probably colonized these islands since the
Sangamon high sea level stand. Therefore, with less time for fauna to colonize the
Bahamas, the fauna would have been less diverse and less abundant. The 815N value for
the Bahamas is relatively low. Since there was no evidence of maize in the diet of people


97
Figure 6. Long Island showing location of Clarence Town cave.


73
forces of production and exacted tribute from the rest of society. His model does not
adequately explain the early stages in the development of the chiefdom, why a surplus
was produced, or how the principals gained power.
Contact Period
The Taino Indians that Columbus encountered at the close of the 15th century
produced Chican pottery (Classic Taino), Palmetto ware (Lucayan Taino) and Meillacan
pottery (Classic and Western Taino). Taino was the name given to Columbus by the
people inhabiting the Greater Antilles; it means good or noble (Alegra 1981; Arrom
1975; Rouse 1992:5). The Taino spoke an Arawakan language although separate regions
or islands had different dialects or mutually unintelligible languages (Las Casas 1909).
Nevertheless, it seems likely that a common language was used to facilitate trade in
goods and ideas and to form social alliances.
The Taino sociopolitical system developed in the Greater Antilles. At contact, the
Taino were organized into complex chiefdoms. A cacique ruled a collective polity of
villages. Alliances between the cacicazgos (chiefdoms) changed depending upon the
immediate economic and military situation (Wilson 1990:4, 32, 109). The large supra-
regional polities were tenuous but the regional polities were more permanent.
The Taino were a matrilineal society with inherited rights to the cacicazgo being
passed through the female line from the cacique to the son of his eldest sister, or sons of
the subsequent sisters if the eldest had no sons (Sued Badillo 1979; Wilson 1990:34). In
Hispaniola, the early Europeans also reported the presence of female cacicas although
whether female inheritance was due to a collapsing social system (Alegra 1979) or was a
common occurrence in this matrilineal society (Sued Badillo 1979) is uncertain. The


207
Figure 52. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 8I3C values from human bone
apatite, Petite Riviere, La Dsirade.
The 513C values for the bone apatite (Figure 52) show a whole diet pulled toward
the C3 plant end of the scale, but not to the extreme that it was in the Bahamian diet.
Presumably C3 cultigens such as manioc and house garden plants were important in the
diet.
The summary graph (Figure 53) illustrates the difference between the source of
protein and the whole diet. The collagen values for this population are in the same range
as those for the individuals living in the Bahamas where zooarchaeological data argue for
primarily marine protein. Both La Dsirade and the Bahamas are low limestone islands
with few terrestrial animals.


62
fluorescence of decorative styles is best represented in the elaborate modeled incising on
handles, adornos and incense burners (Allaire 1997a:25). The Barrancoid influence may
have been as far-reaching as the Greater Antilles but seems to have lasted only until
around A.D. 500 after which there is a marked difference in the pottery styles.
Saladoid/Ostionoid Transition
During the late Saladoid period (A.D. 100-600), larger and more numerous
settlements indicate that the population of the West Indies was increasing.
Zooarchaeological evidence from sites of this time period indicate that humans may have
been overexploiting terrestrial animals (Reitz 1994; Wing and Scudder 1980; Wing 1995)
and suffering from reduced crop production (Newsom 1993:15). Although a shift from
terrestrial to marine resources is generally well accepted, deFrance (1989) and Siegel
(1992) propose that no such shift occured but instead the Saladoid already derived the
majority of the protein in their diet from marine sources. Several authors have noted a
shift in zooarchaeological assemblages throughout the West Indies from land crabs in the
lower levels to marine mollusks in the higher levels. The reason has been attributed to
two separate cultures (Rainey 1940), environmental change (Carbone 1980), population
pressure necessitating diversification of the resource base (Goodwin 1980), or a change
in procurement strategies based on the cost of obtaining food items (Keegan 1989).
However, the abundance of land crab remains in the lower levels of sites may have little
to do with cultural deposits, but may instead be a result of the natural tendency of land
crabs to excavate burrows in soft sediments (Allen and Steadman 1990).
A change in the material culture around A.D. 600 signals a cultural change most
pronounced along the Saladoid-Casimiroid frontier (Rouse 1992:90). The change may


233
x Large islands
Small islands
513C
1 i ic
Figure 61.8 C and 5 N values of human bone collagen illustrating the source of protein
in the diet of peoples living on large islands vs. small islands.
Most of the people living on small islands have 815N values that cluster in the
range of reef fishes. The terrestrially-oriented groups on large islands are divided
roughly into two distinct trophic levels; one group (mostly from Puerto Rican sites) is
feeding at a lower trophic level on more plant foods, ground-dwelling birds, land crabs,
reef fishes, and marine and terrestrial mollusks; and the other (mainly from Hispaniolan
sites) is feeding at a higher trophic level on carnivorous reef fishes, mammals, and
reptiles such as iguana. A two-tailed t-test shows a highly significant difference between
the source of 813C from human collagen but no statistically significant difference in the
source of 815N in the diet (Table 15).


174
protein is based on a mix between marine and terrestrial protein, and the energy portion
of the diet is derived from C3 plants, with no detectable contribution of C4 plants. The
one individual with a more negative apatite 613C signature(AS 9) was getting a larger
portion of the diet from C3 plants or a specific plant with a more negative value. The
more negative 8 C apatite value was not due to a higher contribution of terrestrial
protein because the 8 C collagen value was -16.65, the second highest contribution of
marine protein of all the Juan Dolio individuals.
Figure 16. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human bone
apatite, Juan Dolio site, Hispaniola.
IT i c
When the mean 8 C collagen and apatite values are plotted with the mean 8 N
collagen values (Figure 17), the degree of spacing between the 813C values of bone
apatite and that of bone collagen illustrate that most individuals consumed a similar
protein diet with mixed marine and terrestrial sources and a more variable whole diet
with a large contribution of C3 plants.


254
Several avenues for future research come to light as a result of this study. First,
this research illustrates the importance of applying models from other disciplines to
questions of cultural change. Island biogeography theory has the potential to provide a
framework for analyzing archaeologicall-based data. Specific to the West Indies, the
isotopic evidence for the use of maize or other C4 plants much earlier than expected will
hopefully lead more archaeologists to include archaeobotany into their research designs.
Many are already doing so. This will allow us to attempt to explain why maize seems to
have been consumed only on certain islands or at certain sites, or perhaps even by certain
people within a given settlement. Why was maize being consumed at En Bas Saline and
also by the people buried at Manigat Cave, but not by the groups living at Boca del Soco
and Juan Dolio? If the late prehistoric Bahamians were Taino and therefore related to
peoples living in the Greater Antilles, why was maize not cultivated in or traded to the
Bahamas? Was it too expensive for most people to produce (Keegan 1985) and so could
be afforded only in certain chiefdoms? Also, what other cultural changes (settlement
patterns, social hierarchies, stimulation or stifling of trade networks, etc.) are coincident
with the adoption of maize? By using the triad of stable isotope anlaysis,
zooarchaeology, and archaeobotany in concert, we now have excellent opportunites to
explain subsistence practices in the prehistoric West Indies and how variation in these
practices affected other aspects of culture.


266
Downton, W. J. S.
1971 Check List of C4 Species. In Photosynthesis and Photo-respiration, edited by
M. D. Hatch, C. B. Osmond and R. A. Slayter, pp. 554-558. John Wiley and Sons,
New York.
1975 The Occurrence of C4 Photosynthesis Among Plants. Photosynthetica 1:96-105.
Drewett, P. L.
1991 Prehistoric Barbados. Institute of Archaeology, University College London,
London.
Drusini, A., F. Businaro and F. L. Calderon
1987 Skeletal Biology of the Taino: A Preliminary Report. International Journal of
Anthropology 2(3):247-253.
Dugne-Caro, H.
1990 Neogene Stratigraphy, Paleoceanography and Paleobiology in Northwestern
South America and the Evolution of the Panama Seaway. Palaeogeography,
Palaeoclimatology and Palaeoecology 77:203-234.
Dunn, O. and J. E. J. Kelley
1989 The Diario of Christopher Columbus's First Voyage to America, Abstracted by
Fray Bartolom de Las Casas. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
Ehleringer, J. R. and T. A. Cooper
1988 Correlations Between Carbon Isotope Ratio and Microhabitat in Desert Plants.
Oecologia 76:562-566.
Fairbanks, R. G.
1989 A 17,000-Year Glacio-Eustatic Sea Level Record: Influence of Glacial Melting
Rates on the Younger Dryas Event and Deep-Ocean Circulation. Nature 342:637-
642.
Febles, J.
1991 Estudio Comparativo de las Industrias de la piedra Tallada de Aguas Verdes
(Baracoa) y Playitas (Matanzas): Probable Relacin de Estas Industrias con otras
de SE de los Estados Unidos. In Arqueolgia de Cuba y de otras Areas Antillanas,
edited by M. A. Rodriguez, pp. 312-371. Editorial Academia, La Habana.
Fewkes, J.W.
1970 The Aborigines of Porto Rico. Johnson Reprint, New York.
Fleming, T. H., R. A. Nunez and L. da Silveira Lobo Sternberg
1993 Seasonal Changes in the Diets of Migrant and Non-migrant Nectarivorous Bats
as Revealed by Carbon Stable Isotope Analysis. Oecologia 94:72-75.


173
Hispaniola
Two skeletal populations were analyzed for Hispaniola. The Juan Dolio site and
the Boca del Soco site are located within several kilometers of each other on the
southeast coast of the island. Both sites date to the Chican Ostionoid (A.D. 1000-1500)
period.
Juan Dolio
1 "
The 5 C values for bone collagen of the four Juan Dolio skeletons (Figure 15)
suggest that the protein portion of the diet was derived from a combination of marine and
terrestrial animals. The 815N value is higher than for most reef fishes and is in the range
of terrestrial protein sources such as hutia, iguana, or marine birds. Most mollusks,
including land snails, have very low nitrogen values and do not appear to be a very large
component of the diet.
Figure 15. 815N versus 513C values for human bone collagen, Juan Dolio site, Hispaniola.
The 513C values of the bone apatite (Figure 16) do not cluster as well as the
isotopic values for bone collagen. Three of the four individuals have a diet where the


56
not forbid it. In fact, the various tool kits identified at different Lithic and Archaic sites
may be the result of local procurement strategies rather than innate cultural differences.
Archaic peoples have been traditionally categorized as foragers although
archaeobotanical data suggest that Archaic groups may have been gardening and
practicing arboriculture as well as gathering (Lundberg 1989; Newsom 1993). From the
Heywoods site in Barbados (1630 B.C., corrected shell date), Newsom (1993) has
identified manchineel (Hippomane mancinella), Guiana plum (Orypetes sp.) and palm
(Palmae). Mastic-bully (Mastichodendron foetidissimum) and trianthema (Trianthema
portulaca) have been recovered from Krum Bay (Pearsall 1983). The recovery of
primrose (Oenothera sp.) at the Archaic site of Hickmans Shell Heap in Nevis may be
evidence that Archaic populations gardened or tended plants (Newsom 1993:141).
Sapotaceae fruit was recovered from the Archaic Krum Bay site in St. Thomas; if the
seeds represent Manilkara zapota, this would be the earliest record of a housegarden
species in the West Indies (Newsom 1993:141; Pearsall 1989). Cupey (also called false
mamey, Clusia rosea) and zamia (Zamia debilis) have been found at Cueva de Berna in
southeastern Hispaniola (Veloz Maggiolo 1991, 1992; Veloz Maggiolo and Vega 1982).
Ground stone grinding tools (manos and metates) are also present in Archaic sites (Harris
1973, 1976; Petersen 1997; Veloz Maggiolo and Vega 1982). In other tropical forest
areas, grinding tools have been associated with wild or semi-domesticated panicoid
grasses (Newsom 1993:21). Preceramic horticulture has been documented at many sites
in North, Central, and South America so there is little reason to believe that preceramic
West Indian peoples possessed no forms of plant domestication (Pearsall 1995; Wills
1995).


187
values are indistinguishable. The apatite to collagen spacing (Figure 30) will help to
interpret this overlap.
Most individuals living at Paso del Indio (7 out of 11) obtained protein primarily
from terrestrial sources and carbohydrates primarily from C4/CAM plants such as maize.
The remaining four individuals do not fit neatly within any category. One falls closest to
the monoisotopic range with a diet of either C3 protein and energy, or marine/^ protein
and C4/CAM energy.
Paso del Indio Apatite to Collagen Spacing
C3 protein C4 energy
Monoisotopic
C4 protein C3 energy
11 Paso del Indio
-1 1 3 5 7 9 11
§13C
Figure 30. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 8I3C for human bone from the Paso
del Indio, compared to dietary values proposed by Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted
from Norr (1995).
Because the whole diet (apatite) data indicate consumption of C4 or CAM plants,
and the apatite to collagen spacing shows seven individuals with C4 or CAM plants as a
large part of their diet, we can assume that the remaining four individuals had some C4-
like energy in their diet. Therefore, although the experimental diets described by
Ambrose and Norr (1993) did not address areas of the graph between the large, medium,
and small spacing values, I believe that the Paso del Indio diet shows support for the


APPENDIX


25
groups living in the smaller islands of the Lesser Antilles did not exploit as wide a variety
of plants. Plants identified from Lesser Antillean sites in Grenada, Antigua and Nevis
include trianthema, primrose, cockspur, Mastic-bully, manchioneel, palm, fish poison,
lignum vitae and cedar. Trianthema seeds are especially high in protein and primrose
seeds have high oil content and essential amino acids that are useful for digestive and
dermatological problems (Newsom 1993).
Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna of the West Indies
It is beyond the scope of this dissertation to review the complete faunal records of
all islands of the West Indies. I will concentrate generally on the species of animals
known to have been used as food or potentially used as food by the prehistoric West
Indians. More specifically, I will concentrate on the islands from which I have human
bone samples. For more in-depth reviews of the biogeography and paleontology of the
West Indian vertebrates, the reader is referred to Morgan (1989), Morgan and Woods
(1986), Olson (1978), Pregill (1981a, 1981b, 1982), Pregill et al. (1988, 1991, 1994),
Pregill and Olson (1981), Steadman et al. (1984a, 1984b), Watters et al. (1984), and
Wing and Wing (1995).
Because the West Indian vertebrate fauna has suffered so much extinction during
the Late Quaternary, a paleontological/zooarchaeological perspective is required to
provide an overview of the major taxonomic groups. Many of the large mammals
recorded in paleontological (non-cultural) sites in the West Indies are rarely if ever
recovered in archaeological sites. This seems counterintuitive considering that these


6 SAMPLES FOR STABLE ISOTOPE ANALYSIS RATIONALE AND
PREPARATION 145
Extraction of Bone Collagen 146
Preparation of Bone Apatite Carbonate 149
Adjustments for Dietary Interpretation 150
7 RESULTS 153
Hispaniola 173
Juan Dolio 173
Boca del Soco 176
Manigat Cave, Isle de la Tortue 180
Puerto Rico 184
Paso del Indio 185
Maisabel 188
Bahamas 192
Anguilla 195
St. Martin 199
Saba 202
Petite Riviere, La Dsirade 206
Anse la Gourde, Guadeloupe 209
Inter-Island Dietary Comparisons 212
8 DISCUSSION 218
Correlation of Stable Isotope Data with Zooarchaeological Data 218
Isotope Values as Indicators of C4 Plant Use 222
Comparison of My Results with Those from Previous Isotope Studies 224
Biogeographic Variables 231
Island Size 232
Island Geology 235
Island Isolation 237
Archaeological Site Location 240
Cultural Variables That May Affect Diet 242
9 CONCLUSIONS 249
APPENDIX ISOTOPE VALUES OUTSIDE THE ACCEPTABLE RANGES 256
LIST OF REFERENCES 257
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
296


92
The few faunal remains recovered from the excavations were analyzed by
Lawrence (1934) and Wetmore (1938). To reconstruct the food items eaten by
prehistoric Bahamians, I also review the zooarchaeological data from recent excavations.
Abaco
Abaco (Figure 4) is located in the northern Bahamas in the tropical marine wet
and dry zone (Sealey 1992:82). The island is ca. 1690 km2 (Sealey 1994:90). Annual
rainfall is 125-150 cm (Sealey 1994). The modem vegetation is dominated by Caribbean
pine (Pinus caribaea) with a canopy reaching 21-24 m and hardwood trees and shrubs
reaching 3 m in the understory (Keegan 1985:93).
On Abaco, Rainey (1934) visited an ocean sinkhole called the Imperial
Lighthouse Cave from which he excavated a mandible, cranium and several long bones
of one individual, a juvenile female in a good state of preservation (#4683). The fronto-
occipital bone of the cranium was flattened as the Taino were recorded to have done
(Keegan 1982:59). Also recovered were numerous hutia bones, several fish and bird
bones (unidentified), conch shells, charcoal, and five thin, undecorated pottery sherds
(Rainey 1934:28). Because Rainey describes the sherds as thin and Palmetto ware is
usually thick and crumbly, the pottery was probably Meillacan pottery that was imported
from the Greater Antilles.


134
degree of spacing between the apatite and collagen 8I3C values depends upon the source
of the carbon (whether from a C3 or CHike source) and the amount of protein in the diet.
A small apatite to collagen spacing ensues with a diet of C4 protein and C3 energy (Table
7). A monoisotopic diet (C3 energy and C3 protein) shows an intermediate spacing in the
range of +5.7 %o. A comparable value results from a C4 energy (maize)/ C4 protein
(marine) diet (Ambrose and Norr 1993; Ambrose and Norr, unpublished data; Krueger
and Sullivan 1984). A large spacing, over +7.2 %o, results from diets with a C3 protein
and C4 energy content. Apatite to collagen spacing remains unchanged or increases
slightly with a decrease in the amount of C3 protein in the diet. The apatite to collagen
spacing becomes slightly less pronounced with a decrease in the amount of C4 protein in
the diet. Therefore, the degree of spacing between the 513C apatite value and that of the
collagen can help to determine the source of protein and energy in the diet.
Table 7. Proposed values for apatite to collagen spacing in the four major dietary types
defined by Ambrose and Norr (1993). Information on apatite to collagen spacing and
sample diet for mainland environments is from Norr (in press). In the last column, I have
suggested a sample diet of the West Indies that would yield comparable apatite to
collagen spacing.
Isotopic Composition of the Diet
Apatite to Collagen Spacing
Norrs Sample Diet
Sample Diet for
West Indies
Monoisotopic (C3 Protein/C3
Energy)
Intermediate (5.7 0.4%o)
deer/manioc
agouti/manioc
Monoisotopic (C4-like Protein/C4
Energy)
Intermediate (5.7 0.4%o)
marine fish/maize
marine fish/
maize
C4-like Protein/C3 Energy
Small (1.7 0.396)
marine fish/manioc
marine fish/
manioc
C3 Protein/ C4 Energy
Large (11.0 0.8%o)
deer/maize
agouti/maize
Unlike collagen values, diet to apatite values are not responsive to changes in the
percentages of protein to carbohydrates. Therefore the 813C value of the apatite is an


179
along with C3 and some C4/CAM plants foods. Because the 515N values are high, I doubt
that maize, which has a low 815N value, was consumed in large quantities.
513C
C3 protein C4
energy
Monoisotopic
C4 protein C3
energy
+ El Soco
Figure 22. Apatite to collagen spacing 8I5N versus 813C for human bone from the Boca
del Soco site, Hispaniola, compared to dietary values proposed by Ambrose and Norr
(1993) adapted from Norr (1995).
The remaining four individuals fall between a medium and large spacing,
indicating diets based on a mixture of resources with a large contribution of either
terrestrial animals or C4/CAM plants. One of these four is closest to a large spacing.
Since there is no evidence that C4 plants were a large (if any) part of the diet, these
individual are probably being pulled toward a large spacing by a greater proportion of
terrestrial animals in the diet.


244
terrestrial protein sources, and vary between feeding at high trophic levels to intermediate
trophic levels. The Ostionoid/Post-Saladoid diets are extremely variable with protein
derived from all possible marine and terrestrial sources and derived from organisms at all
trophic levels.
-22 -20 -18 -16 -14 -12 -10
o Ostionoid/Post-
Saladoid
X Saladoid/Ostionoid
A Saladoid
§13C
Figure 69. 813C and 815N values of human bone collagen of Saladoid,
Saladoid/Ostionoid transitional and Ostionoid peoples.
Comparing Saladoid to Ostionoid diets using a two-tailed t-test reveals no
significant difference between the S13C values of the diets (p>.05, Table 19). Therefore,
there is no marine/terrestrial dichotomy. The 815N values are significantly different,
being much lower for the Ostionoid/Post-Saladoid period. This may represent the
inclusion of maize in the diet, which has a low 81SN value.


44
number of species is likely to colonize the island (MacArthur and Wilson 1967:17). The
island size is important for several reasons. First, a larger island simply provides a larger
target for colonizing plants or animals, regardless of the means of dispersal. Size is also
important because the larger islands potentially can support larger populations that
increase chances of long-term survival. Thus more micro-habitats will develop, which in
turn can sustain a larger number of animals. Larger islands tend, on average, to be higher
in elevation (see below), yielding greater potential for topographic and/or climatic
heterogeneity.
The species-isolation curve illustrates that the number of species decreases with
distance from the source area (Lomolino 1994; MacArthur and Wilson 1967:17). In
other words, the farther away an island is from the source of potential colonists, the fewer
the types of plants and animals that can survive the dispersal event to colonize the island.
For example, coconuts disperse well because of their large floating seeds whereas less
durable types of fruit are not able to survive as long in salt water. Small mammals tend
to have a much greater chance of surviving an over-water journey than a large mammal
(Carlquist 1965) with notable exceptions such as elephants (Steadman and Martin in
press). Even once established, the survival rate of species decreases with greater
isolation because there is less chance that additional members of the species will reach
the island to augment the population, a phenomenon known as the rescue effect
(Thornton 1996).
A third factor in island colonization is the elevation of the island (Diamond and
Mayr 1976). High islands may provide more diverse habitats and may also be less likely
to be inundated by changes in sea level. Alternatively, high islands are less likely to have


286
Sillen, A. and M. Kavanagh
1982 Strontium and Paleodietary Research: A Review. Yearbook of Physical
Anthropology 25:67-90.
Simberloff, D. S.
1974 Equilibrium Theory of island Biogeography and Ecology. Annual Review of
Ecology and Systematics 5:161 -182.
1983 When Is an Island Community in Equilibrium? Science 220:1275-1277.
Smith, B. N. and S. Epstein
1971 Two Categories of 13C/I2C Ratios for Higher Plants. Plant Physiology 47:380-
384.
Smith, B. N., C. B. Otto, G. E. Martin and T. W. Boutton
1979 Photosynthetic Strategies of Plants. In Aris Land Plant Resources, edited by J.
R. Goodin and D. K. Northington, pp. 474-481. Texas Technical University Press,
Lubbock.
Smith, B. D.
1990 The Mississippian Emergence. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.
Spalding, M., F. Blasco and C. Field (editors)
1997 World Mangrove Atlas. International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems,
Okinawa.
Spencer Larsen, C., M. J. Schoeninger, N. J. van der Merwe, K. M. Moore and J. A. Lee-
Thorp
1992 Carbon and Nitrogen Stable isotopic Signatures of Human Dietary Change in
the Georgia Bight. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 89:197-214.
Spielmann, K. A., M. J. Schoeninger and K. Moore
1990 Plains-Pueblo Interdependence and Human Diet at Pecos Pueblo, New Mexico.
American Antiquity 55:745-765.
Stafford, T. W., Jr.
1990 Late Pleistocene Megafauna Extinctions and the Clovis Culture: Absolute
Ages Based on Accelerator 14C Dating of Skeletal Remains. In Megafauna and
Man: Discovery of America's Heartland, edited by L. D. Agenbrood, J. I. Mead
and L. Nelson, pp. 118-122. Vol. 1. The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South
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Stafford, T. W., P. E. Hare, L. Currie, A. J. T. Jull and D. Donahue
1990 Accuracy of North American Human Skeleton Ages. Quaternary Research
34:111-120.


247
crab) oriented diet during the Saladoid to one based on marine (mollusks and fishes)
animals during the Ostionoid /post-Saladoid periods. The data show that the resources
available on an island, which are related to island size, age, geology, and isolation,
influence the diet more than cultural changes within the various ceramic periods.
When the whole diet is examined, once again there is no pattern in the 813C values
that would indicate a preference for either marine or terrestrial foods or C3 or C4 plants
(Figure 71). When the 815N data are examined, however, a pattern does emerge. The
Post-Saladoid groups have very similar 8I5N values that are in the range of reef fishes
and C3 plants. C4 plants may be responsible for lowering the 815N values at some sites.
The sample for the Saladoid/Ostionoid transitional group is too small to be very
informative. The Ostionoid individuals fed at all trophic levels and had a wide variety of
terrestrial- and marine-oriented diets. The Saladoid groups generally fed at higher tropic
levels than the Ostionoid groups. This may be related to having less low trophic level
marine animals and more C3 plants in their diets.
By comparing biogeographic variables during different cultural periods, it is
apparent that prehistoric diet is influenced heavily by physiographic characteristics of
islands and their biological counterparts. Small shifts in diet between the Saladoid and
Ostionoid periods may be detectable in the zooarchaeological record, but with the
material available for this study, no temporal shift in diet could be detected using stable
isotopes. Zooarchaeological data and isotope data generally agree for sites with marine
diets, but often at sites on larger islands or inland sites, the terrestrial protein component
may be underestimated using only zooarchaeological data. The isotope data concerning
the use of C4 plants such as maize, particularly at the Saladoid period component of


along the southeastern coast of the island and a small stream runs adjacent to the site
(Figure 12).
115
Figure 12. La Dsirade and Guadeloupe showing archaeological sites mentioned in the
text
Petite Riviere was first excavated by Pierre Bodu in 1984. In 1995, Maaike de
Waal returned to excavate additional units in order to examine issues of subsistence and
cultural context. The following site description is from de Waal (1996).


204
Figure 48. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human bone
apatite, Kelbeys Ridge 2 and Spring Bay 1, Saba.
The mean values of collagen and apatite for the two sites cluster with very little
error (Figure 49). The mean collagen values show a diet intermediate between marine
and terrestrial protein, but a whole diet pulled toward the C3 end of the scale by a major
dietary contribution of non-maize cultigens.
-24 -22 -20 -18 -16 -14 -12
Collagen
Apatite
§13C
Figure 49. Mean 813C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and apatite,
Kelbeys Ridge 2 and Spring Bay 1, Saba.


74
caciques extracted tribute and labor from his or her subjects. At contact, Hispaniola was
divided into five main cacicazgos ruled by five paramount caciques.
Taino social organization was hierarchical. The noble class or nitainos included
the cacique, behiques (shamans), and clan-lords. Commoners were ranked below the
nitainos followed by naboras, who were service-related people but probably not slaves
(Curet 1992b:71-72; Keegan 1997:79). Each paramount cacique ruled a group of
subchiefs with control over large districts. Subchiefs had control over village headmen.
Taino settlements were arranged as primary, secondary and tertiary centers of
authority (Siegel 1991b:236). The largest sites were ceremonial centers where the
caciques resided, surrounded by hamlets and villages (Siegel 1991b:237). This is in
contrast to Saladoid sites that are relatively evenly distributed and early Ostionoid sites
that have ball courts and ceremonial centers but are smaller than the Taino version
(Siegel 1991b:237). The ceremonial centers had large plaza areas, the later ones often
lined in stone, that were probably used as ball courts and plazas for other ceremonies
(Alegra 1983). The chiefdoms in Puerto Rico were not as expansive as those in
Hispaniola during the contact period. To date, 79 ball courts and plazas have been
located at 72 sites across Hispaniola ranging in age from A.D. 700 to 1500. In Puerto
Rico, the ball courts were size-ranked with smaller courts surrounding and outnumbering
the larger courts (Siegel 1991b:236).
The subsistence system of the Taino Indians is best known from Hispaniola,
Puerto Rico, and Cuba through the historic accounts of Gonzalo Fernndez de Oviedo
(1959), Bartolom de Las Casas (1909, 1951, 1971), and Christopher Columbus (Dunn
and Kelley 1989; Jane 1988). With the rise of chiefdoms came the need and/or ability for


61
The Saladoid were horticulturists whose staple crop may have been manioc,
supplemented by other tubers, legumes, and house garden plants. Although no manioc
tubers have been recovered from Saladoid sites, their reliance on manioc is inferred from
the recovery of ceramic griddles. Tended plants were supplemented by wild varieties that
could be gathered. The Saladoid peoples may have brought some plants with them from
South America such as the Panama tree (Sterculia aptala) (Newsom 1993:176).
Saladoid Material Culture
During the Saladoid period, the ceramics are diverse in shape and highly
decorative with white on red painting (WOR), polychrome painting in red, white and
black, zoned incised crosshatching (ZIC), and painting combined with incising (Rouse
1992:82). The Saladoid groups continued to produce chert artifacts but the flakes and
blades were much smaller and less well made than those of the preceramic groups. Like
the preceramic groups, stone axes and shell adzes and other shell tools were produced,
perhaps influenced by the preceramic peoples that the Saladoid migrants encountered
(Rouse 1992:84). That the Saladoid had a rich religious belief system and mythology is
suggested by the presence of incense burners and three-pointed stones called zemis. This
religious system later became elaborated into Taino ancestor worship (Allaire 1997a:24;
Roe 1989; Siegel 1992). Inter-island and mainland trade are indicated by ornamental
items such as carved pendants, some made from stone imported from outside of the West
Indies, and other trade items such as shell beads and jewelry made from semi-precious
stones (Allaire 1997a; Boomert 1987; Watters 1997).
The ceramic assemblage in the Lesser Antilles was influenced by the Barrancoid
culture of South America by A.D. 350 (Allaire 1997a:24; Rouse 1992:127). This


12
second segment created the Aves Swell, then split to form the Lesser Antillean Arc
(Burke 1988; Sealey 1992:8). The third segment collided with northwestern South
America and through strike-slip motion formed islands off the north coast of South
America from the ABC islands to Tobago (Burke 1988:216-217).
By the early Miocene (25 mya), present-day plate boundaries were fairly well
established. Islands at the boundary between the North American and Caribbean plates
have been formed largely by left-lateral strike-slip faulting. Cuba was formed by the end
of the Paleocene (ca. 55 mya) by a collision of a section of the Great Arc with the
Florida-Bahama-Cuba platform. Remnant sections of this are also found in Hispaniola,
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. During the Neogene (ca. 25 mya), two parallel left-
lateral strike-slip fault zones in the northeastern Caribbean at the North America-
Caribbean plate boundary zone were responsible for major uplift (orogenesis) as well as
downthrust (oceanic troughs) in the Greater Antillean region (Mann et al. 1990:315). The
northern strike-slip zone extends from the Puerto Rico Trench through northern
Hispaniola and the southern edge of Cuba, then into the Cayman Trough in a sea-floor
spreading zone through Central America to the Middle America Trench. The southern
strike-slip zone extends west from central Hispaniola and the southern Haitian peninsula
across the Jamaica passage (between Haiti and Jamaica), through Jamaica, then to the
Cayman Trough (Mann et al. 1990:310-311). Jamaica was eroded and submerged in the
Eocene (ca. 45 mya), but emerged above sea level by the early Miocene (23 mya).
Jamaica was uplifted farther during the late Miocene/early Pliocene and again after the
middle Pliocene (Mann et al. 1990:318). Puerto Rico also was uplifted in the Miocene
and Pliocene (Mann et al. 1990:318).


66
The Island Carib used bow and arrows, raided villages, were described as being
cannibals, had a mens house in the center of the village, had a tribal level of social
organization where a war chief was designated as necessary for raids, and produced
alcoholic beverages (Allaire 1997a). Island Carib settlements as recorded by Father
Breton (1978) in the 17th century were usually located in humid areas reminiscent of
mainland tropical rain forests with less emphasis on a maritime economy (Allaire
1991:718). This is in contrast to the Suazey sites that were usually located on the arid
southeastern part of the island (Pinchn 1952 cited in Allaire 1991). The Island Carib
probably were Arawakan speakers who used a Carib-based pidgin during trading with the
Carib-speaking Indians of Guyana (Cooper 1997:187).
The best candidate for Island Carib pottery is that from the Cayo site in St.
Vincent and other sites in the Windward Islands dating from A.D. 1250 (Allaire 1997b).
Cayo pottery has elements of Suazey pottery (finger-indenting, scratched surfaces and red
slip) as well as elements similar to late prehistoric pottery from the Guianas (lobed rims,
deep V-incisions in curvilinear motifs, punctation, cleat-shaped lugs, nicked applique
fillets, and abundant quartz temper (Boomert 1986). Cayo pottery underlies Suazey
pottery at the Camden Park site in St. Vincent, supporting the hypothesis that the Suazey
and Island Carib may have co-existed for a time (Boomert 1986).
Tainos
The Ostionoid period (A.D. 600-1500) in the Greater Antilles was a time of
population advance to the north into the Bahamian Archipelago and west along the coasts
of Hispaniola into Jamaica and Cuba. Rouse has divided the early Ostionoid period into
the Elenan Ostionoid in eastern Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and Ostionan


32
for prehistoric West Indian foragers (Carbone 1980; deFrance 1988; Rainey 1940).
Remains of land crabs have been found in sites on Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Saba,
St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Eustatius, Grenada, and Antigua (deFrance 1988; van der Klift 1985;
Wing 1989; Wing 1996a, Wing and Kozuch 1998; Wing et al. n.d.).
Birds are discussed in the zooarchaeological literature of the Antilles much less
than fish or mammals even though, as in so many other island groups around the world,
birds provided a reliable source of protein and fat in the prehistoric West Indian diets.
The paucity of bird data may be due to some combination of several reasons. 1. Bird
bones are actually scarce in certain West Indian archaeological sites. 2. Poor recovery
methods in the field lead to underrepresentation of bird bones. 3. Bird bones are
collected adequately but are not analyzed thoroughly because of inadequate interest or
comparative osteological collection.
The birds most commonly recovered from archaeological middens in the Antilles
can be classified into three broad categories: seabirds, aquatic birds, and landbirds.
Seabirds are part of marine food webs and include shearwaters (Puffinus Iherminieri, PL
puffinus), petrels (Pterodroma sp.) boobies (Sula spp.), pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis),
terns (Steminae), and others. Aquatic species are dominated by herons (Ardeidae),
plovers (Charadriidae), and sandpipers (Scolopacidae). Landbirds are extremely diverse
in the West Indies and include hawks (Accipitridae), falcons (Falconidae), rails
(Rallidae), pigeons and doves (Columbidae), parrots (Amazona spp.), cuckoos
(Cuculidae), owls (Tytonidae, Strigidae), woodpeckers (Picidae) and many passerines
(Passeriformes).


collected by Brian over a two year period. Brian was helped by numerous people in the
Turks and Caicos whose names I do not know but would like to thank anyway. George
Burgess of the Florida Museum of Natural History identified most of the fish I brought
back from the islands, even when I had only a head. Kurt Auffenberg identified most of
the mollusks. Dave Steadman helped me collect the land crab samples and he provided
the bird specimens through Mrs. Sandy Buckner, Director of the Bahamas National Trust.
The samples were run in two isotope labs. Most of the samples were run by Dr. Jason
Curtis, in the lab of Dr. Dave Hodell in the Department of Geology, University of
Florida. The remaining samples were run by Matt Emmons of Mountain Mass
Spectrometry, Inc. I would like to thank both Jason and Matt for getting the results to me
in time to finish my dissertation this semester.
My committee was a great help in guiding this research. Dr. Norr spent one
afternoon a week for the semester before my qualiflying exams going over theoretical
issues in stable isotopes. I greatly appreciate her time and all the lunches she bought me.
She also taught me the preparation technique for bone collagen and carbonate. Dr.
Elizabeth Wing taught me faunal analysis and always answered my questions about
resource use and animal habitats. Dr. Larry Harris provided theoretical focus and always
managed to make me think about an issue I hadnt considered before or consider an issue
from a different perspective. Dr. Mike Moseley helped me get accepted to graduate
school and has been a mentor ever since undergraduate days. Most of all, though, I
would like to thank Dr. Bill Keegan who has been a friend over the years. He believed in
me even when as a potential graduate student I told him that I wanted to do West Indian
archaeology because I liked beaches.
VI


283
1989 Peoples and Cultures of the Saladoid Fronteir in the Greater Antilles. In Early
Ceramic Population Lifeways and Adaptive Strategies in the Caribbean, edited by
P. E. Siegel, pp. 383-403. BAR International Series, Oxford.
1992 The Tainos: Rise and Decline of the People Who Greeted Columbus. Yale
University Press, New Have.
Rouse, I. and R. E. Alegra
1990 Excavations at Maria de la Cruz Cave and Hacienda Grande Village Site,
Loiza, Puerto Rico. Yale University Publications in Anthropology, New Haven.
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1978 Caribbean. In Chronologies in New World Archaeology, edited by R. E. Taylor
and C. W. Meighan, pp. 431-81. Academic Press, New York.
Rouse, I., and Jose M. Cruxent
1963 Venezuelan Archaeology. Yale University Press, New Haven.
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1992 A Reconsideration of Trace Element Analysis in Prehistoric Bone. In Skeletal
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Sanoja, M.
1989 From Foraging to Food Production in Northeastern Venezuela and the
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Sauer, C. O.
1966 The Early Spanish Main. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los
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Sauer, J.D.
1969 Oceanic Islands and Biogeographic Theory: A Review. The Geographical
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1995 Reevaluation of Maize Introduction in West-Central Illinois: The Evidence of
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1985 Trophic Level Effects of 15N/14N and 13C/12C Ratios in Bone Collagen and
Strontium Levels in Bone Mineral. Journal of Human Evolution 14:515-525.


110
Spring Bay 1 Site
Spring Bay 1 extends from the coast to 90 m inland and covers an area of ca. 3050
m2. The site is located on an alluvial fan bounded on the southeast by a rocky ridge and
to the northwest by Spring Bay Gut. Prehistoric pottery sherds, coral, shell, and stone are
visible on the surface. Thirteen excavation units (78 m2) were dug at this site in 10 cm
aribitrary levels due to the absence of clear stratigraphy within the midden (Hoogland
1996:77). In the upper levels of units (0-60 cm), shells, fish bones and animal bones
were equally represented. Cittarium pica were the major mollusks in the upper levels.
Land crab exoskeletons (Gecarcinus ruricola) and smaller mollusks such as Nerita sp.
and Nodilittorina sp. are more prevalent below 60 cm. The earliest date for the site is
1640 +/- 25 BP calibrated to A.D. 260-285 with the youngest date being 620 +/- 25 BP
calibrated to A.D. 1290-1330. The transition from reliance on land crabs to reliance on
mollusks occurred around A.D. 850.
Spring Bay 1 was occupied during three different cultural periods. The earliest
was during the Cedrosan Saladoid period. Ceramic spindle whorls, presumably for
spinning cotton were also recovered as were hammerstones, chert tools, polishing stones
and a fragment of a stone axe. Beads, amulets, and other decorative elements were made
of shell (Strombus gigas and Oliva sp.), jadeite imported from outside the West Indies,
and bird bone. Two zemis, one of coral and one of stone, were also found.
The second period of settlement at Spring Bay 1 dates to the Mamoran
Troumassoid (post-Saladoid) period. Spindle whorls, shell adzes and chisels, and several
spoon-like tools were found in addition to chert tools, hammerstones and 15 metates
made from beach boulders. Most of the chert was imported from Long Island off the


122
The standard used for carbon is a marine fossil, Belemnitella americana, from the
Peedee Formation in South Carolina (Craig 1957). Because the standard contains more
I3C than in all dietary items and most human tissues, the 513C values will almost always
be expressed as a negative number (Ambrose 1993; DeNiro and Epstein 1978a). The
standard measure for nitrogen isotope values is atmospheric nitrogen, AIR (Mariotti
1983). Since most food resources and human tissues have more 15N than the standard,
the values normally are reported as positive numbers (DeNiro and Epstein 1981;
Ambrose 1993)
History of Isotope Analysis
The stable isotope technique of reconstructing human paleodiet came about as a
result of fortuitous research that occurred in several fields including botany,
biochemistry, marine biology and archaeology beginning in the late 1960s. The first
suggestion that stable isotopes could be used to reconstruct paleodiet was made by Parker
(1964), who stated that marine animals reflect the carbon signatures of the foods they eat,
and that this might be applied to the study of human diet. At the time, it was thought that
all plants used the Calvin photosynthetic pathway, which produces a 3-carbon molecule.
However, research on sugar cane (a tropical grass) revealed a second photosynthetic
pathway that results in a 4-carbon molecule (Hatch and Slack 1966; Hatch et al. 1967).
At first, Hatch and Slack thought that this pathway was unique to sugar cane but further
research showed that the C4 pathway was used by certain other tropical grasses such as
maize, millet and sorghum. Craig (1953) had found an anomalous 813C signature in grass


139
part of the standard protocol for stable isotope analysis of prehistoric human bone. Until
such time, we should look to diagenetic alteration of apatite carbonate as a possible factor
in interpreting spurious isotopic results from poorly preserved bone.
Issues Addressed Using Stable Isotopes
The majority of the stable isotope studies to date have analyzed human bone
collagen in an effort to determine when maize or another C4 grass became a staple part of
the diet. Studies of this nature have been conducted for human populations in North
America (Ambrose 1987; Bender et al. 1981; Boutton et al. 1984; Buikstra et al. 1987,
1988; Buikstra and Milner 1991; Hutchinson et al. 1998; Schoeninger et al. 1990;
Schwarcz et al. 1985; Spencer Larsen et al. 1992; van der Merwe and Vogel 1978; Vogel
and van der Merwe 1977), Mesoamerica (DeNiro and Epstein 1978a; Norr 1981, 1984,
1990, 1995; White and Schwarcz 1989), and South America (Burger and van der Merwe
1990; van der Merwe et al. 1981). In these studies, a less negative 5I3C value through
time was interpreted as increased reliance on C4 plants. In areas where marine or other
C4-like resources were not included in the diet, bone collagen 513C values become less
negative with the addition of maize to the diet. The results of these studies would be
enhanced by analyzing 513C values in bone apatite as well.
Isotopic analysis has also been used to examine the how the health of a population
is affected by increased consumption of maize or other C4 foods (Habicht-Mauche et al.
1994; Hutchinson and Norr 1994; Hutchinson et al. 1998; Norr 1984, 1990, 1992;
Schoeninger et al. 1990; Spencer Larsen et al. 1992). Stable isotope analysis has also


47
reason to believe that with enough time, most if not all of the types of organisms found in
the source area will eventually disperse to and colonize the island. As mentioned above,
as more micro-habitats become present on the island, the island will be able to support
more species. By comparing old islands to younger islands, such as the Greater Antilles
to the Bahamas, it is apparent that size may have less to do with the number of species
than the time available for colonization (see below). In general, MacArthur and Wilsons
model may be applied to islands with no environmental change, no human impact, and
those islands where speciation has been absent or minimal (Brown 1995; Brown and
Lomolino 1989; Thornton 1996).
Equilibrium theory predicts some regular rate of extinction, yet all empirical
evidence would argue that extinctions on islands rarely occur in the absence of human
influences. Natural occurrences such as tropical storms (short term), reduced carrying
capacity (short or long term), major climatic changes (long term) and sea level rise (long
term) will impact floras and faunas (James 1995). As shown in the Galapagos, Polynesia
and the West Indies, nearly all extinction can be traced to humans who hunt the animals,
clear tracts of land for agriculture which in turn destroys habitats, introduce foreign
species (predators), introduce diseases, and interrupt interspecific relationships (Athens
1997; Case 1996; Steadman 1986, 1991, 1993).
The older an island is the richer the diversity of plant and animal species.
Therefore, the Greater Antilles have more diversity and higher endemism than the Lesser
Antilles and Bahamas because they are older, larger, have more relief, have a much
different tectonic history and have been closer to continental source areas (see Geology
section of this chapter). The Lesser Antilles were formed along a subduction zone;


Table 8. Isotope data for skeletal material from the West Indies.
SITE
PROVE
NIENCE
LAB#
BONE
AGE
SEX
%N/wt
%C/wt
C:N
815Nco,
Diet
5,5Nc01
513Ccol
cl3r
O '-'apa
A813
c
v-'apa-
col
Diet
513Capa
Yield
Col.
Yield
Apa.
Juan Dolio, D.R.
3
AS 9
rib
adult
male
12.01
32.47
3.14
11.10
8.60
-16.70
-16.77
-0.07
-26.27
2.70
14.85
Juan Dolio, D.R.
8
AS 10
rib
adult
male
13.36
38.71
3.36
12.28
9.78
-18.05
-10.87
7.18
-20.37
5.26
5.59
Juan Dolio, D.R.
12
AS 11
rib
adult
male
14.01
38.85
3.22
12.03
9.53
-17.22
-11.61
5.61
-21.11
7.55
2.65
Juan Dolio, D.R.
97
AS 12
rib
adult
male
14.68
40.85
3.23
12.01
9.51
-16.50
-10.74
5.76
-20.24
1.13
6.07
El Soco I, D.R.
48
AS 4
rib
adult
male
13.75
35.91
3.03
12.47
9.97
-17.44
-15.78
1.66
-25.28
3.95
16.53
El Soco I, D.R.
51
AS 5
rib
adult
male
12.38
34.01
3.19
11.83
9.33
-18.17
-9.45
8.72
-18.95
3.94
16.22
El Soco I, D.R.
54 A
AS 6
rib
adult
male
13.30
38.11
3.32
12.19
9.69
-17.60
-11.30
6.30
-20.80
3.94
14.29
El Soco I, D.R.
56
AS 7
rib
adult
female
13.37
37.12
3.22
12.03
9.53
-18.57
-11.58
6.99
-21.08
5.28
9.38
El Soco I, D.R.
74
AS 8
rib
adult
female
12.63
32.03
2.94
12.09
9.59
-17.35
-11.99
5.36
-21.49
2.92
30.06
El Soco I, D.R.
65
AS 19
rib
adult
male
11.37
33.67
3.44
11.29
8.79
-18.62
-11.91
6.71
-21.41
4.79
1.97
El Soco I, D.R.
87
AS 20
rib
adult
female
13.64
35.43
3.01
11.46
8.96
-18.52
-12.11
6.41
-21.61
7.18
4.92
El Soco II, D.R.
21
AS 18
rib
adult
male
9.55
28.58
3.47
11.86
9.36
-17.83
-10.73
7.10
-20.23
3.81
6.17
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5019
AS 104
r. humerus
unk
unk
13.86
39.22
3.28
8.77
6.27
-17.28
-10.18
7.10
-19.68
4.30
63.56
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5027
AS 105
r. humerus
unk
unk
14.00
39.72
3.29
8.34
5.84
-16.38
-8.69
7.69
-18.19
6.62
60.61
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5056
AS 106
r. humerus
unk
unk
14.68
41.26
3.26
7.92
5.42
-17.97
-12.87
5.10
-22.37
11.25
51.53
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5006
AS 107
r. humerus
unk
unk
13.68
38.93
3.30
9.88
7.38
-15.58
-12.25
3.33
-21.75
7.37
61.35
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5007
AS 108
r. humerus
unk
unk
12.87
37.82
3.41
8.80
6.30
-13.22
-8.47
4.75
-17.97
5.47
55.96
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5014
AS 109
r. humerus
unk
unk
4.87
14.06
3.35
6.59
4.09
-16.50
-10.77
5.73
-20.27
0.55
67.23
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5015
AS 110
r. humerus
unk
unk
11.85
34.73
3.40
8.64
6.14
-16.71
-8.24
8.47
-17.74
2.55
64.61


203
The collagen 5I3C values indicate that the protein portion of the diet was derived
from a mixture of terrestrial and marine animals (Figure 47). The 815N values are at the
high end of those for reef fishes and in the range of those for terrestrial mammals,
reptiles, and some marine and terrestrial birds. The 515N values for Saba are higher than
for any other Lesser Antillean or Bahamian sites. This may be due to the incorporation
into the diet of birds (marine birds) or carnivorous fishes such as sharks that have high
815N values. It would argue against the incorporation of maize in the diet.
-22 -20 -18 -16 -14 -12 -10
8I3C
Figure 47. 815N versus 8I3C values for human bone collagen, Kelbeys Ridge 2 and
Spring Bay 1, Saba.
The 813C apatite values from Saba indicate that most carbohydrate in the diet was
based upon C3 plants (Figure 48). No contribution of C4 plants can be detected.


295
Zucchi, A.
1990 La Serie Meillacoide y sus Relaciones con al Cuenca del Orinoco. In
Proceedings of the Eleventh Congress of the International Association for
Caribbean Archaeology, edited by A. G. Pantel Tekakis, I. Vargas Arenas and M.
Sanoja Obediente, pp. 272-286. La Fundacin Arqueolgica, Antropolgica e
Histrica de Puerto Rico, San Juan.
1991 Prehispanic Connections Between the Orinoco, the Amazon and the Caribbean
Area. In Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Congress for Caribbean
Archaeology, edited by E. N. Ayubi and J. B. Haviser, pp. 202-220. vol. No. 9.
Reports of the Archaeological-Anthropological Institute of the Netherlands
Antilles, Curacao.
Zucci, A., K. Tarble and J. E. Vaz
1984 The Ceramic Sequence of the New TL and C14 Dates for the Aguerito site of
the Middle Orinoco .Journal of Field Archaeology 11:155-180.


42
very limited explanation of how this can be achieved and did not apply the principles to
any current problems in West Indian prehistory.
Dave Watters (1989) detailed how faunal material recovered from archaeological
sites can be used to examine endemism, geographic range, introductions, extinctions,
morphology and systematics of West Indian animals. A temporal perspective that
includes paleontological (pre-cultural) data is necessary if we are to examine human
impact on these animals. The paleontological data can supply information on the array
of animals available to human populations initially colonizing an island. Watters pointed
out the importance of having solid information on provenience and chronology for faunal
material if conclusions about change through time and human impact are to be drawn.
He also cautioned archaeologists and biogeographers to recognize the limits of their data.
For zooarchaeological material this includes recognizing that not all items included in the
diet of a people will be recovered from middens.
Wing and Wing (1995) applied the principles of island biogeographic theory to
terrestrial and marine faunal material recovered from ceramic-period sites in the West
Indies. Their study was undertaken in order to understand how humans adapt to their
environments. The authors found decreased diversity in the types of animals exploited
with a greater distance from the mainland source area. They also found greater diversity
in the number of species used for food on large islands versus smaller islands. These two
patterns can be expected for terrestrial animals since paleontological records indicate that
generally the larger islands (i.e. Greater Antilles) had more terrestrial species than the
smaller islands (i.e. Lesser Antilles, Bahamas) even before human impact (but see
below). Still, the positive correlation between island area and species richness may not


224
like signatures indicate consumption of CAM plants rather than C4 plants since CAM
plants have a higher 815N value than C4 plants.
The 813C and 8I5N values of the samples from the Bahamas, Anguilla, St. Martin
and Saba show no evidence of C4 plant consumption in detectable amounts.
Comparison of My Results with Those from Previous Isotope Studies
Five previous isotope studies have been conducted on West Indian human
populations. Two of these used samples from the same sites I analyzed. In some cases,
the same individuals were analyzed, but only the bone collagen. I will compare my
findings with those of Keegan (1985), Keegan and DeNiro (1988), van Klinken (1992)
and Norr (in press).
Keegan (1985) and Keegan and DeNiro (1988) analyzed human bone collagen
from 17 individuals excavated from the Bahamas and one individual from the Hacienda
Grande site on Puerto Rico in an effort to distinguish temporal patterns in resource use.
Keegan had no radiocarbon dates or relative dates on the skeletal material but
hypothesized that the earliest diets should be more terrestrially oriented because the
optimal path of diet breadth expansion is from exploitation of terrestrial resources to a
shift to marine resources (Keegan and DeNiro 1988:330). At the time Keegan conducted
his study, the common practice was to analyze only the bone collagen since collagen was
thought to reflect the whole diet (see Chapter 5).
The data from samples analyzed by both Keegan and myself are contained in
Table 13. Both Keegan and I have added 2.5%o to the 815N value to account for the diet


41
personal communication, November 18, 1998). Other general patterns are that sites in
the Greater Antilles have more inshore/estuarine animals than the Lesser Antilles and
Bahamas, and sites in the Greater Antilles and early ceramic-period sites in the Lesser
Antilles have more terrestrial animals than later sites in the Lesser Antilles and all
Bahamian sites (Wing 1989). These patterns will be explored further in the Results
chapter of this dissertation.
Island Biogeography
Island biogeography has been introduced to West Indian archaeology in a number
of recent papers. Most of these papers address how island biogeography can be applied
to archaeological questions, but do not actually apply any specific biogeographic models
to the analysis of archaeological data.
Keegan and Diamond (1987) reviewed the basic principles of island
biogeographic theory as developed to explain the distribution of plants and non-human
animals, and then discussed these principles in terms of human colonization of island
groups throughout the world. Their informative discussion of the West Indies still stands
as a good review of the basic principles of the theory, although archaeological research of
the past decade has considerably augmented the data they used pertaining to prehistoric
colonization and subsistence in the West Indies.
While reviewing prehistoric West Indian subsistence practices, Davis (1988:182)
stated that biogeographic theory will allow archaeologists to understand processes of
prehistoric cultural change through colonization theory. However, he gave only a


76
Gourds (Crescentia cujete, Lagenaria sp.) were grown for use as containers. Red
dye was extracted from achiote (Bixa orellana) and black dye from the fruit of the
Genipa americana tree. Cohoba (Piptadeniaperegrina) was mixed with tobacco and
used as a halucinogen. Poison was extracted from the manchineel tree to tip arrows and
darts. Cotton was spun to make clothing, hammocks, idols, and zemis. The idols,
patterned in a human form, were often inlaid with beads and other decorative items.
Canoes and duhos were manufactured from trees such as Ceiba pentandra, cedar
('Cedrela sp.), and mahogany (Swietenia sp.) (Oviedo 1959:78; Sauer 1966:560).
Crops were grown either in montones (mounded fields), in fields cleared by slash
and bum techniques, or in house gardens. Besides constructing montones to increase crop
production, irrigation systems were developed in arid areas using canals to divert water to
the fields. Las Casas (1909) reported a system of irrigation canals in the province of
Xaragua (southwestern Haiti) to provide water for the conucos (planted mounds).
From historic accounts, it appears that most protein in Taino diet was from the
sea. The Taino fishing technology included the use of nets, traps, harpoons, hooks,
poison, and remora, a type of fish that will attach to other fishes. Sea turtles were
captured either in the water using nets, by harpooning, or while nesting on beaches. Both
meat and eggs of sea turtles were consumed. Marine mammals were captured including
manatees, West Indian monk seal, and possibly even whales. Terrestrial animals would
have been hunted and trapped. The distribution of terrestrial and marine animals was
discussed in Chapter 2. In general, we can assume that the terrestrial and some marine
animal populations may have been reduced by the Taino period due to overexploitation.


from Petite Riviere and was very patient, waiting for the results, while I finished this
study. Peter Siegel excavated the large village site of Maisabel, in Puerto Rico. Peter put
me in touch with Mike Roca of Centro de Investigaciones Indgenas de Puerto Rico.
Mike allowed me to visit the repository for the Maisabel artifacts and chose the skeletal
samples for this study. Osvaldo Garcia Goyco, Adalberto Mauras and Edwin Crespo
provided the samples from Paso del Indio and were kind enough to invite me to the site
(and pay for the trip) so that I could see the excavation in progress. During fieldwork in
the Dominican Republic, I was fortunate enough to meet Fernando Luna Calderon and
Glenis Tavares. Fernando provided the material from Juan Dolio and Boca del Soco and
he and Glenis spent their free time taking me to visit sites in the D.R. Once the word got
out that I was looking for skeletal material, other archaeologists were kind enough to
send me samples. Dave Watters and Jim Petersen sent samples from Anguilla, Jay
Haviser sent samples from St. Martin, and Dave Davis sent samples from La Tortue.
Finally, Bill Keegan, my friend and mentor, arranged through Leopold J. Pospisil and
Irving Rouse of the Peabody Museum at Yale University, for me to have samples from
Raineys 1934 excavations in the Bahamas. This study was supported by a grant from
the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Incorporated, Grant number
6001.
I would also like to thank other friends and colleagues who helped me with this
study in various ways. Elizabeth Wing and Betsy Carlson provided faunal samples from
zooarchaeological collections. Brian Riggs, Manager of the Turks and Caicos National
Museum, asked local fishermen to bring him one sample of each species of fish. All of
the fish analyzed in this study, many of the other marine animals and the com were


Table 8. Continued
SITE
PROVE
NIENCE
LAB #
BONE
AGE
SEX
%N/wt
%C/wt
C:N
5,5Nco,
Diet
515Ncoi
513Ccol
513Capa
A513
c
v-/apa-
col
Diet
5,3Capa
Yield
Col.
Yield
Apa.
Kelbey's Ridge,
Saba
U61, F132
AS 60
1. humerus
adult
female
14.04
40.36
3.33
10.73
8.23
-15.43
-13.10
2.33
-22.60
7.80
45.10
Kelbey's Ridge,
Saba
U65, F313
AS 61
1. femur
child
unk
13.73
38.53
3.26
10.11
7.61
-15.68
-11.28
4.40
-20.78
6.51
62.79
Kelbey's Ridge,
Saba
U67, F337
AS 62
r. femur
child
unk
13.71
39.84
3.37
11.41
8.91
-15.35
-9.28
6.07
-18.78
6.79
58.18
Petite Riviere, La
Desirade
# 1
AS 34
unk
unk
14.30
41.02
3.33
10.91
8.41
-13.91
-7.90
6.01
-17.40
11.68
5.60
Petite Riviere, La
Desirade
# 1A
AS 35
unk
unk
13.75
39.74
3.35
10.37
7.87
-13.88
-8.89
4.99
-18.39
23.86
7.97
Petite Riviere, La
Desirade
# IB
AS 36
unk
unk
11.32
32.49
3.33
9.72
7.22
-14.53
-7.82
6.71
-17.32
6.86
17.06
Anse la Gourde,
Guadeloupe
U27, F304
AS 68
1. humerus
unk
unk
12.08
33.24
3.19
9.81
7.31
-15.01
-8.49
6.52
-17.99
4.10
46.60
Anse la Gourde,
Guadeloupe
U25, F311
AS 69
unk
unk
13.20
36.06
3.17
10.40
7.90
-14.50
-6.03
8.47
-15.53
4.96
35.44
Anse la Gourde,
Guadeloupe
U?, F288
AS 70
r. femur
unk
unk
14.65
40.80
3.23
10.72
8.22
-14.61
-9.02
5.59
-18.52
8.45
26.87
Anse la Gourde,
Guadeloupe
U25, F195
AS 71
r. femur
unk
unk
11.08
29.83
3.12
11.91
9.41
-12.57
-5.77
6.80
-15.27
1.96
35.16
Anse la Gourde,
Guadeloupe
U27, F342
AS 72
unk
unk
14.26
39.79
3.24
10.74
8.24
-14.32
-7.31
7.01
-16.81
6.53
31.28
Anse la Gourde,
Guadeloupe
U25, F212
AS 73
r. femur
unk
unk
14.45
40.92
3.28
10.40
7.90
-13.74
-10.97
2.77
-20.47
11.94
26.52
Anse la Gourde,
Guadeloupe
U25, F332
AS 74
r. femur
unk
unk
13.49
38.12
3.28
10.25
7.75
-14.85
-7.61
7.24
-17.11
6.62
24.24
Anse la Gourde,
Guadeloupe
U25, F335
AS 75
r. femur
unk
unk
13.59
38.29
3.27
10.35
7.85
-15.58
-7.62
7.96
-17.12
7.34
22.00


83
provided. The cave is developed in an 8 m high bluff. The entrance is 3 m in height and
1 m wide. The excavation took place in the main chamber that is 8 m by 11 m.
Manigat Cave was excavated by M. Paul Barker (1961) in collaboration with the
Bureau of Ethnology of Northwest Haiti. The sediments were rich in shell and bone and
consisted of red soils alternating with more indurated calcareous strata. The site was
excavated in 25 cm levels within a horizontal grid system. All excavated material was
sifted through 5 mm mesh sieves.
The upper part of the excavation yielded historic remains and artifacts, such as a
coin dated A.D. 1820, brass and shell buttons, and a pig tooth. Below the historic level
lie abundant human bones (ca. 50,000 disarticulated, disassociated bones). Based on
mandibles, these human bones represent at least 168 individuals, none of whom is in a
primary burial context. Had all of the bones been excavated and removed for analysis,
the total number of individuals would have been ca. 300. Nearly all of the bones
represent adults.
To ensure that each of the bones submitted for isotope analysis was from a
separate individual, only a portion of the complete right humeri was selected for analysis.
Barker (1961) regarded the bones as prehistoric because in the lower portion of the
excavation (2 m below surface), the human bones were associated with Arawak
pottery. Of the 125 pieces of pottery recovered from the excavation, only one is
decorated. The decorated sherd has motifs that Barker considered Meillacan. I
submitted for radiocarbon dating three of the human bones that had adequate and
acceptable bone collagen. These dates (Table 1) suggest that the individuals lived during
the Ostionan Ostionoid period.


Table 11. Continued
Species
Common Name
Class
Habitat
Feeding
Guild
Locality
MF#
5lsNCoi
513Ccol
Spindalis zena
Stripe-headed Tanager
A
T
F
NP
53
2.56
-24.70
Tiaris bicolor
Black-faced Grassquit
A
T
G
GB
67
-0.65
-23.36
Tiaris canora
Cuban Grassquit
A
T
G
NP
48
7.87
-14.79
Class: A=Aves, C=Crustacea, E=Echinodermata, F=Fish (Chondrichthyes, Osteichthyes), MA=Mammalia, MO=Mollusca, R=Reptilia
Habitat: A=Aquatic (freshwater), I=Intertidal rocky, N=Nearshore, P=Pelagic, R=Reef (including sandy areas near reefs), T=Terrestrial,
Feeding Guild: F=Fruigivore, G=Granivore, H=Herbivore, C=Carnivore, I=Insectivore,
D=Detritivore
Locality: A=Abaco, GB=Grand Bahama, GT=Grand Turk, H=Haiti, MC=Middle Caicos, NP=New Providence, PR=Puerto Rico, SS=San Salvador


230
that it is possible to calculate the diet of these populations with such precision, especially
from the collagen. First, there is variability in the food sources analyzed and second, the
overlap of maize values and marine values makes it impossible to distinguish between
them with collagen.
For the Maisabel population, van Klinken (1991:96) concluded that his results
point to an unambiguously terrestrial C3 diet. It is surprising that no use was made of
marine food resources. This contrasts with the conclusion I have presented, where the
collagen and apatite data used together point toward a Maisabel diet incorporating protein
from marine and terrestrial sources, though mainly terrestrial, and plants using both C3
and C4 pathways. The 8I5N values presented in this study also support the case for C4
plant consumption.
Van Klinken (1991) concludes that the Saba population had a diet intermediate
between terrestrial and marine foods. Although van Klinken used collagen as a predictor
of the whole diet rather than just the source of protein in the diet, the collagen values I
have generated suggest that the protein portion of the diet reflects consumption of
terrestrial and marine animals. In general though, for the reasons presented above, I
believe that van Klinkens conclusions are compromised by improper extraction
techniques and erroneous interpretation of the data.
An isotope analysis of the prehistoric population buried at the Tutu site St.
Thomas (Norr, in press) is the only West Indian study besides mine in which both
collagen and apatite were analyzed. The Tutu population had a diet intermediate between
marine protein sources and terrestrial protein sources and C3 energy. There was no
detectable difference in the pre- A.D. 1000 population and the post- A.D. 1000


16
tropical marine wet and dry season include southern Jamaica, the northern Bahamas, the
Leeward islands, Cuba, much of Haiti, Barbados, western Trinidad and Tobago, and the
northern and upland sections of Puerto Rico. Rainfall varies from 100 to 200 cm (40-80
inches) per year, with the majority falling in the summer and the possibility of droughts
from March to May. The tropical marine wet zone includes areas with high relief that
create orographic rain such as upland Jamaica, eastern Trinidad and Tobago, and the
Windward Islands (Sealey 1992:81-82).
Drought is the primary climatic effect in the West Indies of periodic El
Nifto/Southem Oscillation (ENSO) events. Particularly severe droughts occurred during
the major ENSO events of A.D. 1685-88, 1789-93, and 1877-79 (Grove 1998).
Especially on islands that already were marginal for agriculture because of poor soils or
general aridity, the effects of prolonged droughts might well have been devastating for
prehistoric agriculturalists.
Hurricanes have a potent although usually short-term effect on human, plant, and
animal populations in the West Indies (Davis et al. 1989; Wiley and Wunderle 1993:319).
Hurricanes form over warm waters and rotate in a counter-clockwise direction producing
winds up to 200 mph and vast amounts of rain. Major storms affecting the West Indies
usually form off the coast of Africa, follow a westerly path toward the Lesser Antilles,
then either continue west toward the Yucatan Peninsula or turn northwest to north toward
the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, and eastern North America. Occasionally, hurricanes
will form south of Cuba, crossing western Cuba and landing in Florida.
The direct connection in oceanic circulation between the Caribbean Sea and the
Pacific Ocean began to be affected by closing of the Panama water gap (i.e. uplift of the


132
validity of the routed model versus the linear mixing model (Chisholm et al. 1982;
Krueger and Sullivan 1984; Lee-Thorpe et al. 1989; Schwarcz 1991).
For their study, Ambrose and Norr (1993) fed laboratory rats diets with known
isotopic compositions of protein and carbohydrates from either C3 or C4 sources. The C4
protein used in the study was milk protein imported from Kenya from cows feeding on C4
grasses so that a C4, non-marine protein could be isolated. No marine protein was used in
the study but a hypothetical marine diet was proposed. The diets ranged from about 6%
protein and 94% energy to 76% protein and 24% energy, with the protein and energy
derived from one of three sources (C3 protein/ C3 energy, C3 protein/ C4energy, C4protein/
C3energy).
11
The results of the study clarified several issues in isotope analysis. First, the 5 C
value of the rat bone collagen largely reflected that of the diet protein and was a poor
indicator of the whole diet. The source of the carbon atoms as determined by the amount
of protein and the source of the protein in the diet also had an effect (Table 6). This
research showed that
the mean diet-to-tissue function for carbonate is not significantly affected
by the proportions of protein versus energy in the diet or by the difference
in their isotopic compositions. The diet-to-collagen difference, however,
is largely a function of the 813C value of dietary protein, but is modulated
by the proportion of protein in the total diet and the difference in 8 C
value between protein and energy. (Ambrose and Norr 1993:29)


220
13
The 5 C value of human bone collagen from Rendezvous Bay does point toward
a diet based primarily on marine protein. The 5I5N values suggest that reef fishes, marine
birds and possibly sea turtles were important in the diet. The apatite to collagen spacing
also suggests that the diet was based mainly on marine protein and C3 plants, with a
smaller contribution of terrestrial animals. Because I have only one sample from
Rendezvous Bay, these conclusions are tentative but they do support the
zooarchaeological data.
At the Hope Estate site on St. Martin, the majority of the protein in the diet was
derived from terrestrial resources (Wing 1995, 1996b). This is to be expected since the
site is located inland ca. 2 km. Approximately 70% MNI of the vertebrate fauna in the
post-Saladoid level (Unit 10, Zone 3) is rice rat; excluding the mollusks, land crabs
constitute ca. 34% MNI of the fauna, but become less important through time. Rice rats
increase in abundance through time but decrease in their age at the time of death.
Isotope analysis of the two individuals from Hope Estate indicates that protein
was derived from a mixture of marine and terrestrial protein sources, but the diet was the
most terrestrially oriented of all the small islands. The 5l5N values are within the range
of terrestrial animals and reef fishes. The apatite to collagen spacing points to a diet of
mainly terrestrial animals and C3 plants with some contribution of marine animal protein.
This is similar to the diet as reconstructed from the zooarchaeological data.
In the Spring Bay 1 faunal assemblage from Saba, the main portion of the diet
was derived from marine vertebrates, particularly reef fishes (Wing in Hoogland 1996).
Among vertebrates, terrestrial taxa such as rice rats, iguanas, and birds constitute ca. 23%
of the sample. When considering the minimum number of individuals (MNI),


188
region closest to a large spacing to indicate a diet of primarily C3 protein and C4 energy
with some contribution of either marine/C4 protein or C3 plant energy. If this is the case,
then three of the four individuals had a diet of mainly C3 protein and C4 energy with the
addition of either C3 energy, marine protein, or both. The final individual closest to the
medium spacing had a diet either of C3 protein and energy, marine/C4 protein and energy,
or a combination of all four. That C4 plants were included in the diet seems certain from
both the 513C and §I5N values at Paso del Indio.
Maisabel
Bone of eighteen individuals, spanning the late Saladoid and Ostionoid periods,
were analyzed for their isotopic signatures. Two individuals (AS 41 and 42) have 813C
collagen values that indicate a diet with more marine/C4 protein than other Maisabel
individuals (Figure 31). All of the samples from Maisabel indicate a more marine diet
than at Paso del Indio. This is to be expected since Maisabel is a coastal site. The human
815N values fall within the ranges for terrestrial mammals, iguanas, land crabs, and reef
fishes. The 815N values are lower than for the Hispaniolan sites, perhaps suggesting
consumption of maize.


75
agricultural intensification. The major crop of the Taino was manioc, both the sweet and
bitter varieties (Oviedo 1959:16; Sauer 1966). The bitter variety was grated into a pulp,
placed in a long thin basket in which the poison juice was extracted, and then baked into
unleavened bread called cassava. Cassava could be stored for months and was taken on
fishing and trading ventures (Oviedo 1959: 17; Sauer 1966:52). The sweet variety was
boiled like potatoes or baked (Sauer 1966:52).
Other crops recorded by the early Europeans include arrowroot, peanuts, beans,
squashes, capsicum peppers and maize. Maize must have been introduced to the West
Indies either from South America or Central America since it is not native to the West
Indies. Maize has been found in archaeological deposits in Central America dating to
5000 B.C. (Pearsall 1990; Pipemo 1989) and in northwestern South American by 3300
B.C. (Pipemo 1990). Newsom identified macroremains of maize from En Bas Saline
(Haiti) in a deposit dated to A.D. 1250 and hypothesizes that maize may have been
restricted to the elite classes since the carbonized kernels and cupule fragments were
recovered only from the chiefs house (Newsom 1993). Many fruits, medicinal plants
and plants used in the manufacture of goods such as cotton (Gossypium sp.) and sisal
(Agave sp.) were grown in house gardens. Mamey (Mammea americana) trees were
recorded at contact in the Greater Antilles, and pineapples were reportedly grown by the
Carib Indians (Sauer 1966:57). Other house garden plants include papaya (Carica
papaya), caimito fruit (Chrysophyllum caimito), royal palm (Roystonea hispaniolana),
cycad (Zamia debilis), and tobacco (Nicotiana sp.) (Keegan 1997:66; Newsom 1993;
Vega 1995; Veloz Maggiolo and Ortega 1995).


290
Vega, Bernardo
1995 Frutas en la Dieta Precolumbina en la Isla Espaola. In Ponencias del Primer
Seminario de Arqueologa del Caribe, edited by M. Veloz Maggiolo and A. Caba
Fuentes, pp. 48-85. Museo Arqueolgico Regional Altos de Chavn, Dominican
Republic.
Veloz Maggiolo, M.
1972 Arqueologa Prehistrica de Santo Domingo. McGraw-Hill Far Eastern
Publishers Ltd., New York.
1974 Economa, Arte y Superestructura Entre los Aborigens Antillanos. Cuadernos
Prehispanicos 6:49-55.
1980 Las Sociedades Arcaicas de Santo Domingo. Museu del Hombre Dominicano,
Serie Investigaciones Antropolgicas, No. 16; Fundacin Garca Arvalo, Serie
Investigaciones, No. 12. Santo Domingo
1991 Panorama Histrico del Caribe Precolumbiano. Banco Central del la
Repblica Dominicana, Santo Domingo.
1992 Notas Sobre La Zamia en la Prehistoria del Caribe. Revista de Arqueologa
Americana 6:125-138.
1997 The Daily Life of the Taino People. In Taino: Pre-Columbian Art and Culture
from the Caribbean, edited by F. Bercht, E. Brodsky, J. A. Farmer and D. Taylor,
pp. 34-45. The Monacelli Press, New York.
Veloz Maggiolo, M. and E. Ortega
1973 El Preceramico de Santo Domingo. Nuevos lugares y su posible relacin con
otros puntos del Area Antillia. Museo del Hombre Dominicano 1.
1976 The Preceramic of the Dominican Republic: Some New Finds and their
Possible Relationship. Paper presented at the First Puerto Rican Symposium on
Archaeology, San Juan.
1996 Punta Cana y el Origen de la Agricultura en la Isla de Santo Domingo. In
Ponencias del Primer Seminario de Arqueologa del Caribe, edited by M. Veloz
Maggiolo and A. Caba Fuentes, pp. 5-11. Museo Arqueolgico Regional Altos de
Chavn, Dominican Republic.
Veloz Maggiolo, M., E. Ortega and A. Caba Fuentes
1981 Los Modos de Vida Meillacoides y sus Posibles Orgenes (Un Estudio
Interpretativo). Museo del Hombre Dominicano, Santo Domingo.


114
exploited during the Saladoid period but were almost absent during later periods. Rocky
intertidal species of mollusks were more heavily exploited during the post-Saladoid and
Taino periods although the species being exploited, nerites and chitons, provide little
meat and would never have been a major portion of the diet. During the Chican
Ostionoid (Taino) period, the zooarchaeological assemblage (MNI) consists of 13.5%
terrestrial vertebrates, 2.5% land crab, 35.5% marine fishes and 47.5% marine
invertebrates. During the Taino period, rice rats are the most common terrestrial
vertebrates exploited.
From the zooarchaeological analysis, we would expect the isotope data from the
human remains to indicate a heavy reliance on marine foods during all periods,
particularly reef fishes. The one Spring Bay 1 skeleton should show a less negative
carbon signature given that land crab exploitation will skew the data toward the terrestrial
end of the scale. We may see some evidence of C4 plant use in the diet during the Taino
period although there is no hard evidence, just the logic that if Kelbeys Ridge 2 was a
Taino outpost and the Taino were practicing maize agriculture, some maize may have
been traded into the island.
Petite Rivire, La Dsirade
La Dsirade, located ca. 10 km off the east coast of Grande-Terre, is a low
limestone island measuring 10 km by 2 km. Currently it is very dry, has poor soil
development and very little vegetation (de Waal 1996). The Petite Riviere site is located


Table 11. Continued
Species
Common Name
Class
Habitat
Feeding
Guild
Locality
MF#
8I5NCOi
5,3Ccol
Epinephalus striatus
Nassau Grouper
F
R
C
GT
44
7.45
-15.33
Myceteroperca tigris
Tiger Grouper
F
R
C
GT
41
1.97
-11.63
Caranx crysos
Blue Runner
F
R
C
GT
16
1.98
-16.84
Decapterus sp.
scad
F
R
C
GT
14
3.56
-16.96
Decapterus sp.
scad
F
R
C
GT
15
3.46
-16.96
Coryphaena hippurus
Dolphin
F
R
C
GT
45
6.46
-14.93
Eucinostomus sp.
mojarra
F
R
H
GT
83
1.14
-12.27
Haemulon album
Margate (white)
F
R
C
GT
26
5.01
-8.05
Haemulon carbonarium
Caesar Grunt
F
R
C
GT
64
5.12
-7.63
Haemulon flavolineatum
French Grunt
F
R
C
GT
12
5.35
-13.09
Haemulon sp.
grunt
F
R
C
GT
62
5.47
-9.17
Calamus proridens
Littlehead Porgy
F
R
C
GT
20
5.37
-10.84
Calamus sp.
porgy
F
R
C
GT
42
0.97
-11.68
Pomacanthus arcuatus
Gray Angelfish
F
R
H
GT
25
5.30
-15.83
Halichoeres radiatus
Puddingwife
F
R
C
GT
21
5.43
-12.75
Lachnolaimus maximus
Hogfish
F
R
C
GT
22
4.98
-12.93
Lachnolaimus maximus
Hogfish
F
R
C
GT
63
4.96
-12.12
Sparisoma viride
Stoplight Parrotfish
F
R
H
GT
84
4.97
-11.58
Acanthurus sp.
surgeonfish
F
R
H
GT
46
6.88
-17.69
Sphyraena barracuda
Great Barracuda
F
R
C
GT
23
4.21
-10.96
Scombridae
mackerel
F
R
C
GT
43
5.80
-13.59
Bothus lunatus
Peacock Flounder
F
R
C
GT
27
3.63
-14.72
Lactophrys sp.
trunkfish
F
R
C
GT
65
5.34
-11.30


133
Table 6. Summary of results of the study in which rats were fed diets with controlled
amounts of protein and energy from either a C3 or C4 pathway (from Ambrose and Norr
1993).
Diet
Protein
Energy
Diet-Collagen
spacing
Apatite-Collagen
spacing
A
23.5% C3
77.00% C3
4
5.7
B
6.5% C4
94.00% C3
10
1.2
C
6.2% C3
94.00% C4
-2
10.8
D
76.8% C4
23.00% C3
7
2.1
E
76.0% C3
24.00% C4
2
7.2
F
24.5% C3
75.00%C4
-2
10.8
G
23.9% C3
76.00%C4
-2
11.3
The diet to collagen spacing (=diet to collagen fractionation factor) was altered
depending upon whether the source of the carbon atoms was from a C3 protein or a C4
protein. As seen in a summary of their data (Table 6 herein), the source of the protein,
whether C3 or C4, affects the diet to collagen 813C diet-collagen values. The +5 %o
standard diet-collagen spacing used in most studies (Vogel and van der Merwe 1977) is
unreliable. If the energy and protein are from the same source (both C3 or both C4), a
monoisotopic diet, then the diet to collagen fractionation factor is approximately +4 %o;
for diets where the protein is from a C4 source, such as maize or marine animals that have
a C4-like signature, then the diet to collagen spacing is on the order of +7 to +10 %o. The
greater the amount of protein in the diet, the smaller the diet to the collagen spacing. For
diets where the protein is from a C3 source, such as (in the Neotropics) agouti or iguana,
the diet to collagen fractionation factor is in the range of +2 to -2 %o. Again, the spacing
becomes more negative as more protein is added to the diet.
The second issue clarified by Ambrose and Norr (1993) is the relationship
between the 813C values for bone collagen and those of bone apatite carbonate. The


86
5.5 m below surface. Flooding from the Rio Indio sealed the separate occupation levels
and was probably responsible for the site being abandoned several times during
prehistory.
Maisabel
Figure 3. Puerto Rico showing archaeological sites mentioned in the text.
Maisabel Site
The Maisabel site covers 20 hectares bordered on the east by a mangrove swamp
and on the southwest by a pond (Siegel 1989). Maisabel is a multi-component site
originally settled during the Saladoid period (100 B.C. to A.D. 600) with what seems to
be continuous settlement into the Ostionoid period (A.D. 600 to 1500). The site is
formed from a series of mounded middens, dating to the Saladoid period, in a horseshoe
pattern around a central plaza. Between the two largest mounds are post molds, pits and
hearths of an Ostionoid period house. Siegel (1989, 1992) estimates that 60 people lived
in the 576 m2 house. Twelve burials were found when the house floor was excavated.
Twenty-three additional burials were found in a cemetery located in the center of the


89
Susan deFrance conducted the zooarchaeological analysis from the Maisabel site
(deFrance 1988, 1989). She found that during the Saladoid occupation, the faunal
remains point to a well-established maritime economy in combination with terrestrial
resources. The most important terrestrial resource was blue land crab (Cardisoma
guanhumi). Terrestrial resources became less important during the Ostionoid period. In
fact, no land crab remains were found in the Late Saladoid or Ostionoid occupations.
I would expect the Maisabel populations to have a mixed diet of marine and
terrestrial resources. The site is located on the coast, but because it is a relatively early
site on a large island, terrestrial animals such as birds, rodents and land crabs should have
been exploited. The Maisabel site should have a more marine orientation than the Paso
del Indio site discussed below.
Paso del Indio
Paso del Indio is a large prehistoric site located ca. 5 km inland from the north
coast of Puerto Rico along the north bank of Rio Indio (Garcia Goyco et al. 1995). The
site was located during bridge construction for a major highway by the Puerto Rico
Highway and Transportation Authority. All work on the bridge stopped or proceeded in
phases while private archaeological consultants conducted excavation of the site. The
site spans the majority of the known cultural prehistory of Puerto Rico, with only the
Lithic period not represented. The earliest occupation of the site has been radiocarbon
dated to 2580 +/- 60 B.C. This date, along with a plano-convex stone adze, indicates an
Archaic period presence at the site. The Archaic artifacts and several fire hearths were
found at a depth of 5.5 m below the surface. No burials were found that date to the
Archaic period.


52
Tithic Period (Casimiran Casimiroid 4000 B.C. to 2000 B.C.)
The earliest inhabitants of the West Indies were foragers, referred to as the
Casimiroid culture, who settled Cuba and Hispaniola around 4000 B.C. (Rouse 1960,
1986, 1992). Casimiroid origins are still debated as either Central America or South
America. Rouse supports the Central American origin due to proximity of Central
America to the Greater Antilles and the presumed similarity of the material culture (see
Rouse 1992:56). A computer simulation model (Callaghan 1990a, 1990b), considering
trade winds and currents, shows that traveling would be easier to Cuba from South
America than from Central America. By contrast, Irwin (1992), has pointed out that for
purposeful colonization, humans are more likely to set out on a route against the
prevailing winds and currents. This helps to ensure a relatively safe return voyage to
their home area, versus allowing the winds and currents to dictate their travel into an area
that is unknown. Irwins concepts were developed to explain the peopling of Polynesia,
an oceanic region much more vast than the West Indies. The precise differences in
sailing technology and ability between early colonists of the West Indies versus Oceania
are speculative. Based upon the very late discoveries of many West Indian islands (i.e.
Bahamas; Keegan 1985) and the absence of prehistoric cultural evidence on selected
islands (i.e. Grand Cayman; Stokes and Keegan 1996), one might guess that the long
distance sailing skills of prehistoric West Indian peoples did not match those of
Austronesian speaking peoples in Oceania (see Kirch 1996).
Two additional theories to explain colonization of the West Indies have been
proposed. The first is that the preceramic cultures result from contact between Cuba and
the Mississippi Valley (Febles 1991). The second theory, related to the first, is that the


186
0 Paso del Indio
5I3C
Figure 28. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human bone
apatite, Paso del Indio, Puerto Rico.
Means for collagen and apatite values show considerable overlap in the source of
protein and whole diet (Figure 29).
Figure 29. Mean 813C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and apatite,
Paso del Indio, Puerto Rico.
In order to depict any difference in the two values,
I altered the 813C scale from
the usual range of-24 to -8, to a range of-20 to -18. Still, the collagen and apatite


14
The outlying island of Barbados emerged during the Quaternary (last 2 million years)
through forearc uplift (Maury et al. 1990).
The Bahamas are formed completely of shallow water marine carbonates.
Beginning as much as 200 million years ago, sediment was laid down on the thin crust of
the North American plate as it moved away from the African plate. The sediments
subsided in the shallow water forming a large bank until about 80 mya when the area was
flooded due to tectonic changes that created the Gulf of Mexico. The flooding separated
the Bahamas from Cuba and Florida, and created a series of banks surrounded by troughs
and basins. The rate of carbonate sedimentation became greater than that of subsidence
allowing formation of the Bahama islands within the last 2 million years (Sealey 1994:9-
17). Most of the land area of the Bahamas was submerged during the Sangamon high sea
level stand (ca. +10m) about 130,000 years ago (Sealey 1994). The geology and
geography of individual islands are reviewed in Chapter 4 with the site descriptions.
Modem and Paleoclimate
The West Indies lie within the tropical marine climate zone where temperature
varies little throughout the year. The average temperature in the southern islands ranges
only from 25 C in the winter months to 29 C in the summer. In the northern Bahamas,
the range increases from 17 C in the winter to 28 C in the summer (Sealey 1992).
The amount of precipitation on each island depends on several factors including
the position of the island in relation to wind patterns, vegetation cover, and the size and
elevation of the island. The intertropical convergence zone (doldrums) is an area where


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation
for the degree Doctor of Philosophy.
William F. Keegan,
Associate Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation
for the degree Doctor of Philosophy.
Lawrence D. Harris
Professor of Wildlife Ecology and
Conservation
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation
for the degree Doctor of Philosophy.
Michael E. Moseley
Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in score and quality, as a dissertation
for the degree Doctor of Philosophy.
Lynette IjjJorr
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation
for the degree Doctor of Philosophy.
Professor of Anthropology


Table 8. Continued
SITE
PROVE
NIENCE
LAB#
BONE
AGE
SEX
%N/wt
%C/wt
C:N
515Nco.
Diet
S,5Ncoi
513Ccol
c 13/~
O ^apa
A813
c
a pa-
col
Diet
c 13/-i
'-'apa
Yield
Col.
Yield
Apa.
Imperial
Lighthouse Cave,
Abaco
4683
AS 96
fibula,
tibia, ulna
child
female
14.34
40.10
3.24
8.59
6.09
-14.97
-15.10
-0.13
-24.60
24.11
37.90
Unnamed Cave,
Long Island
4687
AS 97
innominate
frag.
adult
female
15.16
44.41
3.40
10.41
7.91
-14.62
-11.39
3.23
-20.89
18.12
40.03
North Bannerman
Cave, Eleuthera
4684
AS 98
1. radius
adult
male
13.41
38.37
3.32
9.74
7.24
-12.26
-7.72
4.54
-17.22
12.53
51.57
Unnamed Cave,
Eleuthera
4685
AS 99
radius,
fibula
adult
male
14.09
41.79
3.44
9.64
7.14
-12.33
-8.82
3.51
-18.32
12.26
58.86
Maunday's Bay,
Anguilla (AL-13)
B#1PN2(84)
AS 89
1. tibia
unk
unk
14.85
41.73
3.26
10.37
7.87
-13.57
-12.48
1.09
-21.98
15.96
27.66
Maunday's Bay,
Anguilla (AL-13)
B#2 PN2 (85)
AS 90
long bone
unk
unk
14.72
41.44
3.27
10.37
7.87
-13.59
-11.12
2.47
-20.62
16.73
28.09
Sandy Hill,
Anguilla
PN2(5210)
AS 100
1. tibia
unk
unk
14.68
41.72
3.30
10.84
8.34
-13.91
-8.64
5.27
-18.14
11.60
61.45
Sandy Hill,
Anguilla
PN2(5211)
AS 101
1. tibia
unk
unk
13.83
39.04
3.27
9.71
7.21
-13.72
-9.28
4.44
-18.78
16.50
52.45
Sandy Hill,
Anguilla
PN2(5212)
AS 102
femur
unk
unk
14.00
39.24
3.25
8.90
6.40
-16.05
-9.70
6.35
-19.20
15.86
42.89
Rendezvous Bay,
Anguilla (AL-2)
PN 47(114)
AS 103
ribs
unk
unk
15.47
44.31
3.32
10.56
8.06
-15.55
-12.74
2.81
-22.24
18.55
31.57
Hope Estate
U16, X9, F2
AS 64
r. femur
unk
unk
12.45
39.44
3.67
10.53
8.03
-15.75
-10.89
4.86
-20.39
6.44
64.17
Hope Estate
U16, X10, FI
AS 65
1. ulna
unk
unk
13.86
39.03
3.27
10.36
7.86
-15.74
-10.72
5.02
-20.22
5.87
56.00
Spring Bay 1, Saba
U20, F001
AS 56
1. femur
child
unk
13.55
38.43
3.29
10.87
8.37
-15.81
-10.21
5.60
-19.71
8.06
52.45
Kelbey's Ridge,
Saba
U56, F68
AS 57
r. humerus
adult
male
14.66
41.63
3.29
11.24
8.74
-14.91
-11.45
3.46
-20.95
9.48
62.06
Kelbey's Ridge,
Saba
U56, F148
AS 58
r. femur
adult
female
14.38
42.32
3.41
10.21
7.71
-16.72
-10.55
6.17
-20.05
10.02
59.59


17
Isthmus of Panama) by 4.6 million years ago (Haug and Tiedemann 1998). By 3.5
million years ago, the isolation of the Caribbean from the Pacific was complete, with a
resulting major warming of oceanographic conditions in the Caribbean (Dugne-Caro
1990; Keigwin 1982).
Changes in sea level and climate during the last 20,000 years have had a marked
effect on the flora and fauna of the West Indian archipelago and thus, on the cultural
history as well. At the glacial maximum, 18,000 years before present (BP), sea level was
ca. 120 m lower than at present (Fairbanks 1989). The 200-meter isobath is most often
chosen to illustrate the change in the surface area of the islands at lower sea level.
However, there is no evidence that sea level during the Pleistocene was ever more than
120 m below current levels. The 120-meter isobath would illustrate island margins at the
glacial maximum much more accurately and thus would be the best depiction of
maximum land area and minimum inter-island distances during the late Quaternary. The
resulting larger land masses and shorter inter-island distances would facilitate disperal
and colonization by plants and animals. For instance, with sea level 120 m lower than
today, the islands of Anguilla, St. Martin, and St. Barts would form one very large island,
as would Barbuda and Antigua. Cuba would have been connected to the Isle of Pines and
all of its offshore cays. The Bahamas would be composed of eight large islands, with
particularly large ones on the Great Bahama and Little Bahama banks, rather than
hundreds of small islands. Four additional large islands would have emerged on the
shallow banks (Morgan 1989). On the other hand, most of the Windward Islands would
have remained isolated throughout the Pleistocene. Oceanographic conditions changed
markedly as well during the glacial to interglacial (Pleistocene to Holocene) transition,


221
invertebrates such as nerites and chitons are more common (ca. 56%) than vertebrates but
would not have provided much biomass because of their smaller size. Land crabs are not
abundant at Spring Bay 1. At Kelbeys Ridge 2, only ca. 10% of the vertebrate fauna is
from terrestrial animals, with the remainder from marine fishes and some sea turtles
(>0.7%). Invertebrates make up only ca. 20% of the Kelbeys Ridge 2 sample, with
nerites and chitons the most common species. Once again, land crabs are poorly
represented.
From the zooarchaeological samples, we would expect the isotope data to show
the diets of people from Saba to have depended heavily upon marine resources. The 513C
collagen values indicate that the protein portion was derived from a mixture of terrestrial
n
and marine animals. Except for the inland site of Hope Estate, the 8 C collagen values
are more indicative of a terrestrial diet than for any other site besides those in the Greater
Antilles. The 815N values are higher than at all sites except those on Hispaniola.
Terrestrial vertebrates, marine birds and some reef fishes are probably responsible for the
high values. The apatite to collagen spacing values for the Saban samples show three
individuals (two from Kelbeys Ridge 2 and one from Spring Bay 1) with diets based on
terrestrial animals and C3 plants, one Kelbeys Ridge individual with a diet based on
marine protein and C3 plants, and two additional Kelbeys Ridge individuals with
contributions from both marine and terrestrial protein and C3 plants. The stable isotope
data suggest that the protein portion of the Saban diet was derived largely from terrestrial
animals, not marine animals as proposed by the zooarchaeological data.
Zooarchaeology from the Petite Riviere site on La Dsirade points to a diet based
primarily on marine resources, particularly reef and estuary fishes. Only 5.7% of the


116
A surface survey of the site detected three concentrations of material. Thirteen
shovel tests (50cm x 50cm) were excavated across the site to test these concentrations
followed by controlled excavations that produced an abundance of ceramics, shell, lithics,
a three-pointer of coral, and faunal material.
Two Cittarium pica shells were submitted for radiocarbon dating (de Waal 1996).
One from the 1984 excavation, Unit C2, level 25-35 cmbs gave a date of cal A.D. 554-
662; a second date from Unit A2, 0-10 cm was cal A.D. 1302-1412. From the 1995
excavation, a Cittarium pica shell from shovel test 13 (0-30 cm) yielded a date of cal
A.D. 998-1160. This date must be viewed with caution because the unit was disturbed,
evidenced by post-Saladoid pottery under Late Saladoid pottery (de Waal 1996:62). The
pottery at the site points to occupation during the Late Saladoid and post-Saladoid
periods.
Three human skeletons are known from Petite Riviere (Table 5). During the 1984
excavation by Bodu, two prehistoric skeletons (1, 1A) were excavated from an area
adjacent to the midden on the eastern part of the site. De Waal found a third skeleton
(IB) excavated from Petite Riviere in the repository of the Edgar Clerc Museum in 1994.
Table 5. Burial information on the skeletal material excavated from the Petite Riviere
site, La Dsirade that was submitted for stable isotope analysis.
Burial
Lab
#AS
Sex
Age
Burial Position
Features
Cultural Period
Burial 1
34
M
40-50
flexed
ceramic bowl placed
near the skull
Late Saladoid/Post-Saladoid
Burial 1A
35
M
26-46
extended
unknown
Late Saladoid/Post-Saladoid
Burial IB
36
F
50+
unknown
unknown
Late Saladoid/Post-Saladoid


242
Table 18. Statistical difference (two-tailed t-test) between the source of carbon and
nitrogen in the diet of people living at inland vs. coastal sites.
Variable
Carbon
Nitrogen
N
Mean
SD
N
Mean
SD
Coastal
89
-15.98
1.90
89
7.60
1.15
Inland
13
-18.86
1.42
13
6.97
0.78
t=5.27
df=100
p<.001
t=1.91
df==l 00
p=0.06
Once again, the whole diet apatite values show that there is not a distinct division
between the carbohydrate portion of the diet of inland vs. coastal peoples (Figure 68).
Figure 68. S13C values of human bone apatite vs. 815N values of human bone collagen
illustrating the source of the whole diet of peoples living at coastal sites vs. inland sites.
Cultural Variables That May Affect Diet
West Indian archaeologists have proposed several models for prehistoric
subsistence, the most common of which is that the Saladoid groups exploited mainly
terrestrial resources, particularly land crabs, whereas Ostionoid groups exploited mainly
marine foods, particularly mollusks. Not taken into consideration in these models are


265
DeNiro, M. J.
1985 Postmortem Preservation and Alteration of in vivo Bone Collagen Isotope
Ratios in Relation to Palaeodietary Reconstruction. Nature 317:806-809.
1987 Stable Isotopy and Archaeology. American Scientist 75:182-191.
DeNiro, M. J. and S. Epstein
1978a Influence of Diet on the Distribution of Carbon Isotopes in Animals.
Geochemica et Cosmochimica Acta 42:495-506.
1978b Carbon Isotopic Evidence for Different Feeding Patterns in Two Hyrax
Species Occupying the Same Habitat. Science 201:906-908.
1981 Influence of Diet on the Distribution of Nitrogen Isotopes in Animals.
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 45:341-351.
DeNiro, M. J. and C. A. Hastorf
1985 Alterations of I5N/14N and l3C/12C ratios of Plant Matter during the Initial
Stages of Diagenesis: Studies Utilizing Archaeological Specimens from Peru.
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 49:97-115.
DeNiro, M. J. and M. J. Schoeniger
1983 Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Ratios of Bone Collagen: Variations
within individuals, between sexes, and within populations raised on monotonous
diets. Journal of Archaeological Science 10:199-203.
DeNiro, M. J. and S. Weiner
1988 Chemical, Enzymatic and Spectroscopic Characterization of Collagen and
Other Organic Fractions in Prehistoric Bone. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
52:2197-2206.
de Waal, M.
1996 The Petite Riviere Excavations, La Dsirade, French West Indies. Masters
Thesis, Leiden University.
Diamond, J. M. and E. Mayr
1976 Species-area Relation for Birds of the Solomon Archipelago. Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences 73:262-266.
Douglas, N. K.
1991 Recent Amerindian Finds on Anguilla. In Proceedings of the Thirteenth
International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology, edited by E.N Ayubi and J.B.
Haviser, pp. 576-589. Reports of the Archaeological-Anthropological Institute of
the Netherlands Antilles, No. 9. Curacao, N. A.


126
consumed by human populations do not fix nitrogen and have the 8I5N values in the
range of 0 to +6 %o (Delwiche et al. 1979; DeNiro and Hastorf 1985). Legumes are the
primary N2-fixing plants in human diets. Plants that fix nitrogen have a 815N value of-2
to +2 %o with an average of+1 %o. The trophic level effect is a stepwise increase in the
815N values from herbivores to primary carnivores to secondary carnivores (Minagawa
and Wada 1984; Schoeninger 1985; Schoeninger and DeNiro 1984).
In marine ecosystems, nitrogen is present as atmospheric nitrogen dissolved in
seawater and as N2 fixed by bacteria and blue-green algae. Marine animals typically
have more positive 815N values than terrestrial animals except in the coral reef
environment. Nitrogen enters the marine ecosystem by three pathways. The first is
dissolved nitrogen in phytoplankton, which gives a stepwise enrichment in 15N through
the food chain (Minagawa and Wada 1984; Schoeninger and DeNiro 1984, Wada and
Hattori 1976). When this pathway was first recognized, it seemed that since the isotopic
value of marine items began at a more positive level than terrestrial foods and because of
the stepwise enrichment, it might be possible to use nitrogen to differentiate clearly
between marine and terrestrial food sources.
Two other nitrogen pathways, however, tend to confuse the issue. A second
source of nitrogen is nitrogen fixation in the phyllosphere and rhyzosphere of seagrasses
and shallow water corals (Capone et al. 1977; Capone and Taylor 1980). Nitrogen
fixation causes lower 815N values, closer to those of terrestrial organisms. Blue-green
algae that fix nitrogen and live on coral reefs are fed on by reef fishes that causes lower
nitrogen values in these reef fishes. Unfortunately for archaeologists, reef fish were
common components in the diets of peoples living in tropical coastal environments and


98
Rum Cay
Rum Cay (78 km ) is located in the central Bahamas east of Long Island (Figure
7). In a cave located along the northern shore near Port Boyd, Rainey found many human
bones that were not in primary context. The bones were from two individuals (Keegan
1982:58). For this study, an adult female (#4691) was analyzed. No artifacts or animal
bones were found in the cave (Rainey 1934:12).
Figure 7. Rum Cay showing location of the unnamed cave discussed in the text.
Crooked Island
Crooked Island (238 km2) is southeast of Long Island in the central region of the
tropical moist forest zone (Figure 8). Human skeletal material from two different sites
was subjected to isotopic analysis. The first site, Gordon Hill Cave, is located on the
northwest end of the island among a series of caves along a limestone ledge ca. 450 m
from the shore (Granberry 1978). Chamber 1 yielded bones of an adult male over 20


131
for 8I3C and a 1.4 to 3.4 %o fractionation for the 815N (Burleigh and Brothwell 1978;
DeNiro and Epstein 1978a, 1981; Keegan and DeNiro 1988; van der Merwe 1982; Vogel
1978). The diet to collagen spacing was inconsistent between herbivores and carnivores
and lab animals fed different amounts of protein, carbohydrates and lipids (DeNiro and
Epstein 1978a, 1978b). Regardless, in many isotope studies, the human bone collagen
was analyzed and fractionation factors of -5 %o for 813C and +2.5 %o for the 815N were
applied to the values to interpret the diet.
Sullivan and Krueger (1981) analyzed the collagen and apatite of 14 herbivores
and 2 humans from modem and prehistoric context. They found a linear relationship
between the values for collagen and apatite where apatite was enriched on average -8 %o
over collagen in herbivores but varied for carnivores and omnivores. Reconstruction of
diet from herbivores consuming either C3 or C4 plants is possible because the source of
protein, carbohydrates and lipids is the same (Sullivan and Krueger 1983). If the source
of protein and energy is different, as in an omnivore diet, then the amino acids in the
protein will be used for collagen synthesis and the carbon isotopes in collagen will reflect
mainly the protein (meat) portion of the diet (Krueger and Sullivan 1984). Krueger and
Sullivan (1984) developed a model of how the 813C values should vary depending on the
source of protein and energy in the diet.
To test this model, Ambrose and Norr (1993) devised a study to define the
relationship between an individuals diet and the 813C values in bone collagen and apatite
carbonate. Their goals were to determine: 1. the diet to tissue fractionation factor; and 2.
how different constituents in the diet (C3 protein, C3 energy, C4 protein, and C4 energy)
are incorporated into the bone collagen and apatite. This second goal would test the


31
although it is possible that Amerindians may have managed their distribution as well
(Woods 1989). Rice rat bones are abundant in most Lesser Antillean archaeological
deposits, especially those of the Saladoid period.
Several mammals recorded in Lesser Antillean archaeological sites are thought to
have been introduced into the islands by the colonizing Amerindians for use as food.
These include Didelphis sp. (opossum), Dasyprocta sp. (agouti) and Procyon sp.
(racoons). Dogs (Canis familiaris) are an introduced species and were probably pets, not
dietary items (Wing and Wing 1995). Dogs have been found in cultural deposits in St.
Eustatius, St. Kitts, Monserrat, St. Lucia, Barbados, Middle Caicos and Grenada (Pregill
et al. 1994; Wing and Wing 1995). That dogs were regarded as human companions is
evident from their context in human burials on many islands (Wing 1989). Agoutis have
been recorded in St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Antigua, Monserrat, Martinique, Saba, Nevis and
Grenada (Pregill et al. 1994; Wing and Wing 1995). Agoutis, like rice rats, flourish in
disturbed habitats such as fallow fields and the edge of forests (Wing 1996a). Guinea pig
(Cavia porcellus) is a domesticated rodent, native to South America, that has been found
in prehistoric middens in Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Antigua (Wing et al. 1968; Wing
and Reitz 1982; Wing and Wing 1995).
Iguanas, being among the few large terrestrial animals in the Lesser Antilles,
would have been important to human subsistence. Iguana remains (mostly Iguana spp.
rather than Cyclura spp.) have been found in sites in the Virgin Islands, Saba, St.
Eustatius, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Monserrat, Guadeloupe, Marie Galante, St. Lucia and
Grenada (Pregill et al. 1994; van der Klift 1985; Wing 1989; Wing and Wing 1995).
Land crabs (Gecarcinus, Cardisoma) have also been implicated as one of the main foods


146
Human bone analyzed for this study was obtained from colleagues working at
various archaeological sites in the West Indies. Most of the elements chosen for isotope
analysis were long bones although on occasion ribs or the innominatewere used if no
other bones were available. The collagen extraction technique was developed by DeNiro
and Epstein (1978a) and Ambrose (1990) and the apatite carbonate preparation technique
was developed by Krueger (1991) and Lee-Thorpe (1989, Lee-Thorpe et al. 1989, Lee-
Thorpe and van der Merwe 1991).
Extraction of Bone Collagen
All obvious surface contaminates were removed from the bones by scraping with
a scalpel and washing the bones with a small brush in distilled water. Any soil or rootlets
embedded in the bone were removed with dental tools. Most of the cancellous bone was
scraped away as well as any glue, preservative (only on some bones from Bahamas), or
provenience number written in ink. Once clean, each bone was placed in a beaker of
distilled water and sonicated for five minutes. The water was changed and the process
was repeated until all physical contaminates are removed. The sample was then allowed
to air dry. When completely dry, the bone or bone fragments were ground with a clean
mortar and pestle. The ground bone was sieved into two fractions, one measuring 0.5
mm to 0.25 mm and a second fraction of bone powder less than 0.25 mm. These two
fractions were placed in annealed scintillation vials and labeled with the sample number.
To extract collagen, approximately 1.0 g of the 0.5 to 0.25 mm crushed bone was
sprinkled over glass wool in a Pyrex funnel with a coarse fritted filter. A metal rack was


Marine turtle
Pelagic fish
-30 -28 -26 -24 -22 -20 -18 -16 -14 -12 -10 -8 -6
513C
Figure 14. General ranges of the isotopic values of potential food items in the diet.


226
samples, a temporal change in diet is a speculative conclusion, particularly because of
three Crooked Island skeletons, AS 93 has the least negative (most marine) 8I3C value.
Another sample from Crooked Island (AS 95) has a 513C collagen signature closer to that
of the Long Island sample.
In interpreting 8I5N values, Keegan suggests that high 515N values in some
samples (that do not follow a temporal path) may indicate seasonal maize consumption.
Keegan was not able to generate a 815N value from the modem maize he obtained in the
Bahamas. For his study, he used the values of maize from Belize published by DeNiro
and Hastorf (1985), which had a 815N value of 10%o. The three maize samples that I
collected from the Turks and Caicos gave 815N values ranging from 0.91 to 2.18%o, much
lower than the value used in Keegans interpretation. Without apatite 813C values and
apatite to collagen spacing values, the contribution of C4 plants can not be interpreted due
to the overlap of C4 plant and marine animal values. I found that C4 plants were not
incorporated into the Bahamian diet in any observable quantities.
Keegan did not consider island size or available terrestrial species but only
examined the isotope data from a temporal perspective expecting to find a change in diet
from early to late sites. Keegan and DeNiro (1988:330) state that a very similar set of
food items was available to both Puerto Rican and Bahamian populations (Fewkes 1970;
Keegan 1985, 1987; Rouse and Cruxent 1963). As discussed in Chapter 2, the Greater
Antilles and the Bahamas have different species of terrestrial animals. The marine
animals are similar since they are not constrained by land but even so, we can expect
differing abundance of marine species due to the different geology and the presence or
absence of banks and reefs. The Puerto Rican sample, which dates to the Saladoid


84
Table 1. Corrected and calibrated radiocarbon dates on human bone from Manigat Cave,
La Tortue.
SAMPLE NUMBER
MATERIAL
DATED
MEASURED
l4C AGE
iJC/12C
RATIO
CORRECTED
14C AGE
cal AD
(2 sigma)
Beta-120300 (AS 105)
human bone
1110 50 BP
-16.5 %o
1250 50 BP
AD 670-890
Beta-120301 (AS 107)
human bone
1150 50 BP
-15.3 %o
1310 50 BP
AD 650-855
Beta-120302 (AS 110)
human bone
1110 50 BP
-16.9 %o
1240 50 BP
AD 675-895
In addition to the pottery found with the skeletons, 45 fetishes were found that
are carved from human bone, particularly the supraorbital (Barker 1961). The fetishes
average 2 cm in length. Numerous beads of stone, shell, and bone (up to 5 cm in length)
are also associated with the human bones. Many of the bones are stained from red ochre.
Nodules of red ochre, an iron oxide mineral that occurs in association with the carbonate
bedrock of La Tortue, had been transported into the cave.
Barker interpreted cut-marks and breakage patterns on certain bones as evidence
of cannibalism. He regarded the worked human bone (fetishes, and purposefully knapped
supraorbitals that may be fetish blanks) as additional evidence to support his claim of
prehistoric cannibalism. There is no mention of non-human bones found with the burials.
Lacking zooarchaeological information, it is difficult to assess the diet of the people
buried in Manigat Cave. If the population were living at or near the site, I would expect
the diet to be heavily oriented toward marine protein. This site, however, is very unusual
being a group burial with worked human bone and possible signs of cannibalism. If the
population originated on Hispaniola, I would expect the diet to have a more terrestrial
orientation than if they lived on La Tortue. Regardless, I would expect the diet to be
more terrestrial than in populations living on the Lesser Antilles or Bahamas. I would


119
The human skeletons I analyzed are from post-Saladoid primary burials excavated
during the 1995 field season. Many of the primary burials had pottery vessels on the
cranium. Secondary burials consisted of only the cranium and fragments of bone.
Faunal remains from both occupations point to an almost exclusive reliance on
marine animals for food, particularly sea turtles, fishes and mollusks. Thus, I would
expect the isotope data to show a diet based primarily upon marine resources, since by
post-Saladoid times, many of the terrestrial animal populations had been depleted.
Within the site descriptions I have described the diet as reconstructed through
zooarchaeological analysis when data were available. Otherwise, I have hypothesized
about the diet of the peoples living at a site based on sites that are similar temporally or
geographically. In the following chapter, I will review stable isotope theory in
preparation for the discussion of the study results.


81
A total of 158 individuals were recovered from Boca del Soco, 118 belonging to
Phase 1 and 40 belonging to Phase II (Coppa et al. 1995:154). The burials are in both
primary and secondary contexts, and are accompanied by grave offerings such as pottery
and dogs. Most of the crania were too fragmentary to analyze for deformities, but as has
been noted in other prehistoric West Indian populations, 10 individuals showed signs of
oblique tabular deformation of the frontal and occipital. A high incidence of disease,
along with infections, caused a high mortality rate among adolescents (Luna Calderon
1985:290). In general, the Boca del Soco population was not in good health.
During the Margarita phase, burial was communal. The frontal bone appears to
be flattened in some adults, but not in sub-adults. Infants had a high mortality rate in this
phase contrasting with the high rate of adolescent death in the El Soco Phase.
No zooarchaeological data are available for Boca del Soco. For a coastal site
during the Chican period, I would expect the diet to be divided between terrestrial and
marine protein sources. Manioc and house garden plants probably supplied the main
carbohydrate part of the diet, perhaps with a small contribution of C4 or CAM plants.
Juan Polio
The Juan Dolio site is ca. 80 km from Santo Domingo and just west of Boca del
Soco. The site was excavated by numerous researchers (Boyrie Moya 1960; Boyrie
Moya and Cruxent 1955; Chanlatte Baik 1954). Juan Dolio is one of the key sites of the
Boca Chica Chican ceramic style that spans from A.D. 900 to 1500 (Veloz Maggiolo
1972). Juan Dolio was occupied as late as European contact as evidenced by the
abundance of Spanish and other European pottery sherds in upper levels.


63
have been due to immigration of people from South America (Zucchi et al. 1984),
conflict resulting in warfare and subsequent aggregation for defense against the
preceramic groups still inhabiting Hispaniola and Cuba (Siegel 1992), or socio-cultural
implications of increasing population (Keegan 1985). Regardless, pottery styles
throughout the region become less homogenous (Keegan, in press). Technological
innovations may also have occurred during this time period leading to the use of new
fishing techniques such as nets and traps (Wing and Reitz 1982) and the terracing of
hillsides for increased agricultural yields (Ortiz Aguilu et al. 1991).
Post-Saladoid in the Lesser Antilles
In the Lesser Antilles, the post-Saladoid period was a time of regional division in
pottery styles indicative of local cultural development. This period (A.D. 800-1250) in
the Leeward Islands and the Virgin Islands is not well-understood. The number and size
of sites in the Leeward Islands point toward a population explosion. For instance, 17 of
the 19 ceramic period archaeological sites on Nevis are post-Saladoid (Wilson 1989:436).
Subsistence emphasis shifted from land crabs (perhaps) and other terrestrial animals to
marine protein including mollusks and fishes (Carbone 1980; Rouse 1992:94). Pottery
became less elaborate in vessel form and decoration although pottery styles became
locally diverse (Hofman 1993; Rouse 1992:124;). ZIC disappeared and WOR painting
was confined to rectilinear designs.
Hoogland (1996:220) has suggested that the local diversity in pottery assemblages
in post-Saladoid times is evidence that the Saladoid social system broke down into small
aggregates that then developed along local trajectories. The greater number of sites
resulted not only from population growth but also from increased mobility reflecting


95
Figure 5. Eleuthera showing archaeological sites mentioned in the text.


210
1 o
I I I I I
q o oo vo Tt r
Nsi2
MCiir
x w*
XAnse a la Gourde
-22 -20 -18 -16 -14 -12 -10
813C
ir n
Figure 55. 8 N versus 8 C values for human bone collagen, Anse la Goude,
Guadeloupe.
-28 -26 -24 -22 -20 -18 -16 -14
X Anse a la Gourde
6
13
c
Figure 56. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human bone
apatite, Anse la Gourde, Guadeloupe.
*13
It is difficult to distinguish between marine and maize signatures using 8 C
collagen values but the apatite signatures (Figure 56) show that in some individuals the


236
Saba and a few samples from Maisabel. The 815N values, which suggest whether there
may be a trophic level difference in feeding habits, are much less significant. Once
again, though, like with the data on island size, there appears to be a division with some
individuals feeding at a higher trophic level than others (see Figure 63). The individuals
from Saba lie in the higher trophic level group. The 513C data indicate that the geologic
form of the island is also a predictor of the dietary source of protein.
Figure 63. 513C and 515N values of human bone collagen illustrating the source of protein
in the diet of peoples living on limestone islands vs. volcanic islands.
The apatite values for volcanic versus limestone islands follow no distinct pattern
(Figure 64). It is evident that the source of energy in the diet varies considerably
regardless of the island geology.


143
within these ranges but the C:N ratios for over half of his samples fall outside of the
acceptable range. Van Klinken did not address why this was the case. His b13C collagen
values fell within the expected ranges for human samples but most of the collagen 5I5N
values were so extremely high (between 22.25 and 192.35) as to be out of the range of
possible nitrogen values derived from purified human collagen. Van Klinken gave only a
cursory review of his methods of extracting collagen, but noted that the bone preservation
was extremely poor due to the moist-warm conditions in the soil. In many bones the
collagen was completely leached out. Other bones contained a particularly large amount
of salts, which turned out to interfere with the collagen extractions. Especially the
nitrogen results on poor-quality bone collagen varied greatly, which could indicate
exogenous contamination by soil nitrogen (van Klinken 1991:88).
In extracting bone collagen from the same individuals, I obtained collagen yeilds
that fell within the acceptable percent collagen and had acceptable C:N values. I can only
presume that the technique he used to extract the collagen from the bone was not
sufficient to remove all humic contaminates. In the discussion section of this paper, I
will compare the collagen isotope values reported by Keegan and DeNiro (Keegan 1985,
Keegan and DeNiro 1988) and van Klinken (1991) with those that I obtained from the
same skeletons. I also will discuss the bone apatite values and how analyzing the isotopic
data from collagen and apatite can give a more accurate picture of the diet.
Norr (in press) analyzed the bone collagen and apatite for 24 individuals from the
prehistoric Tutu site in St. Thomas. Tutu is an inland village site spanning the Saladoid
and subsequent Ostionoid cultural periods. Norr interpreted her data to indicate that the
individuals living at Tutu had a diet intermediate between terrestrial foods and marine


169
portions of plants as discussed in the Methods chapter. Figure 13 shows the values for
each of the plants (edible portions) and animals (meat and collagen corrected for meat
values) sampled. I have drawn polygons in Figure 14 to illustrate the general area for
each food type. The outliers are not included in the polygons, and samples for which
there are only 1 or 2 values are presented as points.
By comparing the human dietary signatures to those of the potential dietary items,
it is possible to determine the source of protein of the diet, either marine or terrestrial, and
to theorize as to the source of the energy (carbohydrate) portion in the diet, whether based
on C3 plants such as manioc or C4 plants such as maize. Maize is by far the most
common C4 plant discussed in the archaeological literature of the Americas as a possible
horticultural C4 staple plant food. Other C4 plants that may have been collected wild or
tended include Panicoid grasses and Chenopods/Amaranths (Newsom 1993). Some
CAM plants, depending upon the environment in which they are grown, also have a C4-
like 813C signature, around -12 %o. In discussing the results of this study, C4 plants and
CAM plants with a C4-like signature will be referred to as C4/CAM plants since they
have similar (less negative) S13C values.
One issue that I will address is whether maize or any other C4/CAM plants were
consumed in a detectable quantity by prehistoric West Indians during any time period. In
an environment in which marine foods certainly were exploited, it is difficult to
determine the contribution of maize to the diet, since the isotopic signature of maize
overlaps with that of marine fishes and mollusks. Historic accounts state that maize was
cultivated by the Taino at contact in Hispaniola (Oviedo 1959:13-15, Sauer1969).


258
Ambrose, S. H.
1984 Holocene Environments and Human Adaptations in the Central Rift Valley,
Kenya. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California. University Microfilms, Ann
Arbor.
1987 Chemical and Isotopic Techniques of Diet Reconstruction in Eastern North
America. In Emergent Horticulture Economies of the Eastern Woodlands, edited
by W. F. Keegan, pp. 87-107. Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
1990 Preparation and Characterization of Bone and Tooth Collagen for Isotopic
Analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science 17:431 -451.
1993 Chapter 2. Isotopic Analysis of Paleodiets: Methodological and Interpretive
Considerations. In Investigations of Ancient Human Tissue Chemical Analyses in
Anthropology, edited by M.K. Sanford, pp. 59-130. Gordon and Breach Science
Publishers, Langhome, Pennsylvania
Ambrose, S. H. and M. J. DeNiro
1986 Reconstruction of African Human Diet Using Bone Collagen Carbon and
Nitrogen Isotope Ratios. Nature 319:321-324.
1987 Bone Nitrogen Isotope Composition and Climate. Nature 325:201.
1989 Climate and Habitat Reconstruction Using Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope
Ratios of Collagen in Prehistoric Herbivore Teeth from Kenya. Quaternary
Research 31:407-422.
Ambrose, S. H. and L. Norr
1992 On Stable Isotope Data and Prehistoric Subsistence in the Soconusco Region.
Current Anthropology 33(4):401 -404.
1993 Experimental Evidence for the Relationship of the Carbon Isotope Ratios of
Whole Diet and Dietary Protein to Those of Bone Collagen and Carbonate. In
Prehistoric Human Bone: Archaeology at the Molucular Level, edited by J. B.
Lambert and G. Grupe, pp. 1-37. Springer-Verlag, New York.
Arredondo, O.
1970 Dos Nuevos Especies Subfosiles de Mamferos (Insectvora: Nesophontidae)
del Holoceno Precolombino de Cuba. Memoria de la Sociedad de Ciencias
Naturales la Salle 30(86): 122-152.
Arrom, J. J.
1975 Mitologa y Artes Prehispanicas de las Antillas. Siglo XXI, Mexico City.


103
skeletons from Maundays Bay but I assume they were recovered in a salvage excavation
prior to construction. The skeletons probably date to the early ceramic period, but no
other information is known.
Rendezvous Bay Site
The Rendezvous Bay site occupies ca. 5 acres on the southwest coast of Anguilla
just east of Maundays Bay site (AAHS 1986). The human remains I analyzed for my
study were excavated during a salvage excavation 1986 by the AAHS. David Watters
conducted a second excavation during which additional information concerning the site
and subsistence was gathered but no human skeletal material was recovered (Watters and
Petersen 1991).
A surface collection of the site produced numerous rim sherds and ceramic
griddle fragments. Additional surface material includes 12 grinding stones, 36 stone
axes, 14 conch shell celts, 12 three-pointer zemis, and 31 pieces of chert (AAHS
1986:42). Diorite beads and a conch shell carved to resemble a human face, that
originally had inlaid eyes, were recovered from the surface as well. During the salvage
excavation, white-on-red (WOR) and white-on-buff pottery sherds were excavated from
the lowest levels. Black-on-red ware was also found in a level dated to A.D. 870 +/- 90
(charcoal date not corrected or calibrated; Douglas 1991).
In a controlled excavation (one 2 x 2 m unit) of Rendezvous Bay in 1986, the
upper stratum was radiocarbon dated to 1120+/- 70 BP and 1150+/-60 BP and the lower
stratum to 1550+/-70 BP and 1085+/- 55 BP (one sigma range, dates are not corrected or
calibrated; Watters and Petersen 1991). Although WOR sherds were found in the lowest
levels of the site, most sherds in all levels are undecorated. Because of the pottery types


18
with glacial times characterized by cooler, more nutrient-poor waters because of the
influence of glacial melt-water from the North Atlantic (Marchitto et al. 1998).
By 10,000 BP, sea level had risen to ca. 60 m lower than today (Fairbanks
1989:639). The climate in the West Indies was more arid than today and the vegetation
was dominated by xeric palms and montane shrubs (Hodell et al. 1991:792). Between
10,000 and 6,000 years BP, sea level had risen to ca. 13 m below modem levels
(Fairbanks 1989:639). The rise in sea level tapered off by 5,000 BP when it was ca. 8 m
below present levels, and slowly increased at little more than 1 m every millenium to
current levels (Fairbanks 1989:639). The climate became increasingly humid with
greater precipitation. As a result, lake levels rose, forest growth increased, and the littoral
zone developed as evidenced by increased Chenopodiaceae and Amaranthaceae pollen
recovered from lake sediment cores (Hodell et al. 1991:792). Between 5,400 and 3,900
BP, mesic forests increased, a trend that continued until 2,400 BP. A drier episode from
2,400 to 1,500 BP is suggested by a loss of mesic forest and an increase in dry forest
species and grasses. From 1,500 to 900 BP (A.D. 450-1050), conditions became slightly
wetter, followed by a return to drier conditions after A.D. 1,050 (Hodell et al. 1991:292).
Flora of the West Indies
The major studies of plant communities in the West Indies are those of Beard
(1949) and Howard (1974-1979, 1979) for the Lesser Antilles, Asprey and Robbins
(1953) for Jamaica, Little and Wadsworth (1964) and Little et al. (1974) for Puerto Rico
and the Virgin Islands, Harris (1965) for Antigua, Barbuda and Anguilla, Correll and


121
Stable isotopes are non-radioactive forms of an element that have the same
number of electrons and protons but differ in the number of neutrons. The stable isotopes
of carbon (13C and 12C) and nitrogen (I5N and 14N) are used in dietary reconstruction
because plants, at the base of the food chain, take up carbon and nitrogen from soil, water
and air, and pass on the ratios of the stable isotopes in their tissues to consumers
(Ambrose 1987; DeNiro 1987). Chemical reactions that occur during the transfer of C
and N between the dietary item and its consumer alter the original isotopic ratio through
fractionation. Fractionation factors of several parts per mil have been measured for a
variety of reactions, although the fractionation factor will vary among a consumers
tissues (DeNiro 1987). This factor is taken into consideration when interpreting the
dietary signatures.
Isotopic ratios are expressed in the delta (5) notation in parts per thousand (per
mil or %o) relative to a standard using the following equations:
813C=
(13C/12C)samp.e- (i3C/12C)pdb '
X
(13C/I2C)pDB
1000%o
(15N/14N)samp,e- (15N/I4N)air
X
8,5N=
(15N/14N)air
1000%o


219
The Maisabel zooarchaeological data suggest no major shift from terrestrial
resources in the Saladoid period to marine resources in the Ostionoid period (deFrance
1988, 1989). Even during the early Saladoid occupation, there was a well established
maritime economy (deFrance 1988:6). The size and density of land crab remains
decrease in the Ostionoid levels and the exploitation of marine resources increases, but
this is an expansion of an already established maritime economy, not a fundamental shift
from a terrestrial to a maritime economy.
The isotope data from Maisabel support a mixed diet based on contributions from
both terrestrial and marine protein sources. The 8 C values for most individuals,
however, lie closer to a terrestrial protein diet than a marine diet. The apatite to collagen
spacing indicates that the diet was very diverse, incorporating terrestrial animals, marine
animals, and both C3 and C4 plants in varying quantities. Although the zooarchaeological
data pointed toward a maritime-based economy, the isotope data suggest that terrestrial
protein was more prevalent in the diet than marine protein. The isotope data do agree
with the zooarchaeological data and provide no evidence of a temporal change in dietary
focus from terrestrial to marine at Maisabel.
Zooarchaeological data from Rendezvous Bay, a post-Saladoid site in Anguilla,
indicate that subsistence was based primarily on reef and estuary fishes (Wing 1996b).
Only 4% (MNI) of the vertebrate assemblage from one 2x2 meter test unit represented
terrestrial animals including rice rats, birds and a snake. Land crabs were prominent in
the assemblage but account for only ca. 16% of the total edible biomass, not including the
mollusks. Given this faunal assemblage, the isotope analysis should show that protein in
the diet was based mainly on marine animals.


276
Morgan, G. S.
1989 Fossil Chiroptera and Rodentia from the Bahamas, and the Historical
Biogeography of the Bahamian Mammal Fauna. In Biogeography of the West
Indies: Past, Present and Future, edited by C. A. Woods, pp. 685-740. Sandhill
Crane Press, Gainesville, FL.
Morgan, G.S., R. Franz, and R.I. Crombie
1993 The Cuban Crocodile, Crocodylus rhombifer, from Late Quaternary Fossil
Deposits on Grand Cayman. Caribbean Journal of Science 23(3-4): 153-164.
Morgan, G. S. and C. A. Woods
1986 Extinction and Zoogeography of West Indian Land Mammals. Biological
Journal of the Linnean Society 28:167-203.
Moscoso, F.
1981 The Development of Tribal Society in the Caribbean. Ph.D. dissertation, State
University of New York. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor.
Murray, M. D. and M. J. Schoeninger
1988 Diet, Status, and Complex Social Structure in Iron Age Central Europe: Some
Contributions from Bone Chemistry. In Tribe and Polity in Late Prehistoric
Europe, edited by D. B. Gibson and M. D. Geselowitz, pp. 155-178. Plenum, New
York.
Nadal, J., F. Morban Laucer and A. Peguero
1991 (Current Research on the Manoguayabo Site, Dominican Republic.) In
"Current Research: Greater Antilles. American Antiquity 56(1): 145.
Narganes Storde, Y.M.
1992 Vertebrate Faunal Remains from Sorc, Vieques, Puerto Rico. Unpublished
Masters Thesis, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 110 pp.
Nelson, B.K., M.J. DeNiro, M.J. Schoeninger, D.J. DePaolo, and P.E. Hare
1986 Effects of Diagenesis on Strontium, Carbon, Nitrogen,a nd Oxygen
Concentration and Isotopic Composition of Bone. Geochimica et Cosmochimica
Acta 50:1941-1949.
Newsom, L. A.
1993 Native West Indian Plant Use. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Florida.
University Microfilms International. Ann Arbor.
Newsom, L. A. and K. A. Deagan
1994 Zea mays in the West Indies: The Archaeological and Early Historic Record.
In Corn and Culture in the Prehistoric New World, edited by S. Johannessen and
C. A. Hastorf, pp. 203-217. Westview Press, Boulder.


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
A BIOGEOGRAPHIC SURVEY OF PREHISTORIC HUMAN DIET IN THE WEST
INDIES USING STABLE ISOTOPES
By
Anne V. Stokes
December 1998
Chairman: William F. Keegan
Major Department: Anthropology
In order to reconstruct the diets of traditional island peoples, I analyzed the stable
isotope signatures of carbon (813C) and nitrogen (615N) from bone collagen and bone
apatite carbonate in 102 prehistoric skeletons from the West Indies. These samples
represent 18 archaeological sites on 13 different islands. I also analyzed the same stable
isotopes in numerous samples of plants and animals, both marine and terrestrial, that
potentially were consumed by prehistoric West Indians. My results show that peoples of
the Saladoid period (ca. 400 B.C. to A.D. 600) and of the Ostionoid/Post-Saladoid period
(A.D. 600 to 1500) had fundamentally similar diets that included roughly comparable
components of marine and terrestrial foods. The main differences in prehistoric diets
among sites can be summarized as follows: peoples on larger, less isolated, more
biotically and geologically diverse islands had a larger terrestrial component in their diets
than those peoples living on smaller, more isolated islands with less complex biotas and
geomorphologies. These differences are related to variables in the intrinsic physical and


96
Long Island
Long Island (448 km2) is in the central region of the Bahamas where annual
rainfall averages between 75 to 100 cm (Figure 6, Sealey 1994). Thom and scrub forest
is the main vegetation in the southern islands today (MacPherson 1975).
Rainey excavated one cave on the southern part of the island near Clarence Town.
The cave had one main chamber with smaller chambers branching off. Most of the
smaller chambers had been excavated for guano. In Chamber 1, Rainey (1934) found one
piece of pottery (undescribed) and skeletal material that he assumed was one individual
but Keegan (1982:60) identified as two individuals (#4687). The first was a juvenile
under the age of 14 represented by a humerus, radius, small temporal bone and a section
of the illium. The second individual was probably a female between the age of 20 and 30
as evidenced by the maxillary with a third molar and part of the illium. The innominate
of the female was used for the isotope analysis.


253
fewer terrestrial animals, human diets were more marine oriented. Along the same lines,
people living at coastal sites ate more marine foods than those living at inland sites,
regardless of the time period.
The geology of an island also affects human diet. Volcanic (high) islands have
richer lowland soils than limestone islands as well as more diverse habitats because of
their higher elevation. Furthermore, volcanic islands may lack reefs, leading to more
depauperate marine resources than are available near low, limestone islands. Therefore,
humans living on volcanic islands obtain a greater percentage of their diet from terrestrial
plants and animals than people living on limestone islands. Because the Greater Antilles
are relatively old, large and geologically diverse (thus allowing more time for
colonization by plants and animals), humans living in the Greater Antilles, or on small
islands near to them, were able to get most of their protein from terrestrial resources.
Even though La Tortue is a farily small island, its extreme proximity to Hispaniola led to
a Greater Antillian type of human diet that was focused more heavily on terrestrial
protein sources than in the Bahamas or Lesser Antilles. The people buried at Manigat
Cave on La Tortue exploited a diverse terrestrial fauna, whether on La Tortue itself or on
the nearby Hispaniolan mainland. Human samples from the Bahamas (a strictly
limestone setting) had the most marine protein diets of all the islands. The paucity of
terrestrial fauna in the Bahamas is due to their young geological age and minimal habitat
diversity. In general, the farther away a West Indian island is from the donor area,
defined here as the closest Greater Antillean island, the greater will be the focus on
marine protein sources.


Ill
coast of Antigua. Chert from St. Kitts and Puerto Rico was also found. Personal items
recovered from this occupation include shell and quartz beads and five zemis made of
conch shell and coral (Acropora palmata).
The final occupation at Spring Bay dates to the Chican Ostionoid period. Pottery
and spindle whorls were found but no personal adornments were recovered. In all of the
units excavated, only one feature was found, a human burial dating to the Chican
Ostionoid period (A.D. 1300 to 1450). The individual had a cluster of stones placed near
the head (Table 4).
The location of Spring Bay 1 provided access to numerous habitats for
exploitation of terrestrial and marine animals. The only endemic mammal on the island
is the rice rat (Oryzomine) now extinct. Iguanas were present prehistorically, as were sea
birds (.Puffinus Iherminieri, Sula sp.) and land birds (Columbidae, Margarops sp.,
Mimidae). All of these terrestrial animals could have been gathered in the vicinity of the
site. In the zooarchaeological assemblage, terrestrial vertebrates, land crabs and fishes
predominate. In the earliest level, land crabs, terrestrial vertebrates and fishes are equally
represented. Through time, land crabs become less well represented in the sample and
rocky shore invertebrates are added, though they would never have been a major dietary
source (Wing 1996a). Because the individual dates to the late prehistoric period,
terrestrial fauna was limited, and because humans had been living on the island (perhaps
intermittently) for over 1000 years, we would expect the terrestrial fauna to have been
depleted. The faunal analysis (Wing 1996a) shows that terrestrial animals predominate in
the Taino period assemblage. Therefore, we would expect the diet of the Spring Bay 1


Table 8. Continued
SITE
PROVE
NIENCE
LAB#
BONE
AGE
SEX
%N/wt
%C/wt
C:N
515Nco.
Diet
515Nco,
513Ccol
c 13 p
'-'apa
A513
c
v-'apa-
col
Diet
c 13p
'-'apa
Yield
Col.
Yield
Apa.
Maisabel, P.R.
N44/E3, B7
AS 37
1. humerus
adult
male
11.25
32.48
3.60
9.25
6.75
-18.34
-9.02
9.32
-18.52
4.37
22.48
Maisabel, P.R.
N84/E72, B17
AS 38
1. tibia
adult
male
10.46
29.93
3.04
8.90
6.40
-18.63
-9.50
9.13
-19.00
3.23
24.79
Maisabel, P.R.
N40/W10, B18
AS 40
1. femur
adult
female
11.42
32.94
2.96
9.65
7.15
-18.76
-9.50
9.26
-19.00
12.06
24.42
Maisabel, P.R.
N50/E100, B1
AS 41
metatarsal
adult
female
12.91
37.58
3.38
11.08
8.58
-15.91
-9.02
6.89
-18.52
10.07
57.60
Maisabel, P.R.
N50/E100, B2
AS 42
rt. fibula
adult
male
13.29
37.52
3.35
9.18
6.68
-15.73
-8.58
7.15
-18.08
4.15
56.39
Maisabel, P.R.
N82/E72, B4
AS 43
tibia
adult
male
12.98
36.54
3.19
9.76
7.26
-19.34
-10.32
9.02
-19.82
7.90
53.58
Maisabel, P.R.
N82,E72, B5
AS 44
ulna
adult
female
13.29
38.61
3.38
10.05
7.55
-18.28
-10.48
7.80
-19.98
8.56
52.76
Maisabel, P.R.
N80/E72, BIO
AS 45
rt. femur
adult
female
12.23
35.25
3.34
9.74
7.24
-18.06
-9.48
8.58
-18.98
6.43
52.57
Maisabel, P.R.
N90/E42, B14
AS 46
1. tibia
adult
female
12.17
34.34
3.27
9.76
7.26
-18.14
-11.68
6.46
-21.18
6.13
42.65
Maisabel, P.R.
N90/E42/B16
AS 47
1. tibia
child
female
12.15
35.27
3.36
11.33
8.83
-17.98
-10.30
7.68
-19.80
5.08
51.40
Maisabel, P.R.
N80/E72, B20
AS 48
tibia
adult
male
8.91
24.50
3.19
9.54
7.04
-18.33
-11.64
6.69
-21.14
17.49
52.54
Maisabel, P.R.
N80/E72,B21
AS 49
ribs
adult
female
8.48
24.59
3.36
9.21
6.71
-18.76
-10.33
8.43
-19.83
6.63
58.11
Maisabel, P.R.
N84/E72,B22
AS 50
1. radius
adult
female
13.34
38.59
3.36
9.74
7.24
-17.71
-9.52
8.19
-19.02
4.18
50.80
Maisabel, P.R.
N42/W20, B23
AS 51
fragments
adult
female
13.44
38.29
3.30
8.28
5.78
-19.45
-9.73
9.72
-19.23
6.63
46.44
Maisabel, P.R.
N42/W21, B25
AS 52
femur
adult
female
14.18
41.21
3.38
9.99
7.49
-17.55
-9.05
8.50
-18.55
6.49
37.74
Maisabel, P.R.
N44/E3, B26
AS 53
fibula
adult
male
13.84
40.03
3.35
9.36
6.86
-18.46
-11.17
7.29
-20.67
6.97
53.44
Maisabel, P.R.
N31/W23, B29
AS 54
fragments
adult
female
?
13.83
38.15
3.20
9.96
7.46
-18.34
-10.12
8.22
-19.62
3.85
59.38
Maisabel, P.R.
N45/E0, B30
AS 126
rt. tibia
adult
male
12.26
35.10
3.32
7.83
5.33
-17.45
-9.80
7.65
-19.30
3.86
44.45
Gordon Hill Cave,
Crooked Island
4692
AS 93
humerus
adult
male
15.80
44.70
3.28
11.26
8.76
-12.08
-10.73
1.35
-20.23
19.81
24.63
Burial Cave 1,
Crooked Island
4694
AS 94
radius, ulna
adult
unk
15.72
44.23
3.26
10.67
8.17
-12.21
-10.73
1.48
-20.23
19.65
43.64
Gordon Hill Cave,
Crooked Island
4697
AS 95
humerus
adult
female
15.33
43.12
3.26
10.07
7.57
-13.28
-10.81
2.47
-20.31
18.73
45.15
Unnamed Cave,
Rum Cay
4691
AS 123
tibia
adult
female
15.58
43.77
3.26
8.31
5.81
-15.25
-11.01
4.24
-20.51
16.29
37.44


237
t i o i f
Figure 64. 6 C values of human bone apatite vs. 5 N values of human bone collagen
illustrating the source of the whole diet of peoples living on limestone islands vs.
volcanic islands.
Island Isolation
The distance that an island is away from the source area will affect the frequency
of colonization episodes by plants and animals. Therefore, I would expect to see a diet
based more heavily on marine resources the farther away an island is from an area rich in
terrestrial resources. Because the West Indies contain three separate groups of islands
formed at different times by different mechanisms, it is difficult to define a single source
area. I tested island isolation in two different ways. First I measured the distance of the
island from the closest continent (North American, Central America or South America) to
determine if there was a correlation. Second, I measured the distance of each island from
the closest Greater Antillean island, because of their large size and relative biotic richness


36
with the turtle meat, which provides a good source of protein and fat, the eggs would also
be harvested and eaten (Neitschmann 1973). When hauled out on their beaches, monk
seals would have been vulnerable to human hunters, particularly during the earliest
colonization by humans when they were unaccustomed to predators. Due to human
predation, monk seals now are presumably extinct. Monk seal bones have been
recovered from archaeological sites in Puerto Rico, St. Eustatius, and Nevis (Wing 1992).
Whales and porpoises (Cetacea) may also have been butchered if they were found to have
beached themselves although there are only a few records of cetaceans in West Indian
middens (van der Klift 1992; Veloz Maggiolo and Ortega 1976:153; Wing and Reitz
1982; Wing and Wing 1995).
The rocky intertidal region is the habitat of several mollusk species that are
commonly found in prehistoric middens. In fact, the Archaic peoples of the West Indies
have often been characterized as shellfish gatherers because of the numerous species of
rocky intertidal and estuarine mollusks found in their sites. Common species found on
beach rock are chitons (Chitonidae, particularly Chiton tuberculatus), limpets
(Fissurellidae, Acmaeidae), West Indian top shell (Cittarium pica), and nerites
(Neritidae).
The inshore-estuarine environment is home to numerous mollusks, crabs and
fishes. Bivalves such as Lucinidae (particularly Lucina pectinata and Codakia
orbicularis), Tellinidae (Tellina fausta), Donax sp. and Anadara transversa are benthic
species. These mollusks can be collected by poking a stick into the sand or mud until one
is encountered and then digging it out by hand. The conch, Strombus gigas, inhabits the
turtle grass out to coral reefs. Conchs were important for food and for the shell as raw


177
If i o
Figure 19. 5 N versus 8 C values for human bone collagen, Boca del Soco site,
Hispaniola.
Figure 20. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human bone
apatite, Boca del Soco site, Hispaniola.
As with the Juan Dolio diet, the apatite values suggest that one individual relied
more on terrestrial food sources than the rest of the sample population (Figure 20). A
second individual with a slightly less negative 813C signature and a lower 81:>N signature
may indicate the inclusion of C4 plants in the diet. The remaining three individuals
cluster tightly. Because their apatite 513C values are more negative than their collagen


180
Manigat Cave, Isle de la Tortue
The small, limestone island of La Tortue off the northwest coast of Haiti is
probably large enough to support a full-time settlement, although it is not possible to say
whether the population buried in the cave resided on La Tortue or on the Hispaniolan
mainland.
The 8 C values for bone collagen (Figure 23) indicate a diet with both marine^
and terrestrial protein sources. The values are similar to those of Juan Dolio but slightly
more marine/ C4 than those of El Soco. La Tortue probably could not support an
abundant terrestrial animal population for very long after human colonization, so the
inhabitants of this site may have been either exploiting terrestrial animals from
Hispaniola, or may have lived on Hispaniola but were buried on La Tortue.
Manigat Cave
Figure 23. 815N versus 5I3C values for human bone collagen, Manigat Cave, La Tortue.


53
preceramic cultures have an origin somewhere in North America (Rey Bettancourt and
Garcia Rodriguez 1988). Neither of these theories has received much attention because
of the great dissimilarities in material assemblages between North America and the West
Indies (Davis 1995:11).
Part of the problem in determining the origin of the Lithic culture is a paucity of
good scientific research. Most archaeologists prefer to concentrate on ceramic sites.
Also, most Lithic age sites seem to be small, temporary camps that are difficult to locate
and interpret. Coastal sites of the early Lithic, and even later Archaic, may now be
submerged by sea level change or tectonic activity. About 5000 years ago, sea level may
have been as much as 7 meters lower than today (Fairbanks 1989; Watters et al. 1992).
To date, sites of the Lithic culture have been identified only on Cuba and Hispaniola.
With further research, they may be found to be present on Puerto Rico and Jamaica as
well (Pantel 1988). The earliest lithic sites are the Levisa rockshelter site in Cuba dated
to 4190 B.C. and the Vignier III site, an open air site on the west coast of Haiti dated to
3600 B.C. (Allaire 1997a; Kozlowski 1974; Rouse 1992). As with most preceramic sites,
the chronologies of these sites are tentative because most of the radiocarbon dates were
derived from marine shell, sometimes from surface collections, and often have not been
corrected for marine reservoir effects or I3C/12C ratios, nor have the dates been calibrated
properly into calendar ages.
The Casimiran Casimiroid peoples were foragers whose stone tool kit included
large macroblades (rarely with any retouch) and prismatic cores (Rouse 1992; Pantel
1988) although scrapers, gravers, awls, and hammerstones have been reported from the
Barrera-Mordan site in the Dominican Republic (Veloz and Vega 1982). Allaire (1997a)


Table 11. 813C and 8I5N values of the edible portions of terrestrial and marine animals potentially included in the diet of the
prehistoric West Indians.
Species
Common Name
Class
Habitat
Feeding
Guild
Locality
MF#
S15Ncol
s,3cC0l
Nerita versicolor
Four-tooth Nerite
MO
I
D
GT
3
0.87
-8.60
Nerita versicolor
Four-tooth Nerite
MO
I
D
GT
4
-0.61
-8.09
Tectarius muricatus
MO
N
D
GT
5
0.59
-10.13
Strombus gigas
Queen Conch
MO
M
D
GT
35
3.62
-13.03
Strombus gigas
Queen Conch
MO
M
D
GT
36
5.41
-13.28
Strombus gigas
Queen Conch
MO
M
D
GT
37
6.23
-15.61
Strombus gigas
Queen Conch
MO
M
D
GT
38
2.71
-13.97
Caracolus marginellus
MO
T
D
PR
39
1.91
-27.60
Caracolas marginellus
MO
T
D
PR
40
1.64
-23.96
Caracolus caracola
MO
T
D
PR
28
4.63
-28.33
Caracolus caracola
MO
T
D
PR
29
7.83
-22.76
Caracolus caracola
MO
T
D
PR
30
4.24
-23.69
Caracolus caracola
MO
T
D
PR
31
7.56
-23.12
Megalostoma croceum
MO
T
D
PR
32
3.29
-22.65
Megalostoma croceum
MO
T
D
PR
33
5.86
-22.78
Megalostoma croceum
MO
T
D
PR
34
7.84
-22.72
Codakia orbicularis
MO
N
D
GT
7
0.80
-22.78
Codakia orbicularis
MO
N
D
GT
8
0.56
-24.09
Tellina fausta
MO
N
D
GT
10
0.72
-8.64
Acanthopleura granulata
West Indian Fuzzy
Chiton
MO
I
D
GT
9
1.61
-8.18
Acanthopleura granulata
West Indian Fuzzy
Chiton
MO
I
D
GT
11
3.40
-9.03


109
Figure 11. Saba showing archaeological sites mentioned in the text.
Spring Bay 1 (SB-005) is located in Spring Bay basin at an elevation of ca. 10-26
m above sea level, an area with extensive deposits of colluvium in the foothills of Mount
Scenery (Hoogland 1996:55). The site is on the windward side of the island where
gullies deposit sediment possibly obscuring sites but erosionary forces of wind and waves
also have the potential to uncover and disturb sites. The second site, Kelbey s Ridge 2
(SB-036), is located on a small flat plain ca. 300 m inland between Spring Bay and Cove
Bay in an area of secondary evergreen woodland (Hoogland 1996:55).


125
depending upon their source of carbon and nitrogen and their position in the food web.
Besides C3 and C4 pathways, a third photosynthetic pathway, Crassulacean Acid
Metabolism (CAM), is used by some xerophytic succulents and epiphytic plants, such as
species of Agavaceae, Bromeliadaceae, Cactaceae, Crassulaceae, and Euphorbiaceae
(Bender 1968; Fleming et al. 1993; O'Leary 1981, 1988; Smith et al. 1979; Troughton et
al. 1974). CAM 8 C values can mimic either C3 or C4 values depending on whether
photosynthesis takes place during the day or at night.
The three photosynthetic pathways vary in the amount of 13C that they fix from
atmospheric CO2 resulting in an almost exclusive separation between the 513C values of
C3 plants and C4 plants with some overlap in those of CAM plants. These values are also
extended to animals feeding on these plants and onward up the food chain. C3 plants have
5 C values in the range of -23 to -30%o (Bender et al. 1981) with an average of ca.
-26%o and include most trees, fruits, tubers and temperate grasses. C4 plants have 513C
values in the range of -8 to -14%o (Bender 1968; Bender et al. 1981; Smith and Epstein
1971), with an average around -12%o, and include tropical grasses such as maize,
sugarcane, sorghum, setarias, and some amaranths and chenopods (Bender 1968;
Downton 1971, 1975; Smith and Epstein 1971; Troughton et al. 1974). The 813C values
of CAM plants overlap with the ranges of C3 and C4 plants depending upon their
environment and circadian rhythms. Most marine plants use a C3 photosynthetic
pathway. However, sea water is enriched in organic carbon approximately 7%o relative to
atmospheric CO2 resulting in 813C values of ca. -19%o (Fry et al. 1977).
In terrestrial ecosystems, nitrogen is incorporated into plants either from 15N-
enriched soil or by symbiosis with N2-fixing bacteria. The majority of the plants


200
12
10
£ 8
co 6
4
2
-22 -20 -18 -16 -14 -12 -10
513C
Figure 43. 5I5N versus 513C values for human bone collagen, Hope Estate, St. Martin.
The 813C values of the apatite indicate that the whole diet of these two individuals
was based primarily on terrestrial foods including C3 plants and terrestrial animals
(Figure 44). An abundance of rice rats were found in the Hope Estate zooarchaeological
assemblage (Wing 1993b), so we can assume that the diet was based mainly on a
monoisotopic (primarily C3) diet.
12
10
2 8
>
_to 6
4
2
-28 -26 -24 -22 -20 -18 -16 -14
Figure 44. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human bone
apatite, Hope Estate, St. Martin.


54
has suggested that the Lithic peoples may have been attracted to Cuba and Hispaniola for
the chert resources. A second possibility is that since they were the first humans to
inhabit the islands, they were attracted to the islands by the rich terrestrial and marine
fauna that had never been exploited by humans.
Subsistence among the Lithic cultures may have been primarily terrestrially
oriented (Rouse 1992:61), primarily marine oriented (Petersen 1997:119), or both (Veloz
and Vega 1982:40). As mentioned above, these early inhabitants had many food choices
and probably exploited every habitat for which the technology was available. Although
primarily foragers, the Lithic cultures may have practiced some incipient horticulture
(Davis 1988; Veloz Maggiolo 1991).
Archaic Period (Casimiroid 2000 B.C. to 400 B.C.; Ortoiroid 2500 B.C. to 400 B.C)
The Lithic peoples persisted in Cuba and Hispaniola until sometime in the second
millenium B.C. when the Casimiroid series developed in situ into what Rouse considers
two separate Archaic cultures, the Redondan Casimiroid in Cuba and the Courian
Casimiroid in Hispaniola (Rouse 1992:57-62). These two groups differ from their Lithic
ancestors by the addition of ground stone tools (single and double-bitted axes, hammer-
grinders, conical pestles) along with manos and metates presumably used to grind plant
foods. These cultures have a similar tool kit to the Archaic groups, called Ortoiroid, who
entered the Lesser Antilles around 2000 B.C. The Ortioroid, named after the Ortoire site
in Trinidad, settled mainly in the Leeward Islands and northwestward into Puerto Rico,
although preceramic sites have been reported in Martinique (Henri Petitjean-Roget 1976).
Most archaeologists support the theory that Ortoiroid peoples originated in South
America around the Orinoco Delta (Harris 1973, 1976; Rouse 1992:62; Rouse and


6
The results of my isotope analyses are presented in Chapter 7. For each site, I
will discuss the source of protein as evidenced by the collagen, the source of the whole
diet as evidenced by the apatite, and how the spacing between the carbon values of bone
apatite and collagen provide further evidence as to the source of protein and energy and
whether tropical grasses, such as maize are suggested. Then I will examine the data
using biogeographic and cultural variables. Do island size, island geology, site location,
or distance from a donor source have any effect on the source of protein in the diet (either
marine or terrestrial) or the source of the whole diet? Is there any evidence that cultural
variables, such as the cultural group and time period (Saladoid vs. Ostionoid), affect diet?
In Chapter 8 I will interpret and discuss the major findings of the study stressing inter
island comparisons within a biogeographic framework. In Chapter 9,1 will conclude by
summarizing the key features of my study relating to the original research questions.
Focus of the Research
Previous studies of diet in the West Indies have proposed two possible factors as
underlying observed temporal change in the diet. The first explanation is that the diet
changed as the culture changed (Rainey 1940; Rouse 1992), irrespective of whether
cultural change was due to new immigration, conflict with opposing populations, or
technological change (Rainet 1940; Rouse 1992; Siegel 1989). The second possible
factor determining dietary change was environmental, including resource abundance and
overexploitation (Carbone 1980; Jones 1985; Keegan 1985). In general, Amerindians
were believed either to have been eating terrestrial diets to reproduce their mainland


45
a gentle slope along the shoreline. If it is difficult for non-volant propagules to land on
the island due to a steep, rocky shoreline, this will reduce the rate of colonizations. Other
factors affecting survival once a species reaches the island include whether adequate
habitat and food are present, whether similar species are competing for a niche, and the
reproductive potential of the propagule (population size, generation time, reproductive
rate, etc).
MacArthur and Wilson (1963, 1967) predict that the rates of immigration and of
extinction on any island eventually will offset each other to yield a state of equilibrium in
species richness. The rate of immigration will decrease as more species become
established on the island and there are fewer different species left in the source area that
have yet to colonize the island. This rate will also be affected by the dispersal ability of
the organism; those with the best dispersal abilities will colonize the island first
(Thornton 1996). Before equilibrium is attained, extinctions may increase as more
species being on the island results in greater competition and smaller population sizes
(MacArthur and Wilson 1967:22). The animals most susceptible to extinction are those
with large body mass that are easily affected by environmental change, limited food
choices (such as carnivores), or with specialized habitat requirements (Brown 1995).
After equilibrium is attained, the precise set of species present on an island will change
(i.e. turnover) at some rate but the overall number of species will remain about the
same (Simberloff 1974:163; Thornton 1996). Turnover rates depend on several factors
aside from dispersal ability, changes in habitat, and competition between species.
Equilibrium is subject to the area effect which means that larger islands with greater
numbers of species will have lower rates of turnover. Islands close to the source area will


259
Asprey, G. and R. Robbins
1953 The Vegetation of Jamaica. Ecological Monographs 23:359-412.
Athens, J. S.
1997 Hawaiian Native Lowland Vegetation in Prehistory. In Historical Ecology in
the Pacific Islands: Prehistoric Environmental and Landscape Change, edited by
P. Kirch and T. L. Hunt, pp. 248-270. Yale University Press, New Haven.
Aufderheide, A. C., M. A. Kelley, M. Rivera, L. Gray, L. L. Tieszen, E. Iversen, H. R.
Krouse and A. Carevic
1994 Contributions of Chemical Dietary Reconstruction to the Assessment of
Adaptation by Ancient Highland Immigrants (Alto Ramirez) to Coastal
Conditions at Pisagua, North Chile. Journal of Archaeological Science 21:515-
524.
Auffenberg, W.
1967 Notes on West Indian Tortoises. Herpetologica 23:34-44.
Barker, P.
1961 Les Cultures Cadet et Manigat: Emplacements de Villages Precolombiens dans
le Nord-Ouest d'Haiti. Bulletin du Bureau d'Ethnologie 3(26): 1 -88.
Beard, J. S.
1949 The Natural Vegetation of the Windward & Leeward Islands. The Clarendon
Press, Oxford.
Bender, M. M.
1968 Mass Spectrometric Studies of Carbon 13 Variations in Com and Other
Grasses. Radiocarbon 10(2):468-472.
Bender, M. M., D. A. Baerreis and R. L. Steventon
1981 Further Light on Carbon Isotopes and Hopewell Agriculture. American
Antiquity 46(2):346-353.
Boomert, A.
1986 The Cayo Complex of St. Vincent: Ethnohistorical and Archaeological Aspects
of the Island Carib Problem. Anthropolgica 66:3-68.
1987 Gifts of the Amazon: Greenstone' Pendants and Beads as Items of Ceremonial
Exchange in Amazonia and the Caribbean. Anthropolgica 67:33-54.
Boutton, T. W., P. D. Klein, M. J. Lynott, J. E. Price and L. L. Tieszen
1984 Stable Carbon Isotope Ratios as Indicators of Prehistoric Human Diet. In Stable
Isotopes in Nutrition, edited by J. R. Tumlund and P. E. Johnson, pp. 192-204.
Vol. 258. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC.


CHAPTER 8
DISCUSSION
In the previous chapter, the results of isotope analysis from the individual sites
were presented along with some inter-island comparisons of the mean values. In this
section I will bring together the isotope evidence along with other evidence generated by
zooarchaeolocal and archaeobotanical studies in order to compare conclusions drawn
about diet using various techniques. I will then compare the results of this study to those
of other isotope studies on West Indian populations. Finally, I will examine how
prehistoric human diets in the West Indies may have been influenced by biogeographic
variables including island size (large vs. small), island geology (limestone vs. volcanic),
island isolation, and the locations of archaeological sites on islands (inland sites vs.
coastal sites) and how these relate to cultural models of West Indian diet.
Correlation of Stable Isotope Data with Zooarchaeological Data.
For sites that have zooarchaeological data, I will examine how closely the diet as
estimated by isotope analysis mirrors the diet as reconstructed through faunal analysis.
Zooarchaeological analyses have been conducted for the following sites: Maisabel,
Puerto Rico; Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla; Hope Estate, St. Martin; Spring Bay 1 and
Kelbeys Ridge, Saba; and Petite Riviere, La Dsirade.
218


144
foods. The collagen 513C values indicated a diet with protein contribution intermediate
between terrestrial and marine resources whereas the 815N values suggested that the
majority of the protein was from a marine source such as reef and pelagic fishes.
The whole diet, as reconstructed from bone apatite and the apatite to collagen
spacing of 513C values, was interpreted as a diet where the protein source was derived
from primarily C3 terrestrial animals with some marine protein and where the energy was
from C3 plants (Norr, in press). Norr found no change in the diet through time at the Tutu
site. I will compare the isotopic data from the Tutu site with those that I have generated
from other West Indian sites in the Discussion section of this thesis.


172
Maize pollen and macrobotanical remains of maize have been found in archaeological
sites in Hispaniola (Garcia Arevalo and Tavares 1978:36; Newsom 1993; Sanoja
1989:532; Newsom and Deagan 1994). Panicoid grass seeds have been recovered from
El Bronce (Puerto Rico) and En Bas Saline (Haiti) (Newsom 1993; Pearsall 1985, cited in
Newsom 1993). Chenopodiaceae macrofossils have been found in midden deposits at
three sites (El Fresal, El Parking, and El Bronce) in Puerto Rico (Newsom 1993; Pearsall
1985, cited in Newsom 1993). Maize has not been recorded in the paleobotanical record
outside of Hispaniola and no other C4 plants have been recorded from archaeological
deposits outside of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. The spacing between the 5I3C values of
bone collagen and bone apatite has the potential to yield information on maize
consumption. Finding evidence of maize consumption in the human bone isotope data
would provide indirect evidence concerning this plants use and timing of introduction as
a staple food crop in the West Indies.
In this chapter I will present first the results of the isotopic analysis for each
island. Then I will examine how the isotopic data differ according to several
biogeographical variables including large islands vs. small islands, inland sites vs. coastal
sites, limestone vs. volcanic islands, and isolation (distance from a source area, in this
case defined as the closest Greater Antillean island). Lastly, I will examine temporal
change in diet between early (Saladoid) sites vs. late (Ostionoid) sites.


27
Now I will review briefly the major groups of Greater Antillean mammals and
reptiles of potential economic importance to prehistoric peoples. From a standpoint of
species richness, bats are the dominant group of mammals throughout the West Indies but
are of little if any importance to human subsistence and so will not be discussed further.
Similarly, the various families of West Indian frogs and lizards represent
biogeographically fascinating evolutionary radiations but are seldom recovered in any
quantity in archaeological sites and probably were not important in prehistoric diets.
Insectivores (Solenodontidae) are known to have existed in Cuba, Hispaniola, and
Puerto Rico. Hispaniola and Cuba each have two recorded species of Solenodon, of
which S. cubanus in Cuba and S. paradoxus in Hispaniola are still extant although
endangered. The six species of Nesophontes from Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico are
now extinct but are recorded from prehistoric cultural sites or are known to have survived
into the historic period (Arredondo 1970; Morgan and Woods 1986).
All of the nine species of ground sloths (Edentata) recorded in Cuba supposedly
went extinct in the late Pleistocene (Morgan and Woods 1986). However, the lack of
sloth bones from Cuban archaeological sites may reflect only that so little research has
been done on sites dating to the earliest human colonization. Ground sloths are also
recorded from Hispaniola (six species, four undescribed) and Puerto Rico (one species).
A radiocarbon date of ca. 3715 B.P. on a ground sloth fossil from a cave in Haiti is
evidence that at least one species of sloth still existed at the time of human colonization
(Morgan and Woods 1986). Ground sloth bones from another Haitian cave were believed
by Miller (1929) to be associated with human occupation of the cave.


91
elevation throughout the Bahamas is less than 60 m above sea level and in most places
less than 20 m above sea level. The Bahamas are formed completely of limestone
uplifted on two immense and six somewhat smaller submarine banks. Solution features in
the limestone have created a karstic landscape with sharp pinnacles, crevices, caves and
sinkholes but no rivers or streams. Soils tend to be limited in quantity and quality. The
larger islands, such as Andros, have blue holes that provide freshwater. The islands are
rimmed by coral reefs.
The Bahamian skeletons were excavated from caves that were probably used only
temporarily for shelter, but were mainly used as burial sites. The habitation sites would
have been located in open areas near the coast. In January of 1934 as a graduate student
at Yale University, Froelich Rainey visited Haiti and the Bahamas to locate and excavate
archaeological sites and to examine cultural materials that had been found by locals
(Rainey 1934). Rainey visited a number of caves, many of which had been excavated for
guano to be used as fertilizer. Unfortunately, Raineys field notes contain very little
information about each site or the provenience of the human bones. His field methods
are rarely discussed and the artifacts he found associated with the burials often were not
analyzed, merely listed for instance, as undecorated pottery. The site locations that I
have indicated on the maps should be considered general vicinity locations.
William Keegan analyzed the skeletal material recovered by Rainey as to the sex
and approximate age. The bones showed no evidence of pathologies and in general, the
prehistoric Bahamians seemed to be very healthy (Keegan 1982). To develop an absolute
chronology, I obtained radiocarbon dates for two of the skeletons (see below).


2
For years, archaeologists studying the prehistoric cultures of the West Indies
concentrated on the massive amount of mollusk shells deposited in the sites. In fact, the
presence of mollusk shells is one of the key indicators used to locate prehistoric sites
throughout the islands. These shell deposits jaded early researchers in the West Indies
into believing that the earliest prehistoric groups in the West Indies subsisted primarily
on landcrabs and that later groups mainly consumed mollusks, pariticularly conchs, top
shells, nerites, chitons and various bivalves. Explanations for why these diets changed
through time included cultural change (immigration of a new population), environmental
(climatic) change, and economic factors (overexploitation of resources).
In this study, I will take an independent look at the diet of prehistoric West
Indians using stable isotope analysis of human remains excavated from archaeological
sites. Stable isotope analysis is a technique used to reconstruct prehistoric diet by
comparing the isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen in human bone with the isotopic
ratios of carbon and nitrogen in potential food resources. Plants incorporate carbon into
their tissues using one of three pathways that I will explain in detail later in this
dissertation. Animals that then feed on the plants will have an isotopic signature for
carbon similar to that of its food plants. The isotopic signature of nitrogen changes as a
function of how high on the food chain a species feeds (called a trophic level effect). To
interpret the diet of prehistoric humans, the collagen and apatite carbonate are isolated
from a human bone in order to measure the ratios of the stable isotopes of carbon and
nitrogen, and then those values are compared to the potential food sources. Using
isotopic signatures of carbon and nitrogen from collagen and carbon from the apatite, it is
possible to make generalizations about whether individuals were consuming energy


292
1989 Archaeological Implications for Lesser Antilles Biogeogaphy: The Small Island
Perspective. In Biogeography of the West Indies: Past, Present, and Future,
edited by C. A. Woods, pp. 153-166. Sandhill Crane Press, Inc., Gainesville.
Watters, D. R., J. Donahue and R. Stuckenrath
1992 Paleoshorelines and the Settlement of Barbuda, West Indies. In Paleoshorelines
and Prehistoric Settlement, edited by L. L. Johnson, pp. 15-52. CRC Press, Boca
Raton.
Watters, D. R. and J. B. Petersen
1991 Preliminary Report on the Archaeology of Rendezvous Bay Site, Anguilla. In
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Congress of the International Association for
Caribbean Archaeology, edited by A. Cumming and P. King, pp. 348-359.
Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Barbados.
Watters, D. R., E. J. Reitz, D. W. Steadman and G. K. Pregill
1984 Vertebrates from Archaeological Sites on Barbuda, West Indies. Annals of
Carnegie Museum 53(Article 13):383-412.
Watters, D.R. and I. Rouse
1989 Environmental Diversity and Maritime Adaptations in the Caribbean Area. In
Early Ceramic Population Lifeways, edited by P.E. Siegel, pp. 129-144.
Westermann, J. H. and H. Kiel
1961 The Geology of Saba and St. Eustatius, with Notes on the Geology of St. Kitts,
Nevis and Montserrat (Lesser Antilles) 24. Uitgaven Natuurwetenschappeliijke
Studiekring voor Suriname en de Nederlandse Antillen, Utrecht.
Wetmore, A.
1918 Bones of Birds Collected by Theodoor de Booy from Kitchen Midden Deposits
in the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix. Proceedings of the United States
National Museum 54:513-522.
1938 Bird Remains from the West Indies. The Auk: A Quarterly Journal of
Ornithology 55:51-55.
White, C. D. and H. P. Schwarcz
1989 Ancient Maya Diet: As Inferred from Isotopic and Elemental Analysis of
Human Bone. Journal of Archaeological Science 16:451-474.
Wiley, J. W. and J. Wunderle, Joseph M.
1993 The Effect of Hurricanes on Birds, with Special Reference to Caribbean
Islands. Bird Conservation International 3:319-349.


101
haliaetus), Sooty Tern (Sterna fuscata), White-crowned Pigeon (Columba leucocephala),
Crow (Corvus sp.), and Bahamian Mockingbird (Mimus gundlachii).
Based on zooarchaeological assemblages from sites in Samana Cay, Crooked
Island and Middle Caicos, the prehistoric Bahamians concentrated on marine resources,
particularly reef fishes (deFrance 1991; Wing and Wing 1995). Crocodile remains have
been recovered from one site on Crooked Island and one on Acklins Island (deFrance
1991) but they probably were not a large part of the diet. At site CR-8 on Crooked
Island, ca. 25% of the bones were from hutias (suggesting that people may have been
managing these animals), but reef fishes were still the largest component of the diet
(deFrance 1991). From the zooarchaeological record, I expect that the isotopic signature
in bones of prehistoric Bahamians will show a diet consisting primarily of marine foods,
with a signature falling closest to reef fishes.
Anguilla
Anguilla (91 km2) is located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles just east of
the Virgin Islands. The entire island is uplifted Neogene limestone (Maury et al.
1990:148) that rises to 60 m above sea level. Rainfall on Anguilla is unreliable and
averages ca. 100 cm per year (Macpherson 1975:117). Surface streams are absent but
there are numerous small lagoons and saline ponds. Due in part to deforestation during
the historic period, Anguilla is one of the driest of the West Indies (AAHS 1986).
I analyzed human bones excavated at three sites on Anguilla: Rendezvous Bay,
Maundays Bay and Sandy Hill (Figure 9). These sites were located in 1979 by the


225
to collagen fractionation. The 813C and 815N values are roughly the same and probably
represent slightly different collagen extraction procedures. Apatite values are not
included since Keegan did not analyze the bone apatite carbonate.
Table 13. Comparison of 813C and 815N values of bone collagen from my study and that
of Keegan (1985) and Keegan and DeNiro (1988).
PROVENIENCE/BURIAL
LAB#
Keegan's
5I5N
collagen
This
Study
815N
collagen
Keegan's
S13C
collagen
This study
813C
collagen
Gordon Hill Cave, Crooked Island
AS 93 (4692)
8.21
8.76
-13.18
-12.08
Burial Cave 1, Crooked Island
AS 94 (4694)
9.51
8.17
-14.12
-12.21
Gordon Hill Cave, Crooked Island
AS 95 (4697)
NA
7.57
NA
-13.28
Burial Cave, Rum Cay
AS 123 (4691)
NA
8.31
NA
-15.25
Imperial Lighthouse Cave, Abaco
AS 96 (4683)
6.50
6.09
-15.64
-14.97
Clarence Town Cave, Long Island
AS 97 (4687)
9.15
7.91
-15.76
-14.62
North Bannerman Cave, Eleuthra
AS 98 (4684)
8.11
7.24
-12.46
-12.26
Unnamed Cave, Eleuthra
AS 99 (4685)
7.72
7.14
-12.32
-12.33
Hacienda Grande, Puerto Rico
NA
9.40
NA
-19.10
NA
Keegan concludes that the Bahamian skeletal material falls into three groups that
reflect a temporal change. In the earliest diets, terrestrial animals and only the highest
ranked marine organisms were consumed. After initial colonization, there is a shift, as
evidenced in a second pathway, to a diet intermediate between terrestrial and marine
resources. The final pathway, presumably from late in prehistory, illustrates a shift to
marine resources (Keegan and DeNiro 1988). The radiocarbon dates that I acquired for
the skeletons from Long Island (AS 97) and Crooked Island (AS 93) support Keegans
hypothesis. AS 97 is earlier (cal A.D. 1175-1295) and has a more terrestrial protein diet
than AS 93 (cal A.D. 1375-1450). Because chronometric data are available for only two


269
1991a The First Bonaireans. Archaeological-Anthropological Institute of the
Netherlands Antilles, Curacao.
1991b Prehistoric Cultural Developments on Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. Paper
presented at the Fourteenth Congress of the International Association for
Caribbean Archaeology.
1991c Preliminary Results from Test Excavations at the Hope Estate Site (SM-026),
St. Martin. In Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Congress for
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1991 Antillean Vegetational History and Paleoclimate Reconstructed from the
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of Florida.


185
Paso del Indio
The skeletal material of 11 individuals was analyzed. The bone collagen 813C
data cluster around -19.5 %o (except for the one individual at -18.56) indicating that most
protein in the diet came from terrestrial sources (Figure 27). The 615N values are within
the range of terrestrial vertebrates but much lower than those of Juan Dolio and El Soco
on Hispaniola. Large land snails are abundant at the site and may be responsible for the
relatively low 5I5N values. Alternatively, maize also has a low 815N value that may
influence the 515N values, but the nitrogen content of maize is low relative to high protein
foods.
] Paso del Indio
813C
Figure 27. 81SN versus 513C values for human bone collagen, Paso del Indio, Puerto Rico.
13
The whole diet as reconstructed from apatite values (Figure 28) ranges from more
marine/C4 to more terrestrial than the collagen values. This indicates that C4 plants were
providing a substantial part of the carbohydrate portion of the diet to some individuals,
thus pulling values toward the less negative end of the scale, whereas other persons were
getting much of their carbohydrate from C3 cultigens.


APPENDIX
ISOTOPE VALUES OUTSIDE THE ACCEPTABLE RANGES
SITE
PROVE
NIENCE
LAB#
BONE
AGE
SEX
%N/wt
%C/wt
C:N
515N
Diet
815N
5I3Cco
8nCca
A8I3C
ca-co
Diet
S13Cca
Yield
Co
Yield
Ca
Cueva Roja, D.R.
11
AS 21
1. tibia
adult
0.10%
0.87%
10.17
2.02
24.42
Cueva Roja, D.R.
13
AS 22
fibula
adult
0.05%
0.54%
12.98
3.53
27.06
Cueva Roja, D.R.
12
AS 23
adult
0.08%
0.77%
11.17
3.88
12.42
Cueva Roja, D.R.
14
AS 24
tibia
adult
0.12%
1.23%
11.94
0.82
7.80
Maisabel, P.R.
N78/E64,
B28
AS 39
fragments
adult
male
0.25%
1.05%
4.94
-10.55
-20.05
1.44
58.79
Kelbey's Ridge, Saba
U60, FI66
AS 59
1. humerus
child
unk
5.23%
12.33%
2.73
8.97
6.47
16.720
-12.03
4.69
-21.53
1.74
50.90
St. Michielsberg, Curacao
UCA, LI-3
AS 67
0.05%
0.70%
16.10
2.29
-0.21
-10.52
-20.02
1.07
56.46
Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla
PN1 (1)
AS 91
innominate frag.
none
-11.95
-21.45
0.30
Manigat Cave, La Tortue
5072
AS 117
r. humerus
11.96%
37.26%
3.61
8.91
6.41
-15.90
-9.20
6.70
-18.70
6.21
Manigat Cave, La Tortue
5066
AS 120
r. humerus
5.67%
18.31%
3.74
9.11
6.61
-17.16
-9.59
7.57
-19.09
0.97
Manigat Cave, La Tortue
5082
AS 121
r. humerus
9.02%
28.71%
3.69
8.47
5.97
-16.88
-9.33
7.55
-18.83
1.63
Manigat Cave, La Tortue
5090
AS 122
r. humerus
11.06%
35.74%
3.75
8.75
6.25
-17.00
-10.60
6.40
-20.10
4.14
256


280
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To Mom for not laughing when I said I wanted to be an archaeologist
Dad, the other Dr. Stokes
And Dave, the other Dr. Steadman


13. Comparison of 813C and 815N values of bone collagen from my study
and that of Keegan (1985) and Keegan and DeNiro (1988) 225
14. Summary of C:N ratios, 813C values and 815N values of skeletal material
from the Maisabel site in Puerto Rico, and the Spring Bay 1 and
Kelbeys Ridge 2 sites in Saba. Van Klinkens values are not adjusted
11
for any diet to collagen fractionation. My 8 C values are not adjusted
but I have added 2.5%o to the 815N values to account for fractionation 229
15. Statistical difference (two-tailed t-test) between the source of carbon and
nitrogen in the diet of people living on large islands vs. small islands 234
16. Statistical difference (two-tailed t-test) between the source of carbon and
nitrogen in the diet of people living on limestone vs. volcanic islands 235
17. Measure of island isolation from two potential donor areas, the nearest
continent and the nearest Greater Antillean island 238
18. Statistical difference (two-tailed t-test) between the source of carbon and
nitrogen in the diet of people living at inland vs. coastal sites 242
19. Statistical difference (two-tailed t-test) between the source of carbon and
nitrogen in the diet of Saladoid vs. Ostionoid groups 245
xii


277
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176
individual are pulled slightly toward a large spacing, suggesting a greater reliance on
either terrestrial protein and/or C4 energy than the other individuals. Because the 815N
values for all Juan Dolio samples are high and maize has a low 815N signature, there is
probably little if any maize in the diet.
Figure 18. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 813C for human bone from the Juan
Dolio site, Hispaniola, compared to dietary values proposed by Ambrose and Norr (1993)
adapted from Norr (1995).
Boca del Soco
The Boca del Soco individuals have a slightly more negative 813C collagen value
than the Juan Dolio samples suggesting that the diet was based more heavily on terrestrial
protein (Figure 19). Nevertheless, the sources of protein in the diet are intermediate
between terrestrial and marine resources. As at Juan Dolio, the 815N values are higher
than for most modem reef fishes, suggesting that the protein component was a
combination of terrestrial vertebrates such as iguanas and possibly birds with high 815N
values, such as marine birds. Mollusks probably contributed little to the diet.


105
Two exceptional artifacts were recovered from the site. One is a carved conch
shell zemi that had traces of mineral pitch in the eyes where there may have been inlay.
Two holes were drilled in the ornament probably in order to wear or display the object.
The zemi is remarkably similar to one found in Antigua (Nicholson 1983). Also found
on the surface was a large fragment of a shark-shaped carved manatee bone bifurcated for
use as a snuffing tube. Like the zemi, the object had mineral pitch in the eyes and
nostrils. This object is very similar to a carved fish-shaped manatee bone from Kelbeys
Ridge 2 in Saba. Both Sandy Hill (A.D. 1070 +/- 90, not corrected or calibrated, Douglas
1991:578) and Kelbeys Ridge 2 date to the post-Saladoid period.
No zooarchaeological analysis was undertaken on the material excavated from
Sandy Hill but the zooarchaeological data from Rendezvous Bay lead me to believe that
the Sandy Hill diet may have been more terrestrial than would be expected on a small
island during the post-Saladoid period.
Hope Estate. St. Martin
St. Martin is one of the Limestone Caribbeesin the northern Lesser Antilles.
The island measures ca. 98 km2 and is composed of three separate formations, siliceous
tuffs, volcanic effusives and shallow platform limestones (Maury et al. 1990). St. Martin
prehistorically would have had stands of tropical broad-leaved woodland, although the
island is covered mainly in thorn and shrub forest today. Rainfall varies from 100 to 200
cm per year (Sealey 1992).


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Anne Vaughn Stokes was bom and raised in Orlando, Florida. Her interest in
archaeology began when, as a child, she and her father would visit Indian mounds on
their hunting leases throughout Central Florida. Anne became interested in West Indian
archaeology as an undergraduate at the University of Florida where she received her B.A.
in anthropology in 1986.
After participating in several excavations in Europe, Anne returned to the
University of Florida in 1988 to work with William F. Keegan on a masters degree
focusing on prehistoric settlement patterning and subsistence in the West Indies. Anne
spent two field seasons in Antigua, B.W.I. and completed the degree in 1991. As an
independent means to study subsistence, Anne learned the technique of stable isotope
analysis and began the present study on biogeography and prehistoric subsistence.
Anne is the owner of Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc. (SEARCH), a
cultural resource management firm in Gainesville, FL. Following completion of the
doctoral degree, she will continue working at SEARCH and pursue funding for field
research on the prehistoric West Indies.
296


127
thus have the potential to confuse the interpretation of isotopic analyses. A third pathway
is nitrogen fixation in some invertebrates (some sea urchins and mollusks such as
Codakia orbicularis due to a zooceneotic symbiosis between the organism and
autotrophic sulphur bacteria (Capone et al. 1977; Posgate 1983). Isotopic analysis readily
distinguishes marine from terrestrial foods in tropical environments lacking coral reefs,
nitrogen fixing organisms and C4 plants. In tropical environments where C3, C4 and
marine foods are available, interpretation of the diet is more difficult although possible by
using data from both bone collagen and bone apatite carbonate.
Variations in Carbon and Nitrogen 5 Values
Besides nitrogen fixation in coral reef and benthic environments, other
environmental and climatic variations also can affect the carbon and nitrogen isotopic
signatures of potential dietary items. Plants growing in coastal environments generally
have higher 81SN values than inland plants (Heaton 1987). The most plausible reason for
this is that nitrate from sea spray provides an additional source of soil nitrogen that is
incorporated into the plants (Virginia and Delwiche 1982). The 81SN values are also
higher in plants growing in non-marine saline soils (Karamanos et al. 1981). This also is
likely due to incorporation of soil nitrogen into the plants rather than to any fractionation
factor within the plants (Heaton 1987).
Although the 815N values of animals increase with trophic level, they can also be
affected by aridity. Heaton et al. (1986) tested a number of C3 and C4 plants from arid
habitats in Africa where the 815N values for the animals were higher than expected. They


217
isolation, and the locations of archaeological sites on islands (inland sites vs. coastal
sites) to determine if these factors effect human diet.


48. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human
bone apatite, Kelbeys Ridge 2 and Spring Bay 1, Saba 204
n
49. Mean 8 C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, Kelbeys Ridge 2 and Spring Bay 1, Saba 204
50. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 813C for human bone from the
Kelbeys Ridge 2 and Spring Bay 1 sites, Saba compared to dietary
values proposed by Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995) 205
51. 815N versus 813C values for human bone collagen, Petite Riviere,
La Dsirade 206
IS 1 "2
52. 8 N values from human bone collagen versus 8 C values from human
bone apatite, Petite Rivire, La Dsirade 207
53. Mean 813C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, Petite Riviere, La Dsirade 208
54. Apatite to collagen spacing 8 N versus 8 C for human bone from
the Petite Riviere site, La Dsirade, compared to dietary values
proposed by Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995) 209
55. 815N versus 8I3C values for human bone collagen, Anse la Goude,
Guadeloupe 210
56. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human
bone apatite, Anse la Gourde, Guadeloupe 210
57. Mean 8 C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, Anse la Gourde, Guadeloupe 211
58. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 813C for human bone from the
Anse la Gourde site, Guadeloupe, compared to dietary values
proposed by Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995) 212
59. Mean 815N versus mean 813C collagen values indicating the source of
the protein in the diet from all sites sampled 214
60. Mean 815N collagen values versus mean 813C apatite values indicating
the source of the protein and energy (whole diet) from all sites sampled 216
61. 813C and 815N values of human bone collagen illustrating the source
of protein in the diet of peoples living on large islands vs. small islands 233
62. 813C values of human bone apatite vs. 815N values of human bone
collagen illustrating the source of the whole diet of peoples living on
large islands vs. small islands 234
XVI


CHAPTER 4
HUMAN SKELETAL SAMPLES AND THEIR CONTEXT
Human skeletal material included in this study was excavated by archaeologists
working on Hispaniola, La Tortue, Puerto Rico, Anguilla, St. Martin, Saba, Guadeloupe,
La Dsirade, Grenada and the Bahamian islands of Abaco, Eleuthra, Long Island,
Crooked Island and Rum Cay. For each island, I will first give general information on
the geography of the island, then I will describe each site. Some sites were excavated
more thoroughly or recently than others, resulting in better methodology or more
thorough analysis. Therefore, the site descriptions will vary in detail.
Hispaniola
Hispaniola (77,355 km2) is the second largest of the West Indies (after Cuba).
Hispaniola is very complex topographically and geologically with both marine and
terrestrial rocks of volcanic, sedimentary, and metamorphic origins. The northern two-
thirds of the island are formed of complex island-arc terranes ranging in age from Early
Cretaceous to late Eocene (Mann et al. 1991). The southern one-third of Hispaniola is an
outcrop of oceanic plateau, often capped by carbonates. Both the oceanic and the island-
arc terranes are remnants of the Great Arc that formed in the Pacific and moved into the
Caribbean basin (see Chapter 2).
78


93
Figure 4. Abaco showing location of the Imperial Lighthouse Cave.
Eleuthera
The island of Eleuthera (Figure 5) measures 581 km2 and is located in the tropical
marine wet and dry zone (Sealey 1992:82). Currently the vegetation is coppice
dominated by low (2-5 m) tropical hardwoods. Annual rainfall varies from 100-125 cm


287
1991 Accelerator Radiocarbon Dating at the Molecular Level. Journal of
Archaeological Science 18:35-72.
Steadman, D. W.
1986 Holocene Vertebrate Fossils from Isla Floreana, Galapagos. Smithsonian
Contributions to Zoology 413:1-103.
1991 Extinction of Species: Past Present and Future. In Global Climate Change and
Life on Earth, edited by R. L. Wyman, pp. 156-169. Routledge, Chapman and
Hall, New York.
1993 Biogeography of Tongan Birds Before and After Human Impact. Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences USA 90:818-822.
1995 Prehistoric Extinctions of Pacific Island Birds: Biodiversity Meets
Zooarchaeology. Science 267:1123-1130.
Steadman, D. W. and W. B. Hilgartner
in press A New Species of Bam Owl (Tytonidae) from Barbuda, West Indies.
Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology.
Steadman, D. W. and P. Martin
in press Extinctions in Radiocarbon Time: Islands versus Continents. In Extinctions,
edited by R. D. E. MacPhee. Plenum Press, New York.
Steadman, D. W., G. K. Pregill and S. L. Olson
1984a Fossil Vertebrates from Antigua, Lesser Antilles: Evidence for late Holocene
human-caused extinctions in the West Indies. Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences USA 81:4448-4451.
Steadman, D. W., T. W. Stafford, Jr., D. J. Donahue and A. J. T. Jull
1991 Chronology of Holocene Vertebrate Extinctions in the Galapagos Islands.
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1984 Vertebrates from Archaeological Sites on Montserrat, West Indies. Annals of
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1990 Analysis of the Vertebrate Fauna from the Pearls Site (Gren-A-1): Prehistoric
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Department of Anthropology, University of Florida.


175
Collagen
Apatite
-24 -22 -20 -18 -16 -14 -12
813C
13
Figure 17. Mean 8 C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and apatite,
Juan Dolio site, Hispaniola.
Figure 18 shows where the individual sample falls in the spacing between the
apatite and collagen values. To review the theory briefly, a small spacing (~2) indicates
that the protein in the diet is of a marine^ origin and the energy is from C3 plants such
as manioc. A large spacing (~11) indicates a diet of terrestrial animal protein and
C4/CAM plants. An intermediate spacing (~6) results from a monoisotopic diet in
which the sources of protein and carbohydrate have a similar signature that may be both
C3, both C4 or a mixture of all four.
One sample has a small apatite to collagen spacing indicating that the individual
had a diet of marine/C4 protein and C3 cultigens as discussed above. Two of the Juan
Dolio individuals fall within the intermediate spacing indicating that the diet is
monoisotopic. Because the apatite values of these two samples were only slightly more
negative than the collagen values, both C3 and C4 plants were probably included in the
diet. Therefore, the monoisotopic spacing probably represents a diet based on terrestrial
and marine protein and C3 and C4/CAM plants. Values for the final Juan Dolio
10
Z 8
o 6
mm
ifea ' i i
o
: ::



24
for food and medicine recovered from Saladoid period sites include fish poison (Piscidia
carthagenensis), goosefoot (Chenopodium), lignum-vitae (Guaiacum officinale), and
Trianthema portulacastrum. Peppers (Croton sp., Capsicum sp.) are recorded for both
the Saladoid and Ostionoid periods. An even wider range of plants has been recovered
from Ostionoid period sites in the Greater Antilles. Plants that may have been grown in
housegardens for food or medicine include guava (cf. Psidium guajava), guaba
(Fabaceae, cf. Inga sp.), primrose (Oenothera sp.), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), and
Zamia sp. (Fortuna 1978; Garcia Arevalo and Tavares 1978; Newsom 1993; Veloz
Maggiolo and Ortega 1996). Tentative identifications from the En Bas Saline site in
Haiti have been made of genip (cf. Melicoccus bijugatus), soursop (cf. Annona sp.) and
star-apple (Sapotaceae) (Newsom 1993). Macroremains and pollen have been recovered
for maize (Zea mays) and manioc {Manihot esculenta) dating to the Ostionoid period on
Hispaniola (Higuera-Gundy 1991; Nadal et al. 1991; Newsom 1993). Two varieties of
maize, a popcorn type and a flour type, are recognized at En Bas Saline (Newsom
1993:279).
Amaranthaceae/Chenopodiaceae, panicoid grasses {Setaria sp.), purslane
{Portulaca sp.), and trianthema {Trianthema portulacastrum) recovered from En Bas
Saline suggest that the Taino may have been either collecting or tending other C4 plants
in addition to maize. C4 plants such as tropical grasses have a different photosynthetic
pathway than most cultigens and should be detectable in the isotopic record (see Chapter
5).
Seed diversity in the archaeobotanical record is much lower in the Lesser Antilles
than in the Greater Antilles throughout prehistory (Newsom 1993). This suggests that the


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The staff at Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc. (SEARCH) have my
greatest appreciation for helping me through the writing of this dissertation. Foremost is
James Pochurek, best business partner and best friend, who always looks out for me both
in business and in life. Bob Austin proved to be indispensable over the last year. He
brought in a ton of work to SEARCH and then had to do it all himself while I sat home
and wrote. Bob also was my statistics mentor who gave me advice on which types of
statistics to run on my data and taught me how to use the software. Matt Allen, Kimberly
Martin and Jon Endonino were also a great help; Matt for running to the library whenever
I needed an article and for completing the maps, Kimberly for talking me through the
tough times and teaching me about formatting, and Jon for helping to enter the literature
citations.
Numerous archaeologists provided human bone samples for this study. After I
gave a talk on isotopes at a Caribbean Congress meeting, Mermo Hoogland immediately
offered to provide bones for the study. Mermo and his wife Corinne Hofman (both
archaeologists at Leiden University), have conducted first rate excavations on several
West Indian islands. They were very kind to send human bone samples from Spring Bay
1 and Kelbeys Ridge 2, Saba and Anse la Gourde, Guadeloupe. They also introduced
me to Maaike de Waal, a graduate student at Leiden University who provided the bones
IV


21
Cuba, locally in southern Hispaniola, and in the upland river basins of Puerto Rico
(Sealey 1994:99). Grasslands are similar to savanna except that grasslands have no trees.
Wetlands present in the West Indies include freshwater swamps (wooded),
marshes (devoid of trees), and mangroves (estuarine). The two main trees in freshwater
wetland environments are gut apple (Annona glabra) and Pterocarpus officinalis.
Mangroves are found in brackish or estuarine environments throughout the West Indies
but especially where silty soils predominate. Four species of mangrove are widespread in
the West Indies: white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), red mangrove (Rhizophora
mangle), black mangrove (Avicennia germinans), and button mangrove (Conocarpus
erectus) (Spalding et al. 1997). Black mangrove, the tallest, straightest, and hardest, was
commonly used for construction and fuel wood during the prehistoric period (Newsom
1993).
Prehistoric Use of Plants
Most prehistoric archaeological sites in the West Indies are located along the
coast or inland along river valleys and/or in areas of good agricultural soils (Rouse 1992).
Native plants were exploited in surrounding habitats particularly the tropical rainforest,
tropical woodlands, tropical deciduous forest, tropical thorn forest and wetlands. Our
knowledge of prehistoric plant use comes from historic documents and from
archaeobotanical data.
Early Europeans recorded plants that they saw being cultivated by the Indians.
Noted were tubers such as manioc (Manihot esculenta), sweet potato (Ipomoea batata),


234
Table 15. Statistical difference (two-tailed t-test) between the source of carbon and
nitrogen in the diet of people living on large islands vs. small islands.
Variable
Carbon
Nitrogen
N
Mean
SD
N
Mean
SD
Large Island
11
-18.33
1.02
11
7.68
1.31
Small Island
12
-15.09
1.45
12
7.53
1.11
t=12.45
df=l 03
p<.001
t=0.64
df=l 03
p=.53
The apatite values, as predicted, do not show a distinct pattern (Figure 62).
People living on virtually all West Indian islands were practicing horticulture and
probably were cultivating similar species. Their main source of carbohydrates was either
manioc or maize.
Figure 62. b13C values of human bone apatite vs. 515N values of human bone collagen
illustrating the source of the whole diet of peoples living on large islands vs. small
islands.


Table 9. Continued
Species
Common
Name
Class
Habitat
Feeding
Guild
Site
AF
#
Yield
Col
%N/wt
%C/wt
C:N
515Nco.
Adjusted
515Nco.
813Ccol
Adjusted
0 Ccoi
Sparisoma viride
Stoplight
Parrotfish
F
R
H
GT
4
4.83%
11.98%
33.79%
3.27
2.49
4.19
-5.40
-9.10
Sparisoma viride
Stoplight
Parrotfish
F
R
H
MB
21
6.97%
13.87%
39.40%
3.30
3.53
5.23
-7.75
-11.45
Sparisoma sp.
parrotfish
F
R
H
SB
52
2.56%
4.99%
15.08%
3.51
4.67
6.37
-9.77
-13.47
Acanthurus sp.
surgeonfish
F
R
H
MB
19
8.20%
13.56%
38.99%
3.34
5.08
6.78
-10.55
-14.25
Acanthurus sp.
surgeonfish
F
R
H
SB
46
2.72%
8.27%
24.13%
3.38
2.98
4.68
-10.35
-14.05
Sphyraena sp.
barracuda
F
R
C
MB
18
7.42%
14.87%
42.69%
3.33
7.73
9.43
-6.01
-9.71
Thunnus alalunga
Albacore
F
P
C
P
29
3.60%
12.74%
36.76%
3.35
5.63
7.33
-11.65
-15.35
Balistidae
triggerfish
F
R
C
SB
49
2.52%
7.73%
23.17%
3.48
3.07
4.77
-11.04
-14.74
Lactophrys sp.
trunkfish
F
R
D
GT
10
2.27%
9.07%
27.41%
3.51
6.24
7.94
-5.75
-9.45
Diodon hystrix
Porcupine
fish
F
E
D
GT
3
3.18%
9.92%
28.62%
3.35
6.06
7.76
-7.40
-11.10
Tetraodontidae
puffer
F
E
D
MB
24
5.64%
13.06%
37.23%
3.31
6.69
8.39
-8.56
-12.26
Chelonia mydas
Green Sea
Turtle
R
N
H
GT
8
1.47%
7.29%
22.04%
3.51
3.92
4.52
-3.67
-5.97
Cheloniidae
sea turtle
R
N
H
GA
27
2.17%
10.12%
30.31%
3.47
6.58
7.18
-11.63
-13.93
Geochelone sp.
tortoise
R
T
H
GT
6
0.99%
7.42%
22.69%
3.55
8.79
9.39
-14.25
-16.55
Cyclura carinata
Rock Iguana
R
T
H
GT
5
4.75%
12.30%
36.22%
3.42
9.29
9.89
-15.95
-18.25
Iguanidae
iguana
R
T
H
KR
45
9.96%
14.63%
41.99%
3.33
12.90
13.50
-20.70
-23.00
Pelecanus
occidentals
Brown
Pelican
A
M
C
P
35
5.15%
10.77%
31.87%
3.43
7.81
8.41
-11.28
-13.58
Sula leucogaster
Brown
Booby
A
M
C
GA
26
5.65%
13.68%
39.60%
3.36
10.21
10.81
-12.01
-14.31
Sula sp.
booby
A
M
C
GT
7
12.80%
13.45%
39.56%
3.41
7.42
8.02
-11.27
-13.57
Sula sp.
booby
A
M
C
SB
48
9.99%
13.80%
39.71%
3.34
6.20
6.80
-10.67
-12.97


229
Table 14. Summary of C:N ratios, 813C values and 515N values of skeletal material from
the Maisabel site in Puerto Rico, and the Spring Bay 1 and Kelbeys Ridge 2 sites in
Saba. Van Klinkens values are not adjusted for any diet to collagen fractionation. My
813C values are not adjusted but I have added 2.5%o to the 815N values to account for
fractionation.
SITE
LAB#
Van
Klinken
C:N
This
Study
C:N
Van
Klinken
815N
collagen
This
Study
51SN
collagen
Van
Klinken
513C
collagen
This study
5I3C
collagen
Spring Bay 1
AS 56 (U20 F001)
3.72
3.29
11.27
8.37
-15.60
-15.81
1.91
13.50
-15.20
Kelbey's Ridge 2
AS 57 (U56 F068)
NR
3.29
NR
8.74
-13.90
-14.91
AS 58 (U56 FI48)
NR
3.41
11.90
7.71
-15.00
-16.72
AS 60 (U61 FI32)
NR
3.36
12.00
8.23
-13.20
-15.43
AS 61 (U65 F313)
NR
3.25
11.40
7.17
-15.20
-15.68
AS 62 (U67 F337)
NR
3.37
12.70
8.91
-16.80
-15.35
Maisabel
AS 45 (Burial 10)
3.40
3.34
11.13
7.24
-19.04
-18.06
3.16
54.75
-18.69
NR
12.59
-18.24
AS 48 (Burial 20)
3.89
3.19
9.88
7.04
-19.22
-18.33
3.82
85.54
-19.35
AS 51 (Burial 23)
NR
3.31
192.35
5.78
-19.19
-19.45
5.12
8.05
-22.29
6.12
12.20
-21.33
5.24
10.79
-21.38
NR
3.48
-21.67
NR
6.67
-22.14
To reconstruct diet, Van Klinken analyzed several food items from the West
Indies but used other published values for his diet comparison including the erroneous
maize 815N value of 10%o discussed above. Using a formula including values for
collagen, food items in the diet, and fractionation factor between diet and collagen, he
calculated a 100% C3 collagen 813C value (ca. -20), a 100% C4 collagen 813C value,
and a 100% reef-food collagen 813C value. The Maisabel population falls within the
100% C3 consumer diet and the Saba populations have 31% reef food. I do not believe


n #
33. Mean 8 C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, Maisabel, Puerto Rico 190
i r n
34. Apatite to collagen spacing 5 N versus 5 C for human bone from the
Maisabel site, Puerto Rico, compared to dietary values proposed by
Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995) 191
i c n
35. 8 N versus 8 C values for human bone collagen from sites on five
islands in the Bahamas 192
36. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human
bone apatite, Bahamian sites 193
37. Mean 8 C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, Bahamian sites 194
38. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 813C for human bone from the
Bahamian sites compared to dietary values proposed by Ambrose and
Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995) 194
39. 815N versus 813C values for human bone collagen from three
archaeological sites on Anguilla 196
40. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human
bone apatite from three sites on Anguilla 197
41. Mean 813C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, from three archaeological sites on Anguilla 197
42. Apatite to collagen spacing 8I5N versus 813C for human bone from
three sites on Anguilla compared to dietary values proposed by
Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995) 198
43. 815N versus 813C values for human bone collagen, Hope Estate, St. Martin 200
ic n
44. 8 N values from human bone collagen versus 8 C values from human
bone apatite, Hope Estate, St. Martin 200
45. Mean 813C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and
apatite, Hope Estate, St. Martin 201
46. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 813C for human bone from
the Hope Estate site, St. Martin, compared to dietary values proposed
by Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted from Norr (1995) 202
47. 815N versus 813C values for human bone collagen, Kelbeys Ridge 2
and Spring Bay 1, Saba 203
xv


137
and the percent of collagen in whole bone (DeNiro 1985; DeNiro and Weiner 1988;
Schoeninger et al. 1989). The C:N ratio of the bone collagen being analyzed should be
similar to that of modem bone collagen. Only samples that have C:N ratios in the range
acceptable for fresh undegraded modem bone should be used. This value has a mean of
3.2 (Ambrose 1990, 1993; Kennedy 1988) and a range given variously as 2.6 to 3.4
(Schoeninger et al. 1989), 2.9 to 3.6 (Ambrose 1993; Ambrose and Norr 1992), or 2.9 to
3.5 (DeNiro 1985). A second test is to determine the percent collagen extracted from the
bone. Well-preserved bone may have adequate collagen for isotope analysis even in
samples that have only 0.8% collagen by weight when the bone is demineralized using
strong (1M) acid or less than 1% collagen when demineralized in weak (0.1-0.3M) acid
although a yield of greater than 3% is preferred (Ambrose and Norr 1992; Hedges and
Lae 1989; Schoeninger et al. 1989; DeNiro and Weiner 1988).
C:N ratios and % collagen may be unreliable indicators of the purity of the
collagen in samples with poor preservation (Schoeninger et al. 1989). Among the various
techniques to assess sample quality, Ambrose (1990) found that the most reliable
indicators of well-preserved collagen are the concentrations of carbon and nitrogen by
weight in bone collagen. Carbon concentrations above 13% and nitrogen concentrations
above 4.8% suggest that the collagen has not been affected by diagenesis, whereas
samples with carbon and nitrogen concentrations below 4.5% and 0.5%, respectively,
should not be used for diet reconstruction (Ambrose 1990). Amino acid composition and
infrared spectroscopy are two additional methods to assess the quality of collagen
(Hedges and Lae 1989; Schoeninger et al. 1989; Tuross et al. 1988; Tuross et al. 1989).


147
used to hold 12 funnels with samples; each funnel was labeled with the appropriate
sample number. Approximately 50 ml of 0.2 M HC1 was added to each funnel to remove
bone mineral and carbonates from the crushed bone. The solution was stirred with a
clean glass rod, and then the funnels were covered with aluminum foil to ensure that no
foreign objects enter the sample. The HC1 was replaced two to three times a day until
demineralization was complete (usually 2 to 6 applications depending on the preservation
of the collagen). Once the isomorphs were translucent and floated when stirred,
indicating that demineralization had occurred, the sample was washed to neutral with
distilled water (approximately 10 washes).
To remove all humic contaminates and lipids, approximately 50 ml of 0.125 M
NaOH was added to the demineralized bone in each funnel and left to sit covered for 12
to 18 hours. For very delicate samples, 0.0625 M NaOH was used. This was necessary
only for the four samples from Cueva Roja, the Lithic site in the Dominican Republic.
(These four samples did not have acceptable C:N ratios, see Appendix A). The samples
were then rinsed to neutral again with distilled water and the funnels were filled with 10'3
M HC1. The level of the liquid was marked with a permanent marker. The rack holding
the tightly covered samples was placed in a drying oven at 95 C for 5 hours at which
time 100 pi of 1 M HC1 was added to each sample and 103 M HC1 was added to the
funnels to replace any liquid lost to evaporation. The samples were placed back in the
oven at 95 C for 4 hours until all collagen had solubilized in the funnels.
The liquid from each funnel was then drained into a labeled Erlenmeyer flask.
Solubilizing the collagen and straining it through the coarse funnel filters removes any
particulate matter remaining in the solution. The sides of the funnels were rinsed with 10


4
Organization of the Dissertation
In order to set the stage for the reader, I will review in Chapter 2 the physical and
biological background of the West Indies and present an overview of island biogeography
theory that serves as a framework for my study. An understanding of the geology of the
West Indies is important because it informs us about the tectonic processes that have
created and moved the islands over millions of years. The physical characteristics of the
islands and their time above sea level affect colonization by plant and animal species.
The paleontological and zooarchaeological record is reviewed next so that the reader will
understand which animals were present during the prehistoric period, which may have
gone extinct quickly through human colonization, and which animals may have been
introduced to specific islands by the Amerindians. I then will discuss the
archaeobotanical evidence of maize and other plants recovered from archaeological sites.
The introduction of maize into a cultural group may either allow for growth in population
or be a result of growth in population. Either way, an understanding of the timing of the
introduction of maize into a horticultural population can shed light on cultural and
technological change. After reviewing previous theories concerning West Indian diet, I
will discuss some of the main points of the theory of island biogeography and how
biogeographic factors such as island size, island type (limestone or volcanic), and
isolation can affect human diet.
Chapter 3 will review the prehistory of the West Indies from the Lithic period
until European contact. Although I had no bone samples from the Lithic or Archaic


60
were at least two migrations of ceramic bearing inhabitants more than 2000 years ago.
Both groups originated in South America. Trading of pottery or pottery styles between
these groups eventually resulted in assemblages with both ZIC and WOR, suggesting an
acculturation between the two early ceramic-using peoples.
Regardless of the migration routes, the settlement patterning of the early ceramic
or Saladoid migrants is very similar. The early ceramic-using peoples settled the Lesser
Antilles, Puerto Rico and the eastern tip of Hispaniola within several hundred years
(Callahan 1995; Petersen 1997; Pregill et al. 1994; Rouse 1992:92). No Saladoid sites
have been found in western Hispaniola, Jamaica or Cuba. The absence of sites in
Jamaica may be due to a sampling error or geographic isolation. The lack of Saladoid
sites in Cuba and Hispaniola has been attributed to a barrier created by the preceramic
groups already established in these islands.
Saladoid Social and Economic Organization
The Saladoid probably were organized into complex tribes with status
differentiation and communal activities but no centralized authority (Allaire 1997a:23;
Siegel 1989). The early Saladoid sites were small villages with large pole and thatch
houses for as many as 60 people arranged around a central plaza that at some sites serves
as the cemetery (Curet 1992a, 1992b; Haviser 1997; Righter 1997; Siegel 1996; Versteeg
and Schinkel 1992). Saladoid settlements were situated both inland and along the coast
(Curet 1992b; Siegel 1992). The earliest Saladoid peoples are thought to have focused
their subsistence upon terrestrial animals that would have been easier to procure and less
costly than the marine species (Keegan 1985; Rouse 1992).


241
Coastal
+ Inland
5I3C
i o ic
Figure 67. 8 C and 8 N values of human bone collagen illustrating the source of protein
in the diet of peoples living at coastal sites vs. inland sites.
The diet of peoples living at inland sites generally contains much more terrestrial
protein than the diet of peoples living on the coast (Figure 67). The two inland values
that lie between the marine and terrestrial categories are from Hope Estate, St. Martin.
As discussed above, the Hope Estate individuals are the most terrestrially oriented of all
the samples from small island sites. The difference between the source of protein
consumed by people living at inland sites vs. those living at coastal sites is highly
significant statistically (Table 18). The inland sites have a substantially larger terrestrial
protein component than the coastal sites. The 815N values are not significant. From the
above figure, people living at inland sites fall in the middle range of trophic levels.


136
Post-mortem Bone Change
In order to use prehistoric faunal or human bone for diet reconstruction, it is first
necessary to remove any diagenetic contaminates in the bone collagen or apatite. Bone in
a postmortem setting has the potential for chemical exchange with elements in the soil
and groundwater that can alter the in vivo elemental values, thus giving erroneous dietary
signatures (DeNiro 1985; Kennedy 1988; Lambert et al. 1985; Lee-Thorpe and van der
Merwe 1987; Lee-Thorpe et al. 1989; Nelson et al. 1986; Schoeninger and DeNiro 1982;
Sillen and Kavanaugh 1982). Bone collagen can be contaminated by naturally occurring
biochemical fractions of bone such as lipids (Ambrose 1990; Norr 1995) as well as
numerous allochthonous substances (Stafford et al.1990). Bone apatite carbonate may be
even more susceptible than collagen to post-mortem changes in its carbon isotopic
composition due to ground water and soil contaminates (DeNiro and Epstein 1978b;
Stafford 1990). Elements present in the soil and water may be precipitated thus filling
voids in the mineral phase of bone and may also exchange with elements in the lattice of
the hydroxyapatite (Sanford 1992). Pre-treatment of bone with acetic acid may remove
some secondary carbonates but may also cause isotope changes and recrystallization (Lee
Thorpe and van der Merwe 1991; Wright and Schwarcz 1996). Tooth enamel is less
susceptible to diagenesis than bone tissue and is preferable when available (Lambert et al.
1985). In fact, 813C values interpreted to distinguish between C3 and C4 diets have been
determined on tooth enamel as much as 10 million years old (Cerling et al. 1997).
Several avenues are available to evaluate the integrity of the collagen and apatite
carbonate preserved in archaeological bone. The simplest and least expensive methods
for testing the purity of collagen are by determining the atomic C:N ratio of the sample


65
ancestors, the Suazey were slash and bum horticulturalists who relied heavily on manioc
supplemented by hunting and fishing, and particularly turtling as evidenced by the
abundance of turtle remains found at the Macabou and Anse Trabaud sites on Martinique
(Allaire 1991:718). The settlements are usually located along mangroves where mollusks
are abundant and near coral reefs (Allaire 1997a). Suazey ceramics are often considered
the most poorly made ceramics in the West Indies. Most vessels are bulky with little
decoration except finger indention along the rim and exterior scratched surfaces. A small
percentage of Suazey ceramics are better made, being thinner with red paint or incising.
Flat-faced human-looking adornos are characteristic of the Suazoid series (Allaire
1997a). The reason for the decline of the Suazey prior to A.D. 1450 (Rouse and Allaire
1978) and their extinction is not well understood, but it is probably due to conflict or
competition with the Island Carib.
Island Carib
A major debate in West Indian archaeology concerns the relationship between the
Suazey and the Island Carib. Whether these two groups co-existed in the islands or the
Island Caribs moved into a niche vacated by the Suazey or even replaced the Suazey by
force will have to await more research. A lack of continuity in the material assemblage
and differences in settlement patterns have led Allaire (1991, 1997a) to conclude that
they are two separate peoples. Suazey were descendents of the earliest ceramic
immigrants while the Island Carib were a late prehistoric migration into the Windward
Islands from South America.
Europeans who encountered the Island Carib in the Windward Islands noted
differences between these peoples and the Taino of the Greater Antilles and Bahamas.


263
Clerc, E.
1968 Sites Precolumbiens de la Grande-Terre de Guadeloupe. Paper presented at the
Proceedings of the Second International Congress for the Study of Pre-Columbian
Cultures of the Lesser Antilles, Barbados.
Clutton-Brock, J. and N. Noe-Nygaard
1990 New Osteological and C-Isotope Evidence on Mesolithic Dogs: Companions
to Hunters and Fishers at Star Carr, Seamer Carr and Kongemose. Journal of
Archaeological Science 17:643-653.
Cooper, V. O.
1997 Language and Gender among the Kalinago of Fifteenth-Century St. Croix. In
The Indigenous People of the Caribbean, edited by S. M. Wilson, pp. 186-196.
The Ripley P. Bullen Series. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
Coppa, A., A. Cucina, B. Chiarelli, F. Luna Calderon and D. Mancinelli
1995 Dental Anthropology and Paleodemography of the Precolumbian Populations
of Hispaniola from the Third Millennium B.C. to the Spanish Conquest. Human
Evolution 10(2): 153-167.
Coppier, G.
1645 Histoire et Voyage des Indes Occidentales et de Plusieurs autres Regions
Maritimes et Eloignees. dEtain Cress for Jean Huguetan, Lyon.
Correll, D.S. and H.B. Correll
1982 Flora of the Bahamas Archipelago. J. Cramer, Vaduz, Liechtenstein.
Craig, H.
The Geochemistry of the Stable Carbon Isotopes. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
3:53-92.
1957 Isotopic Standards for Carbon and Oxygen and Correction Factors for Mass-
spectrometric Analysis of Carbon Dioxide. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
12:133-149.
Crock, J., J. B. Petersen and N. Douglas
1995 Preceramic Anguilla: A View from the Whitehead's Bluff Site. In Proceedings
of the Fifteenth International Congress of Caribbean Archaeology, edited by R.
E. Alegra and M. Rodrigues, pp. 283-292. Asociacin Internacional de
Arqueologa del Caribe, Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el
Caribe, Puerto Rico.
Curet, L. A.
1992a House Structure and Cultural Change in the Caribbean: Three Case Studies
from Puerto Rico. Latin American Antiquity 3:160-174.


11
thus will not be addressed further in this thesis. The Bahamian archipelago extends from
Grand Bahama in the north to the Turks and Caicos Islands in the south. These low
limestone islands have extensive reef systems but a depauperate terrestrial flora and
fauna. To the east of Puerto Rico begin the Lesser Antilles; the Leeward islands include
those from the Virgin Islands to Montserrat, whereas the Windward islands extend from
Guadeloupe south to Grenada. Trinidad and Tobago and the ABC islands (Aruba,
Bonaire and Curacao) lie just off the South American coast and have a distinctive biota
and somewhat related cultural history.
Paleozoic and Mesozoic reconstructions of possible island configurations in the
Caribbean region are largely hypothetical and have little to do with the modem
distribution of organisms on these islands. Thus most of this discussion of West Indian
geology will center upon the Cenozoic (past 65 million years), during which island
formation occurred. West Indian islands were formed by the movement of four plates:
North American, South American, Caribbean and Cocos. The Caribbean plate is moving
east relative to the North and South American plates at a rate of 1 to 2 centimeters per
year (Mann et al. 1990:333). The islands have been formed by a combination of
subduction and strike-slip faulting that caused volcanic action and uplift. Westward
movement of the North and South American plates during the late Mesozoic allowed a
piece of the Pacific plate to enter the Atlantic and form the Caribbean plate (Sealey
1992:7-8). The Great Arc of the Caribbean split into three segments as it migrated from
the Pacific Ocean into the Atlantic. One segment collided with Yucatan (a minor crustal
block or plate at that time located in the Gulf of Mexico), and then with an area of
sediment laid down in shallow seas that became the Florida-Bahama-Cuba platform. A


40
Archaic and ceramic periods, follow a similar pattern (Haviser 1991a, 1991b). These
analyses from Antigua and Bonaire provide additional data for the settlement model that
Irving Rouse has proposed for years (Rouse 1986, 1992).
Much of what we know about prehistoric subsistence has come from the
zooarchaeological and archaeobotanical studies of sites throughout the West Indies by
Elizabeth Wing and her students. Wing sees a temporal trend with the earliest ceramic-
groups exploiting more terrestrial resources than later in prehistory, when more marine
resources were used. She suggests that immigrants [from the neotropical mainland]
attempted to duplicate their traditional customs and foodways as closely as possible
(Wing 1989:144). Newsom (1993) reiterates this pattern of replicating mainland
subsistence habits in her archaeobotanical data. In the Lesser Antilles during preceramic
times, one-third of the faunal material (represented as minimum number of individuals,
MNI) came from terrestrial animals, during the Saladoid period approximately 38% of
the MNI were from terrestrial animals, and in the post-Saladoid period one-fifth was
terrestrial (Wing 1989). In the Greater Antilles, more than one third of the diet overall
was terrestrial and in the Bahamas, less than 20% was terrestrial. In spite of this general
pattern, Wing found specific situations where people ate whatever resources were closest
to their site. For example, sites located near extended reefs have primarily bones of
herbivorous and omnivorous fishes, sites located near patch reefs have mostly bones of
carnivorous fishes, and sites on high volcanic islands with narrow shelves have a higher
percentage of bones from pelagic fishes. An alternative explanation for this shift from
relatively more carnivorous fishes to relatively more herbivorous fishes in the diet is that
the carnivores were overexploited leading to increasing dependence on herbivores (Wing,


Table 10. 8I3C and 5I5N values of the edible portions of plants potentially included in the diet of the prehistoric West Indians.
Species Name
Common Name
Habitat
Locality
FL#
515N
S13C
Adjusted
513C(+1.5)
Zea mays
com
cultigen
Grand Turk
1
1.86
-10.97
-9.47
Zea mays
com
cultigen
Grand Turk
3
2.18
-10.29
-8.79
Zea mays
com
cultigen
Grand Turk
4
0.91
-11.81
-10.31
Manihot esculenta
manioc
cultigen
Middle Caicos
5
6.05
-27.18
-25.68
Manihot esculenta
manioc
cultigen
Middle Caicos
6
3.14
-25.89
-24.39
Manihot esculenta
manioc
cultigen
Middle Caicos
7
1.86
-27.11
-25.61
Manihot esculenta
manioc
cultigen
Middle Caicos
8
2.95
-27.45
-25.95
Manihot esculenta
manioc
cultigen
Middle Caicos
9
2.95
-25.99
-24.49
Coccoloba uvifera
sea grape
coastal strand
Grand Turk
10
2.23
-23.36
-21.86
Coccoloba uvifera
sea grape
coastal strand
Grand Turk
11
2.06
-23.65
-22.15
Opuntia sp.
prickly pear
inland/coastal strand
Grand Turk
12
6.79
-11.70
-10.20
Opuntia sp.
prickly pear
inland/coastal strand
Grand Turk
13
6.06
-12.10
-10.60
Opuntia sp.
prickly pear
inland/coastal strand
Grand Turk
14
6.92
-12.19
-10.69
Chrysobalanus icaco
cocoplum
inland/coastal strand
Grand Turk
17
4.78
-28.39
-26.89
Chrysobalanus icaco
cocoplum
inland/coastal strand
Grand Turk
18
4.43
-27.20
-25.70
Manilkara pleeana
zapote de costa
coastal scrub
Middle Caicos
20
7.83
-27.10
-25.60
Manilkara pleeana
zapote de costa
coastal scrub
Middle Caicos
21
6.36
-26.45
-24.95
Ficus laevigata
fig
coastal scrub
Middle Caicos
22
5.04
-27.97
-26.47
Ficus laevigata
fig
coastal scrub
Middle Caicos
23
3.92
-27.66
-26.16
Ficus cf. obtusifolia
fig
coastal scrub
Middle Caicos
24
1.99
-25.07
-23.57
Ficus cf. obtusifolia
fig
coastal scrub
Middle Caicos
25
5.37
-25.19
-23.69
Tabebuia sp.
white cedar
coastal scrub
Middle Caicos
26
5.51
-24.10
-22.60
Tabebuia sp.
white cedar
coastal scrub
Middle Caicos
27
5.38
-22.58
-21.08


245
Table 19. Statistical difference (two-tailed t-test) between the source of carbon and
nitrogen in the diet of Saladoid vs. Ostionoid groups.
Variable
Carbon
Nitrogen
N
Mean
SD
N
Mean
SD
Ostionoid/Post
-Saladoid
96
-16.37
2.08
96
7.51
1.15
Saladoid
7
-15.94
1.76
7
8.79
1.20
t=0.54
df=l 01
p=.59
t=2.82
df=101
p=.006
In order to determine whether island size or another biogeographic variable could
be masking temporal change in diet, I further divided the temporal periods between the
Greater and the Lesser Antilles. The Saladoid cultural period is divided among Greater
Antillean Saladoid sites and Lesser Antillean Saladoid sites. The Saladoid/Ostionoid
transition samples are all from Puerto Rico in the Greater Antilles. The period following
the Saladoid period is divided between the Ostionoid cultures in the Greater Antilles and
the post-Saladoid cultures in the Lesser Antilles (both post A.D. 600).
The Ostionoid group is quite variable ranging from marine to terrestrial sources of
protein, and high to low trophic levels (Figure 70). The post-Saladoid group clusters
toward the more marine end of the scale as I would expect since post-Saladoid sites are in
the Lesser Antilles where fewer terrestrial animals were available. Maize may also be
pulling some of the values toward the less negative end of the scale as discussed during
the individual site results. The 515N values of the post-Saladoid groups are generally in
the range of reef fishes. The Saladoid/Ostionoid transition samples show much
variability in the 813C collagen values but since there are only two samples, this is not
significant.


231
population or between males and females or adults and children. From the data, it does
not appear that C4 plants contributed to the diet. The 513C collagen and apatite values for
the Tutu study are similar to those I found for the Saba and St. Martin populations. This
seems reasonable since Tutu is an inland site on a volcanic island.
Biogeographic Variables
As discussed in the biogeography theory section of this thesis, physical
characteristics of islands will affect the types of flora and fauna that occur on an island.
In this section I will examine how human diets in the West Indies may have been
influenced by island size (large vs. small), island geology (limestone vs. volcanic), island
isolation, and the location of archaeological sites on islands (inland sites vs. coastal sites).
Marine resources are not confined to any particular island, although limestone islands
will, in general, have more extensive reef systems than volcanic islands, whereas
volcanic islands may be surrounded by deeper water and thus have more pelagic species
available in close proximity. The source of the protein in the diet (8 C and 8 N
collagen values) will be compared first followed by the source of the whole diet (SI3C
apatite values plotted against 815N collagen values). Since all groups analyzed in this
study were horticulturalists, I expect to find less clustering in diet values when examining
the whole diet (apatite values) than with the protein source (collagen values).


239
Figure 65. Relationship between the source of protein in the diet and the degree of
isolation from a continental source area.
There is, however, a clearly positive correlation between the distance an island is
from the closest Greater Antillean island and the amount of marine protein in the diet
(Figure 66). The Greater Antillean islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico (distance=0)
have the greatest amount of terrestrial protein in the diet. As you move away from the
Greater Antilles, terrestrial protein declines and marine protein becomes more prevalent
in the diet.


33
Flightless rails have been described from middens in the Virgin Islands
(Nesotrochis debooyi, Wetmore 1918) and Puerto Rico (Olson 1982), in Cuba
(Nesotrochis sp., Olson 1974) and Haiti (Nesotrochis steganinos, Olson 1974). A near
flightless rail still survives in Cuba (Olson 1982).
Bones of pigeons (Columba leucocephala, C. squamosa, Columba sp.) and doves
(Zenaida aurita, Columbina passerina, Geotrygon montana, G. mystacea) are often the
most common avian components in West Indian zooarchaeological assemblages.
Pigeons and doves have been found on archaeological sites in Antigua (Steadman et al.
1984a), Montserrat (Steadman et al. 1984b), Marie Galante, Martinique (Fraser 1981), St.
Eustatius (van der Klift 1985), Vieques (Narganes Storde 1982 cited in Wing 1989), and
elsewhere. Bones of parrots (Amazona spp.) also have been found throughout the West
Indies from the Windward Islands through the Greater Antilles and Bahamas. Some of
these species may have been transported between islands by humans. Bones of passerine
birds, especially thrashers (Mimidae), have also been recovered from a number of sites in
the Lesser Antilles (Pregill et al. 1994). Like most West Indian species of pigeons,
thrashers eat primarily fruit (Raffaele et al. 1998) and therefore have sweet meat.
Bam owls (Tyto spp.) underwent a considerable evolutionary radiation throughout
the West Indies, including species smaller than the widespread T. alba and many other
species much larger than any extant bam owls (Olson 1978:105; Steadman and
Hilgartner, in press). These owls, which fed primarily on large rodents and, at least in
Cuba and Hispaniola, ground sloths (Olson 1978), would have provided an easy food
source for humans although none has been found in cultural deposits. They probably
became extinct because of the extinction of their preferred prey species.


The 8i5N values for this population are surprisingly low, especially the one
individual that falls around 4%o. Some combination of reef fishes, mollusks, ground
dwelling birds and C4 grasses (maize) probably were responsible for such low 815N
values.
Figure 24. 815N values from human bone collagen versus 813C values from human bone
apatite, Manigat Cave, La Tortue.
The 813C apatite values are pulled slightly toward the more negative end of the
scale (Figure 24). If C3 plants constitute a substantial part of the diet, then we would
expect the apatite values to be more negative. That both the collagen and apatite values
are at the less negative end of the scale may be due to the contribution of C4 plants such a
maize, which have some protein and a lot of energy.
The mean collagen and apatite values (Figure 25) show that most protein in the
diet was derived from marine sources rather than terrestrial animals. The slightly more
negative apatite than collagen values illustrate that C3 plants were part of the diet, but that
C4 plants also were included.


193
values for Eleuthera, Crooked Island, and Long Island are in the range of carnivorous reef
fishes, marine birds, and maize although the apatite values (Figure 36) give no indication
that maize was part of the diet.
IS i o
Figure 36. 8 N values from human bone collagen versus 5 C values from human bone
apatite, Bahamian sites.
The bone apatite values indicate that although dietary protein was mainly marine,
C3 plants such as manioc or housegarden species made up a substantial component of the
diet. The individual from Abaco has a much more negative signature than the others.
This could mean a larger contribution of C3 plant foods to the diet, or that the C3 plants
eaten by this individual have a more negative isotopic signature.
The summary graph of the collagen and apatite values (Figure 37) shows the
difference between the source of protein in the diet and the source of both protein and
energy in the whole diet. That the protein (collagen) portion is substantially less negative
than the whole diet indicates extreme reliance on marine animal protein and a whole diet
based on C3 plants.


222
vertebrate fauna were terrestrial species, mostly rice rats and birds. The 813C collagen
data indicate that the protein portion of the diet was strongly oriented toward marine
species. Due to the relatively high 815N values, mollusks were not prevalent in the diet.
The apatite to collagen spacing suggest a diet based either on marine protein and maize or
terrestrial protein and C3 plants. Given the collagen values, I interpret the data to indicate
a diet based on a mixture of protein and energy from C3 and marine/C4 resources but
primarily marine protein and C4 energy. The isotope data support the zooarchaeological
analysis.
Isotope Values as Indicators of C4 Plant Use
In the previous section, I touched briefly on the subject of whether the isotope
values indicate that maize was included in the diet at the different sites. In this section, I
will review the 813C apatite values and the apatite to collagen spacing as it can be used to
propose that maize or other C4 plants, such as other tropical grasses, were in the diet.
Maize is ca. 10% protein (Schober and Ambrose 1995) which means that the 813C
signatures of collagen may be reflecting not only animal products but also some of the
maize protein. Because of this, less negative S13C values that fall in the marine protein
range may also be tracking maize protein. This does complicate diet interpretation, but
using apatite and the apatite to collagen spacing, it is possible to speculate on the
incorporation of maize.
The only unequivocal evidence of maize from the sites I sampled is from Puerto
Rico. At Paso del Indio, the inland site, the apatite values are either less negative or only


189
ir o # #
Figure 31.8 N versus 8 C values for human bone collagen, Maisabel, Puerto Rico.
Figure 32. S15N values from human bone collagen versus 8I3C values from human bone
apatite, Maisabel, Puerto Rico.
The apatite values at Maisabel fall between the values for C3 and C4 whole diets
(Figure 32). Considering that plants undoubtedly made up a large part of the prehistoric
horticulturalists diets, if C3 plants were the major source of energy, I would expect the


29
Brotomys contractus, may have become extinct in the late Pleistocene although Brotomys
voratus_survived into the historic period. Three species of Echimyidae are known from
Puerto Rico but only Heteropsomys insulans is recorded since human colonization of the
islands (Morgan and Woods 1986). Heptaxodontids, another family of caviomorph
rodents, are found only as fossils in Hispaniola and Jamaica in the Greater Antilles, and
Anguilla and St. Martin in the Lesser Antilles. Among the many taxa of heptaxodontids,
Quemisia gravis from Hispaniola has been recovered from one archaeological site in
Haiti (Miller 1929).
The largest reptiles in the West Indies are two species of crocodiles from the
Greater Antilles. Crocodylus rhombifer inhabits freshwater marshes in Cuba and the Isle
of Pines but is known prehistorically from the Cayman Islands and Bahamas (Franz et al.
1995, 1996; Morgan et al. 1993). A second species, Crocodylus acutus, is found today in
brackish water in Cuba, Jamaica and parts of Hispaniola (Pregill 1982:15). Large
terrestrial iguanas of the genus Cyclura occur locally in the Greater Antilles and Bahamas
today but were much more widespread prehistorically (Pregill 1981b). Various species
of extinct tortoises, all undescribed or poorly described, are known from the Greater
Antilles and Bahamas. Most of these tortoises are not known from cultural contexts but it
is reasonable to presume that people caused their extinction.
Jamaica is more isolated than the three other major islands in the Greater Antilles
and therefore has relatively high levels of endemism in many groups of organisms
including land crabs (Schubart et al. 1998), frogs (Hedges 1989), anoles (Hedges and
Burnell 1990), birds (Raffaele et al. 1998), and mammals (Woods 1989). Unlike the
other Greater Antillean islands, Jamaica has no record of insectivores or ground sloths.


Figure 1. Map of the West Indies
O


A BIOGEOGRAPHIC SURVEY OF PREHISTORIC HUMAN DIET IN THE WEST
INDIES USING STABLE ISOTOPES
By
ANNE VAUGHN STOKES
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1998


149
Preparation of Bone Apatite Carbonate
Bone apatite was prepared using the >0.25 mm crushed bone powder. Centrifuge
tubes (50 ml) were labeled directly with the sample number. The weight of the empty
tube was recorded in the lab book. Between 0.8g and l.Og of bone powder was placed in
the bottom of the centrifuge tube and the weight of the tube and bone was recorded in the
lab book. The tube was placed on a vortexer and a solution of 1.5% sodium hypochlorite
(50% Clorox and 50% distilled water) was added to the tube to remove organic matter.
The tube was removed from the vortexer once the sample was well mixed with the
solution and the 50% Clorox solution was added to within 2 cm of the top of the tube.
The samples were left to react in racks under a fume hood. The 50% Clorox solution was
separated from the bone by spinning the tubes in a centrifuge at 800 RPM for five
minutes. The 50% Clorox solution was then decanted and replaced with fresh solution
two to three times a day until the solution stopped bubbling. At this point, the sample
was rinsed to neutral with distilled water and 1.0 M acetic acid was then added to the
samples with the same procedure as was used for the Clorox solution. The acetic acid
removed inorganic carbon and nonstructural biological carbonates but not the apatite
carbonate. The 1.0 M acetic acid was replaced two to three times a day until bubbling
stopped. The sample was again rinsed to neutral with distilled water. The tubes were
covered with foil, frozen and then placed in the freeze dryer for at least 48 hours. After
removal from the freeze dryer, the sample was weighed in its tube so that the percentage
yield of apatite could be calculated.
All glassware and mortar and pestles used in the extraction of collagen and apatite
were cleaned after each use with Alconox, rinsed thoroughly, then submerged in


Table 9. 8I3C and 8,:>N collagen values of prehistoric animal bones recovered from archaeological sites in the West Indies.
15
Species
Common
Name
Class
Habitat
Feeding
Guild
Site
AF
#
Yield
Col
%N/wt
%C/wt
C:N
5'5Nco1
Adjusted
515NCo1
S13Ccoi
Adjusted
5,3Ccol
Carcharhinus sp.
requiem
shark
F
R
C
GT
12
3.22%
10.25%
31.13%
3.52
7.93
9.63
-4.24
-7.94
Elopidae
tarpon
F
N
C
KR
42
3.24%
9.30%
28.74%
3.58
3.43
5.13
-11.36
-15.06
Albula vulpes
Bonefish
F
N
C
GT
13
4.15%
10.84%
33.22%
3.55
4.43
6.13
-5.71
-9.41
Epinephelus
guttatus
Red Hind
F
R
C
MB
23
7.82%
14.20%
42.15%
3.44
6.54
8.24
-9.12
-12.82
Epinephelus sp.
grouper
F
R
C
P
34
4.61%
11.54%
33.46%
3.36
5.95
7.65
-10.31
-14.01
Epinephelus sp.
grouper
F
R
C
SB
53
1.50%
9.86%
28.49%
3.35
5.49
7.19
-9.30
-13.00
Epinephelus sp.
grouper
F
R
C
GT
9
6.39%
13.65%
38.40%
3.26
6.91
8.61
-6.79
-10.49
Mycteroperca sp.
grouper
F
R
C
MB
15
3.83%
13.43%
38.45%
3.32
6.85
8.55
-7.85
-11.55
Serranidae
sea bass
F
R
C
KR
37
3.06%
6.42%
18.75%
3.39
5.76
7.46
-9.76
-13.46
Caranx cf. hippos
Crevalle
Jack
F
N
C
MB
17
11.34%
15.33%
43.17%
3.27
6.77
8.47
-7.50
-11.20
Caranx sp.
jack
F
N
C
SB
50
3.97%
8.67%
25.83%
3.46
4.83
6.53
-10.21
-13.91
Lutjanus sp.
snapper
F
R
C
GT
2
4.04%
12.58%
36.29%
3.35
5.86
7.56
-5.04
-8.74
Lutjanus sp.
snapper
F
R
C
MB
14
3.03%
13.69%
40.11%
3.40
8.33
10.03
-6.40
-10.10
Haemulon sciuris
Bluestriped
Grunt
F
R
C
MB
20
8.14%
14.09%
40.73%
3.35
4.78
6.48
-4.33
-8.03
Haemulon sp.
grunt
F
R
C
GT
11
3.89%
11.67%
33.72%
3.35
3.52
5.22
-5.29
-8.99
Calamus sp.
porgy
F
R
C
MB
16
6.90%
13.54%
39.00%
3.34
5.77
7.47
-5.42
-9.12
Scarus sp.
parrotfish
F
R
H
GT
1
3.66%
11.63%
33.16%
3.31
5.23
6.93
-5.80
-9.50
Scarus sp.
parrotfish
F
R
H
MB
22
7.63%
14.39%
41.06%
3.31
4.73
6.43
-9.12
-12.82


232
Island Size
Is there a difference in the diet of humans living on large islands versus the diet of
people living on small islands? Large islands are defined as the Greater Antilles and
small islands are defined as the Lesser Antilles, the Bahamas and the small island of La
Tortue off northwestern Hispaniola.
The Greater Antilles have a more diverse flora and fauna than the Lesser Antilles,
the Bahamas, or the small islands interspersed among the four major Greater Antillean
islands. This is due in part to the size of the islands, and is related as well to the older
ages of the Greater Antilles, which has allowed more time for colonization and in situ
evolution of species.
To examine how diet differs with island size, I compared the human collagen
values of large islands to small islands to see if there were differences in exploitation of
marine vs. terrestrial habitats. I also compared the human apatite values to island size to
examine the source of the whole diet. The data grouped in the large island category are
from sites in Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. Data in the small island category are from
the Bahamian islands, La Tortue, Anguilla, St. Martin, Saba, Guadeloupe and La
Dsirade. From the graph below (Figure 61), it is clear that prehistoric West Indians
living on large islands relied much more heavily on terrestrial protein sources than
individuals living on small islands.


51
Aceramic Period (4000 B.C. to 400 B.C.-)
During the aceramic period, two cultural groups inhabited the West Indies (Rouse
1992). The Lithic culture, called the Casimiran Casimiroid group (4000-2000 B.C.) is
known only in Cuba and Hispaniola. The only material culture recovered from Lithic
sites is flaked stone tools. The Lithic culture of these two islands developed in situ into
the Archaic culture (Redondan Casimiroid in Cuba and the Courian Casimiroid in
Hispaniola) in situ by about 2000 B.C. with the addition of ground stone tools, bone tools
and shell tools. In the Lesser Antilles, the Archaic period begins around 2500 B.C. with
the migration of a separate cultural group (Ortoiroid) from South America who, like the
Archaic groups in the Greater Antilles, manufactured tools of ground stone, flaked stone,
shell and bone.
The distinction between the Lithic and Archaic cultures of the West Indies is
vague. The origin, subsistence base and migration patterns of the peoples who produced
the material culture are not well understood. Rouse (1992) distinguishes the Lithic from
the Archaic based on differences in the types of tools found on the sites. Equally
plausible explanations for the variation in tool types at aceramic sites would be that they
result from differential access to resources such as chert and shell, differences in
subsistence base related to habitat proximity to the site, technological changes in
procuring resources, or restricted access to certain resources based on competition
between groups. These theories need to be explored through new research.


Table 8 Continued
SITE
PROVE
NIENCE
LAB#
BONE
AGE
SEX
%N/wt
%C/wt
C:N
515Ncoi
Diet
6l5NCoi
513CcoI
c 13p
'-'apa
AS13
c
v-'apa-
col
Diet
'-'apa
Yield
Col.
Yield
Apa.
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5023
AS 111
r. humerus
unk
unk
11.05
32.58
3.42
9.08
6.58
-15.94
-8.88
7.06
-18.38
3.91
61.32
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5039
AS 112
r. humerus
unk
unk
11.55
34.56
3.47
9.33
6.83
-15.44
-9.43
6.01
-18.93
4.60
61.95
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5044
AS 113
r. humerus
unk
unk
12.45
36.88
3.44
8.58
6.08
-16.87
-9.21
7.66
-18.71
6.49
58.11
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5049
AS 114
r. humerus
unk
unk
12.57
37.91
3.50
9.75
7.25
-17.65
-9.18
8.47
-18.68
6.59
49.15
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5053
AS 115
r. humerus
unk
unk
9.14
28.18
3.58
8.53
6.03
-16.68
-10.39
6.29
-19.89
2.21
64.20
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5054
AS 116
r. humerus
unk
unk
11.88
36.14
3.53
8.97
6.47
-17.39
-11.62
5.77
-21.12
3.36
61.55
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5059
AS 118
r. humerus
unk
unk
13.97
39.39
3.27
9.10
6.60
-17.60
-9.20
8.40
-18.70
10.17
50.83
Manigat Cave, La
Tortue
5062
AS 119
r. humerus
unk
unk
11.71
33.25
3.29
8.37
5.87
-16.75
-9.50
7.25
-19.00
3.36
53.88
Paso del Indio, P.R.
P7W, U5, B2
AS 25
ribs/femur
adult
female
13.77
39.24
3.31
9.00
6.50
-19.55
-7.92
11.63
-17.42
9.26
11.76
Paso del Indio, P.R.
P7, impact,
BD
AS 26
tibia
adult
male
9.03
25.69
3.30
9.38
6.88
-19.22
-9.59
9.63
-19.09
3.83
21.70
Paso del Indio, P.R.
P8S, U3, B2
AS 27
femur
infant
unk
11.34
32.66
3.34
9.41
6.91
-19.75
-9.10
10.65
-18.60
4.42
19.64
Paso del Indio, P.R.
P8N, U12, B5
AS 28
femur
infant
unk
10.55
30.42
3.34
9.93
7.43
-19.55
-11.13
8.42
-20.63
5.50
24.46
Paso del Indio, P.R.
P7W, U5,B1
AS 29
femur
infant
unk
12.35
35.44
3.33
9.92
7.42
-19.74
-8.81
10.93
-18.31
6.22
14.70
Paso del Indio, P.R.
P7,T1,B4
AS 30
tibia
adult
female
10.46
29.40
3.26
8.70
6.20
-18.56
-7.92
10.64
-17.42
3.50
20.09
Paso del Indio, P.R.
P6,T1,B1
AS 31
ribs
adult
female
13.39
38.36
3.32
8.98
6.48
-19.45
-12.61
6.84
-22.11
8.59
12.54
Paso del Indio, P.R.
P8I, Ul, B2
AS 32
ribs
adult
male
11.95
33.98
3.30
8.50
6.00
-19.34
-11.22
8.12
-20.72
6.11
26.06
Paso del Indio, P.R.
P7W, U3, B2
AS 33
humerus
adult
female
9.41
36.61
3.28
8.43
5.93
-19.73
-9.60
10.13
-19.10
3.28
26.44
Paso del Indio, P.R.
P7W, U5, B5
AS 124
tibia
infant
unk
13.40
37.67
3.26
9.12
6.62
-19.50
-10.77
8.73
-20.27
7.52
38.05
Paso del Indio, P.R.
P7W, U2, B4
AS 55
tibia
infant
unk
12.16
34.04
3.25
10.79
8.29
-19.30
-9.70
9.60
-19.20
3.60
60.88


264
1992b The Development of Chiefdoms in the Greater Antilles: A Regional Study of
the Valley of Maunabo, Puerto Rico. Ph.D. Dissertation, Arizona State University.
University Microfilms, Ann Arbor.
Davis, D. D.
1974 Some Notes Concerning the Archaic Occupation of Antigua. Paper presented at
the Proceedings of the Fifth International Congress for the Study of Pre-
Columbian Cultures of the Lesser Antilles, Antigua.
1982 Archaic Settlement and Resource Exploitation in the Lesser Antilles:
Preliminary Information from Antigua. Caribbean Journal of Science 17(1-
4): 107-122.
1988 Coastal Biogeography and Human Subsistence: Examples from the West
Indies. Archaeology of Eastern North America 16:177-185.
1995 Jolly Beach and the Preceramic Occupation of Antigua, West Indies.
Unpublished manuscript, University of Southern Maine.
Davis, R. A., Jr., S. C. Knowles and M. J. Bland
1989 Role of Hurricanes in the Holocene Stratigraphy of Estuaries: Examples from
the Gulf Coast of Florida. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 59(6): 1052-1061.
deFrance, S.
1988 Zooarchaeological Investigations of Subsistence Strategies at the Maisabel Site,
Puerto Rico. Masters Thesis, University of Florida.
1989 Saladoid and Ostionoid Subsistence Adaptations: Zooarchaeological Data from
a Coastal Occupation on Puerto Rico. In Early Ceramic Population Lifeways and
Adaptive Strategies in the Caribbean, edited by P. E. Siegel, pp. 57-77. BAR
International Series 506. Oxford University, Oxford.
1991 Zooarchaeological Research on Lucayan Taino Subsistence: Crooked Island,
Bahamas. Report on file, Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville.
Delpuech, A., C. Hofman and M. Hoogland
1995 Saint Francois, Anse la Gourde. In Bilan Scientifique de la Region
Guadeloupe, pp. 26-217. Direction Regionale des Affaires Culturelles Service
Regional de L'Archeologie, Guadeloupe.
Delwiche, C. C., P. J. Zinke, C. M. Johnson and R. A. Virginia
1979 Nitrogen Isotope Distribution as a Presumptive Indicator of Nitrogen Fixation.
Botanical Gazette 140:65-69.


129
in or recovered from the particular environment being examined. In doing so, it is
possible to learn the exceptions to the rules in each particular environment, and thereby
interpret the paleodiet more accurately.
The Debate Between the Use of Bone Collagen or Apatite for Dietary Reconstruction
Bone contains three phases: organic (collagen), apatite carbonate, and normal
carbonate (Sullivan and Krueger 1981). The organic phase consists primarily of
collagen, a complex polypeptide (protein) that accounts for approximately 10-20% of the
weight of fresh bone. Minor components of the organic phase of bone consist of other
proteins, lipids, and peptides (Stafford 1990). The majority of the carbon found in bone
is organic carbon in the collagen. Hydroxyapatite [Ca5(P04)3(0H)j is usually referred to
merely as apatite (Hurlbut and Klein 1977). It represents between 80 and 90% by
weight of bone. The hydroxapatite in bone contains a small but variable amount of
carbon as carbonate that replaces the phosphate in the apatite, yielding carbonate
hydroxyapatite (dahllite) with the chemical formula Caio(C03)9(OH)2. The third and
smallest phase of bone is the normal (non-apatite) carbonate that is inorganic in nature
and is removed by acid during sample processing (Sullivan and Krueger 1981).
When attempting dietary reconstruction from prehistoric human bone, there are
two separate issues that must be addressed. The first is to determine the fractionation
factor between the isotopic signature of the diet of the individual and the signature of the
constituent of bone being analyzed to interpret the diet. As I will discuss below, there is
disagreement on how dietary items are metabolized in the separate phases of bone. This


23
Archaic period that were introduced to the West Indies from Mexico or Central America:
wild avocado {Persea americana), yellow sapote {Pouteria campechiana), sapodilla
(Manilkara [zapota] sp.), and primrose {Oenothera sp.) (Newsom 1993; Rouse and
Alegra 1990). Other plants recovered in Archaic sites suggest that certain native plants
may have been tended such as mastic bully {Mastichodendron foetidissimum), bullet-
wood {Manilkara sp.) and Palmae, all of which produce fruits. These two plants, along
with primrose and trianthema, were probably used for food and medicine (Newsom
1993). Twelve taxa of trees have been identified from preceramic sites, particularly
Krum Bay including cedar {Tabebeuia sp.), willow {Capparis sp.), pepper bush {Croton
sp.), cupey {Clusia_sp.), acacia (Fabaceae), wild fig {Ficus sp.), buttonwood and white
mangrove, representing trees from semi-evergreen woodlands, dry deciduous and coastal
wetland environments (Pearsall 1989). Most of these trees would have been used for
construction and fuel wood. In addition to botanical evidence for plant use, artifacts
recovered from preceramic sites point to the collection, if not tending, of grasses. Manos
and metates, for example, are common in such sites (Harris 1973; Moore 1982; Rouse
1982; 1992). Newsom (1993) cautions, however, that this suggests only that these plants
were being gathered, not that domestication occurred.
More extensive archaeobotanical data are available for the ceramic-period sites.
Presumably, the Saladoid immigrants would have continued to use the plants introduced
by the Lithic and Archaic groups, as well as exploit and/or cultivate additional species.
Botanical remains recovered from Saladoid period sites in the Greater Antilles are from
the Bully-tree/jacana {Pouteria sp.), guaba {Inga sp.), Palmae, and papaya {Carica
papaya), all taxa that can be grown in housegardens to produce fruit. Other plants used


124
The same technique was applied to nitrogen values in food webs. Nitrogen was
recognized as a potential dietary indicator by DeNiro and Epstein (1981) using animals
raised on known diets in the laboratory. Their research was based upon the knowledge
that the 8I5N value was enriched several parts per mil in each successive trophic level
from phytoplankton with a 815N value of around 7%o to zooplankton with a value of 10%o
to fishes with a value of 15%o (Miyake and Wada 1967; Wada and Hattori 1976). Like
the carbon study, they suggested that when dietary items had different ratios of I5N/14N
they could be used to reconstruct diet. Plants that fix nitrogen, such as legumes that form
a symbiosis with blue-green algae, would have very low the 815N values, whereas those
that do not fix nitrogen would have higher values and the animals feeding on those plants
even higher values. DeNiro and Epstein (1981) applied this knowledge of carbon and
nitrogen isotopic values as indicators of diet to a prehistoric population in the Tehuacan
Valley (Mexico), and found that the use of maize increased through time as evidenced by
less negative 813C values and that legume use increased as well, as indicated by lower the
815N values. These results did not point to the same paleodiet as that suggested by
zooarchaeological studies from the same site, which led DeNiro and Epstein to propose
that isotopic analyses yield more accurate reconstructions of paleodiet than
zooarchaeological analyses.
Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopes
The early research into isotopic values of plants and animals elucidated that
certain food groups differ predictably in their carbon and nitrogen stable isotope values


77
The sites from which I have human skeletal samples for isotope analysis all date
to the ceramic period. The human bone from one Lithic period site that I analyzed,
Cueva Roja in the Dominican Republic, did not have adequate collagen remaining in the
bone. Site descriptions are contained in the next chapter.


CHAPTER 6
SAMPLES FOR STABLE ISOTOPE ANALYSIS RATIONALE AND PREPARATION
In order to interpret prehistoric human diet using isotopes, one must generate
isotopic data on human remains as well as on potential or real food items. Thus, it is first
necessary to determine which plants and animals may have been included in the diet.
This can be accomplished by identifying the zooarchaeological and archaeobotanical
remains from the archaeological site or by reviewing the paleontological and botanical
literature for plants and animals known to have lived on the islands prehistorically. Once
the possible diet items are compiled, it is necessary to determine the isotopic signatures
of plants and animals that would have been included in the diet. This is done by
analyzing collagen from faunal bone recovered from archaeological sites and by
determining the isotopic signatures of modem specimens of plants and animals that
would have been included in the diet.
I analyzed the carbon and nitrogen ratios of bone collagen from archaeological
fish, sea turtle and terrestrial animal bone from the Kelbeys Ridge and Spring Bay sites
on Saba, and the Pearls site on Grenada. Additional faunal material was analyzed from
sites on Antigua (Marmora Bay), Grand Turk (GT-3), and Grenada (Grand Anse).
Modem specimens were collected from the Turks and Caicos (marine fish, land and
marine crabs, various plants), Bahamas (terrestrial, aquatic, and marine birds), and Puerto
Rico (land snails).
145


59
(particularly the use of spirals), appliqued nubbins and zoomorphic lugs with holes for
attachments such as feathers (Haviser 1991c:653-654). A separate and larger midden on
the site with Saladoid-type ceramics dates from 325 B.C. to A.D. 460. Haviser
(1991c:655) suggests that the Early Ceramic group is a hybridization of the Archaic and
Ceramic developmental stages. The subsistence base seems to be much more terrestrially
oriented than during later ceramic periods. Sites of the Early Ceramic period have also
been reported from Puerto Rico that are thought to represent a hybridization of the Early
Ceramic peoples with the Saladoid, as explained below (Haviser 1991c:655).
Huecan Saladoid
Several sites have been identified that contain ZIC pottery but no evidence for
WOR decoration. On this basis it has been suggested that there was a pre-Saladoid
migration or a migration of peoples roughly contemporaneous with the Saladoid
migration that produced ZIC pottery (Chanlatte Baik and Narganes Storde 1984, 1989).
At the Sorc site in Vieques, for example, a component termed La Hueca contains
purely ZIC pottery along with elaborate lapidary artifacts such as bird head pendants
carved from exotic stones and elaborate ritual items such as containers for inhaling or
ingesting presumably halucinogenic substances. Another purely ZIC component has
been identified at Punta Candalero on the SE coast of Puerto Rico (Rodriguez 1989,
1997; Rodriguez and Rivera 1991). ZIC and WOR have been found in mixed
components at several sites in Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles (Alegria 1965;
Peterson and Watters 1995; Rodriguez 1989; Rodriguez and Rivera 1991; Roe 1989;
Rouse 1952). Although the radiocarbon dates reported for these sites are often
uncorrected and uncalibrated, my interpretation following Rodriguez (1989) is that there


Table 11. Continued
Species
Common Name
Class
Habitat
Feeding
Guild
Locality
MF#
515Nco1
813Ccol
Acmaeidae
limpet
C
I
D
H
60
0.33
-10.35
Mithrax spinosissimus
Spiny Crab
C
T
D
GT
1
4.50
-13.41
Cardisoma guanhumi
Blue Land Crab
C
T
D
GT
86
1.74
-19.42
Cardisoma guanhumi
Blue Land Crab
C
T
D
GT
87
5.78
-22.53
Cardisoma guanhumi
Blue Land Crab
C
T
D
GT
88
5.56
-22.33
Geocarcinus ruricola
C
T
D
MC
85
1.56
-13.24
Callinectes sp.
C
N
D
GT
89
3.84
-9.22
Callinectes sp.
C
N
D
GT
90
4.72
-18.03
Callinectes sp.
C
N
D
GT
91
6.53
-18.32
Tripneustes ventricosus
sea urchin
E
N
D
GT
2
0.67
-11.88
Ginglymostoma cirratum
Nurse Shark
F
R
C
GT
82
1.13
-11.52
Dasyatis americana
Southern Stingray
F
N
C
GT
80
4.81
-11.44
Harengula sp.
sardine
F
N
P
GT
17
3.59
-16.02
Harengula sp.
sardine
F
N
P
GT
18
4.28
-16.91
Harengula sp.
Hognose Sprat
F
N
P
GT
76
7.01
-12.80
Harengula sp.
Hognose Sprat
F
N
P
GT
77
3.20
-13.80
Harengula sp.
Common Sprat
F
N
P
GT
78
1.31
-14.67
Harengula sp.
Common Sprat
F
N
P
GT
79
5.43
-16.36
Snyodus intermedius
Sand Diver
F
R
C
GT
24
5.48
-12.09
Holocentrus rufus
Longspine Squirrelfish
F
R
C
GT
13
5.16
-12.91
Holocentrus sp.
squirrelfish
F
R
C
GT
61
6.42
-11.32
Dactylopterus vulitaus
Flying Gurnard
F
R
C
GT
81
5.93
-9.87
Epinephelus guttatus
Red Hind
F
R
C
GT
19
5.20
-12.30


123
from the plains region of the U.S. and suggested that it may be from soil carbonates or
alternatively resulted from that grass using a different photosynthetic pathway. The C4
pathway fixes carbon dioxide more efficiently than the C3 pathway in hot, arid
environments.
At the same time that the C4 photosynthetic pathway was being discovered,
archaeologists working in the Midwest recognized that radiocarbon dates (based on beta-
decay of 14C, a radioactive isotope of carbon) from com were consistently younger than
those from wood samples from the same provenience. From a site in Michigan, Hall
(1967) found that of eight samples submitted for radiocarbon dating, seven were
consistent with what was expected but one, from com, was several hundred years
younger. He found that the com date discrepancy followed a similar pattern in other sites
as well. Hall suggested that soil enriched in carbonates may be responsible for the
difference and recommended that a consistent fractionation factor be applied to correct
for the young com dates. Bender (1968) found a similar situation of l3C enrichment in
com. These studies showed that the 813C value for plants using a C3 pathway was around
-25 per mil while those using a C4 pathway was about -10%o.
Vogel and van der Merwe (1977) recognized that animals and humans eating
plants with C3 and C4 pathways would incorporate different isotopic values into bodily
tissues. To determine when maize entered the diet of prehistoric populations in New
York, they analyzed bone collagen from prehorticultural and horticultural groups and
found that the quantity of maize in the diet could be estimated by determining where the
§13C value fell on the scale between C3 and C4 plants (Vogel and van der Merwe 1977).


CHAPTER 7
RESULTS
I analyzed the isotopic ratios of 102 human skeletal samples from 13 islands in
the West Indies. Some of the sample sizes are small, but very little human skeletal
material has been recovered for most islands of the West Indies, and my data are based
on all material available for analysis. The raw data for the 513C values of human bone
collagen and apatite and the 8I5N values for human bone collagen are presented in Table
8. To test the integrity of the skeletal material, % carbon by weight and % nitrogen by
weight for collagen were determined, and the C:N ratios for collagen were calculated, as
were the % yield for collagen and the % yield for apatite. Of the 113 individuals
analyzed, only 11 had values outside of the acceptable ranges. Those values are listed in
Appendix A.
In order to interpret the diet of the prehistoric West Indians, I compared the
human bone isotopic signatures to those obtained for floral and faunal specimens from
the West Indies. Because some of the animals eaten by the prehistoric peoples are now
extinct, the isotopic signatures of their flesh were calculated from the collagen of bones
recovered from archaeological excavations as explained in the Methods chapter. These
data are contained in Table 9. The isotopic signatures of modem West Indian plants and
animals (Tables 10 and 11) were determined from animal flesh and edible
153


112
Table 4. Burial information on the skeletal material excavated from Spring Bay 1 and
Kelbeys Ridge 2 that was submitted for stable isotope analysis.
Provenience
Sex
Age
Burial Position
Features
Radiocarbon Date
(cal AD)
Spring Bay 1
F001
unk
4
flexed
cluster of stones near head
AD 1325-1660
Ostionoid
Kelbey's Ridge 2
F068
M
50
flexed-seated
also contained bones of cremated 5
year old child; adult femur missing,
ash/charcoal under burial
AD 1420-1800
Ostionoid
F132
F
55-60
flexed-seated
also contained infant skeleton
AD 1230-1435
Ostionoid
F148
F
40
flexed-seated
ash under burial
AD 1045-1390
Ostionoid
F149
unk
5
flexed-seated
disarticulated skeleton
no radiocarbon
date given
Ostionoid
F166
unk
12
flexed-seated
cranium missing
no cal AD date
reported
Ostionoid
F313
unk
12
flexed-seated
cranium missing
AD 1280-1470
Ostionoid
F337
unk
3
flexed-seated
missing right humerus, ash under
burial
AD 1445-1655
Ostionoid
Radiocarbon dates: Radiocarbon dates are reported as corrected for no maize and corrected for 25%
marine food and calibrated dates with a 2-sigma standard deviation (Hoogland 1996).
Spring Bay 1 (F001) has date too young to be prehistoric. Hoogland (1996) says date is too young in
comparison to pottery and additional radiocarbon (charcoal) date from level above skeleton (1205 p/m
30 B.P.). He considers skeleton to be prehistoric.
skeleton to show fairly heavy reliance on terrestrial animals for protein, with calories
coming from cultigens such as manioc. Depending upon the degree of contact between
the Greater Antilles and Saba, maize or other C4 grasses may have been a part of the diet,
either cultivated on Saba or imported from the Greater Antilles.


82
The skeletal remains of 108 individuals were recovered from Juan Dolio (Coppa
et al. 1995). Most were poorly preserved even though they date to the late 15th century
(Drusini et al. 1987). As at Boca del Soco, cranial deformation was common (Drusini et
al. 1987).
In comparing the skeletal material from Boca del Soco and Juan Dolio, Coppa et
al. (1995) found that living conditions improved from the early Taino period (El Soco) to
the period directly preceding European contact (Juan Dolio). Given the proximity of the
sites to one another, I would expect the contribution of protein sources to the diets of the
two populations to be similar. From historic documents and archaeobotany, we know
that maize was grown late in prehistory (Newsom and Deagan 1994), so I would expect
to see less negative 813C numbers indicating some contribution of maize to the diet at
Juan Dolio.
La Tortue
La Tortue is a small, limestone island, measuring ca. 35 km by 4 km, off the
northwest coast of Hispaniola. La Tortue has highly seasonal rainfall varying between
100 to 200 cm per year. The Manigat Cave site is located on the southern coast of Tortue
Island (Figure 2).
Manigat Cave Site
Manigat Cave is a Late Saladoid/Early Ostionoid site situated 2 km east of Pointe
Aux Oiseaux (Bird Point), only 4 m above sea level and ca. 7 m from the shoreline. The
exact location of the site is not described in the site report (Barker 1961) and no map is


28
Cuba, Hispaniola and Jamaica each had at least one endemic species of monkey.
Ateles anthropomorpha in Cuba and Saimir bernensis in Hispaniola existed into the
period of human colonization; the Cuban primate was recovered from an Amerindian
burial cave (Morgan and Woods 1986:179). The Jamaican primate, Xenothrix megregori,
is believed to have been extirpated in the Late Pleistocene (Morgan and Woods 1986),
but again, this may reflect nothing more than how little zooarchaeology has been done in
Jamaica. The three West Indian primates belong to three different genera and may result
from three separate dispersal episodes (Morgan and Woods 1986:173).
The caviomorph rodents known as hutias (Capromyidae) occur only in the
Greater Antilles and Bahamas and are especially well represented in Cuba and
Hispaniola. Cuba had 10 species of hutia, including one that has been found in
archaeological sites and five that are still extant. Hispaniola had at least nine species of
hutia; five of these have been recovered in archaeological deposits and two additional
species survived into the historic period. One of these species, Isolobodon portoricensis,
has been recovered in middens in both Puerto Rico and Hispaniola and was probably
introduced to Puerto Rico by prehistoric West Indians (Morgan and Woods 1986; Olsen
1982; Olson and Pregill 1982). Only one hutia (Geocapromys brownii) has been found in
Jamaica (Morgan and Woods 1986). Similarly, a single species, G. ingrahami, is known
in the Bahamas, where nearly all populations are extinct.
Another family of caviomorph rodents is the spiny rats (Echimyidae), with a
diverse radiation of genera and species on the Neotropical mainland. The West Indian
species of spiny rats occurred only in Cuba, Hispaniola and Jamaica. Boromys offella
and Boromys torrei from Cuba survived until after European contact. In Hispaniola,


201
The summary data of the collagen and apatite values illustrate how closely the
diets of the two individuals analyzed match (Figure 45). The standard error is less than
0.1.
-24 -22 -20 -18 -16 -14 -12
Collagen
Apatite
813C
Figure 45. Mean 813C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and apatite,
Hope Estate, St. Martin.
The apatite to collagen spacing falls at the left edge of the monoisotopic range
(Figure 46). I believe that the monoisotopic diet represents C3 plants and terrestrial
animals for three reasons: 1. the site is inland; 2. the zooarchaeology points toward
exploitation of terrestrial animals; and 3. apatite 513C values point toward a heavy C3 diet.
The values may be pulled to the left edge of the monoisotopic spacing by the
incorporation of some marine protein.


34
For this study I have human bone material from Hispaniola, La Tortue and Puerto
Rico in the Greater Antilles, and Abaco, Eleuthera, Long Island, Crooked Island and
Rum Cay in the Bahamas. In the Greater Antilles, many of the birds and large mammals
would have gone extinct or become scarce during initial human colonization in the
preceramic period. Zooarchaeological data show that the terrestrial animals that were
exploited by the Saladoid and Ostionoid peoples in Hispaniola and Puerto Rico include
land crabs, insectivores, hutia, iguana and birds (Arredondo 1970; deFrance 1988; Veloz
Maggiolo and Ortega 1973). Land snails may also have been important food to
prehistoric West Indians (Veloz Maggiolo and Ortega 1973). Monkeys and the spiny rat
have not been recovered in middens but they may have still been food items. No
vertebrate fauna information is available for the island of La Tortue. In the Bahamas,
only hutia, iguana, a crocodile, a tortoise, land crabs and a few birds have been recovered
in archaeological sites (deFrance 1991; Keegan 1997; Olson 1974; 1982; Wing 1969,
1983).
The five islands in the Lesser Antilles for which I have human bone material are
Saba, Anguilla, St. Martin, Guadeloupe and Grenada. Unfortunately, the terrestrial fossil
and zooarchaeological record for most of these islands is sparse. On Guadeloupe, one
species of iguana and one rice rat are known (Clerc 1968; Pregill et al. 1994). The record
for Saba also is spotty, with one rice rat, agouti, iguana, freshwater turtle (Emydidae) and
several birds, including shearwaters, booby, doves, and thrashers (Hoogland 1996; Pregill
et al. 1994, Wing and Wing 1995,).
St. Martin and Anguilla are part of the same submarine bank. Amblyrhiza has
been found in fossil deposits on both islands but not in association with human


TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
LIST OF TABLES xi
LIST OF FIGURES xiii
ABSTRACT xviii
1 INTRODUCTION 1
Organization of the Dissertation 4
Focus of the Research 6
2 PHYSICAL AND BIOLOGICAL BACKGROUND AND THEORETICAL
FRAMEWORK 9
Geography and Geology 9
Modem and Paleoclimate 14
Flora of the West Indies 18
Prehistoric Use of Plants 21
Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna of the West Indies 25
Marine Animal Resources 35
What Did the Prehistoric West Indians Eat? 38
Island Biogeography 41
3 PREHISTORY OF THE WEST INDIES 50
Aceramic Period (4000 B.C. to 400 B.C.) 51
Lithic Period (Casimiran Casimiroid 4000 B.C. to 2000 B.C.) 52
Archaic Period (Casimiroid 2000 B.C. to 400 B.C.;
Ortoiroid 2500 B.C. to 400 B.C) 54
Ceramic Period (400 B.C.to A.D. 1500) 57
Early Ceramic Period/Saladoid Period 57
Early Ceramic Migration 58
Huecan Saladoid 59
Saladoid Social and Economic Organization 60
Saladoid Material Culture 61
Saladoid/Ostionoid Transition 62
viii


Table 11. Continued
Species
Common Name
Class
Habitat
Feeding
Guild
Locality
MF#
515Nco.
513Ccol
Puffinus Iherminieri
Audubon's Shearwater
A
M
C
NPI
57
4.68
-15.45
Stercorarius parasiticus
Parasitic Jaeger
A
M
C
TC
51
9.03
-19.50
Gallnula chloropus
Common Moorhen
A
A
H
49
4.44
-17.64
Flica americana
American Coot
A
A
H
56
3.43
-24.48
Streptopelia decaocto
Eurasian Collared
Dove
A
T
G
54
5.00
-16.77
Columba leucocephala
White-crowned Pigeon
A
T
F
NP
69
-0.31
-13.14
Zenaida aurita
Zenaida Dove
A
T
G
NP
58
-0.52
-21.45
Zenaida aurita
Zenaida Dove
A
T
G
NP
68
0.82
-23.52
Columbina passerina
Common Ground-Dove
A
T
G
NP
70
5.76
-18.14
Columbina passerina
Common Ground-Dove
A
T
G
NP
71
6.38
-21.23
Columbina passerina
Common Ground-Dove
A
T
G
GB
72
0.80
-21.48
Geotrygon chrysia
Key West Quail-Dove
A
T
G
GB
59
0.76
-23.60
Leptotila jamaicensis
White-bellied Dove
A
T
G
NP
50
4.12
-21.36
Tyto alba
Bam Owl
A
T
C
NP
52
7.86
-20.04
Tyrannus dominicensis
Gray Kingbird
A
T
1
SS
73
5.32
-23.44
Tyrannus caudifasciatus
Loggerhead Kingbird
A
T
I
NP
55
5.19
-21.97
Mimochichla plmbea
Red-legged Thrush
A
T
F
47
8.19
-22.90
Vireo altiloquus
Black-whiskered Vireo
A
T
I
A
75
3.88
-21.93
Geothlypis rostrata
Bahama Yellowthroat
A
T
I
GB
74
2.45
-9.68


79
Hispaniola is the most mountainous of the Antilles, with four mountain ranges
following a general northwest to southeast orientation. The northernmost chain is the
Cordillera Septentrional (max. elevation of ca. 1000 m). The Cibao Valley borders this
range on the south. Through the center of the island is the Cordillera Central (called the
Massif du Nord in Haiti). This range rises to ca. 3100 m at Pico Duarte, the highest peak
in the West Indies. The Cordillera Central is separated from the Sierra de Neiba by the
San Juan Valley and the Central Plateau. South of this range is the depressed Enriquillo
Plain (called the Cul de Sac Plain in Haiti) with two salt lakes below sea level. Two
related ranges in the southern peninsula of Haiti are the Massif de la Hotte in the west
and the Massif de la Selle to the east.
Because of its varied relief, the temperature and rainfall vary dramatically in
Hispaniola. Rainfall over 225 cm per year falls in the mountains of the Cordillera Central
and around the peaks of the Massif de la Hotte. The arid regions, particularly in western
Haiti, receive less than 75 cm of rain per year. The vegetation also varies greatly across
Hispaniola, tracking the climate. The mountain ranges are cool and sustain woodlands
dominated by Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea). At lower elevations in areas of high
rainfall, tropical rain forests occur. In the valleys, such as the Cibao and the Central
Plateau, savannas may be at least partly anthropogenic in origin. Cactus and thorn forests
are present in the drier areas (Macpherson 1975:142).
I analyzed human skeletal samples from two sites on Hispaniola, Juan Dolio and
Boca del Soco, both located along the limestone shelf on the southeast coast of the
Dominican Republic, a region with numerous archaeological sites (Figure 2). This is an
area of tropical dry climate with rainfall under 100 cm per year (Macpherson 1975:142).


Numerous friends and family members were also important to this research. The
Patterson family, John, Josephine, Virginia, Vera, Sarah, Bessie and now Richard,
encouraged me to go into archaeology even when others thought I was crazy. Susan
Anton, Betsy Carlson, James Pochurek, Bob Austin, A1 Woods, Valerie Burke DeLeon,
Chris Clement, Maureen Vicaria, Dave Wood, Ann Cordell, Kimberly Martin, Scott and
Susan Mitchell, Matt Allen, Kathy Deagan, and Lee Ann Newsom are friends and
colleagues who supported this research and supported me. Scott Mitchell also drew the
individual island maps and Matt Allen put them into Photoshop. Dave Wood, computer
genius, was on-call any time day or night for the last few months to fix any hardware or
software problems that I managed to create.
I would especially like to thank my family who stood by me for all the years it
took to complete this degree. My dad financially supported me through most of graduate
school and even participated in two field projects in the West Indies. My mom is the
perfect mom who believes that whatever her children do is just wonderful. She provided
encouragement throughout graduate school. Thanks go to my brothers, Jay and John,
who supported me even though they were sure that a degree in archaeology would mean
a lifetime of supporting me financially. Most of all, though, I would like to thank Dave
Steadman who somehow put up with me for the year it took to write this dissertation.
Dave read every word of this dissertation several times and made some valuable
suggestions as to how to improve the text. But most important, Dave made me laugh
when I was frustrated and reminded me of why I was doing this. Now we can get on to
more important parts of our life.
vii


198
1 1
whole diet 8 C toward the more negative end of the scale; there is no evidence of C4
plants.
The two individuals from Maundays Bay had a diet based on marine^ protein
and C3 plant energy (Figure 42). The three Sandy Hill skeletons had either a diet based
on marine protein and C4/CAM plants, terrestrial protein and C3 plants, or a mixed diet
incorporating either three or four of these categories. Because the apatite, whole diet
values give no indication of C4/CAM plants in the diet, the Sandy Hill individuals
probably were consuming mainly terrestrial animals and C3 plants. The diet of the
Rendezvous Bay individual lies between the diets of people living at the other two sites.
Since the value is closest to a diet of marine protein and C3 plants, and the Sandy Hill
individuals probably had a diet based on terrestrial animals and C3 plants, I believe that
the Rendezvous Bay diet was a mixture of terrestrial and marine animals and C3 plants.
513C
C3 protein C4 energy
Monoisotopic
C4 protein C3 energy
Maunday's Bay
X Sandy Hill
Rendezvous Bay
Figure 42. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 813C for human bone from three sites
on Anguilla compared to dietary values proposed by Ambrose and Norr (1993) adapted
from Norr (1995).


142
Rico. The purpose of this study was to check values obtained on three samples run by
Schoeninger et al. (1983) and to collect environmental data to explain the unusual
Bahamian isotope signatures (found to be due to l3C enrichment in seawater and nitrogen
fixation in coral reefs). In comparing the 8I3C and the 815N values from the bone
collagen to the isotopic signatures of the plants and animals available to the prehistoric
peoples, Keegan postulated a heavier reliance on terrestrial foods in earlier than in later
sites in the Bahamas. Also the latest Bahamian sites showed evidence for the
introduction of a C4 plant, presumably maize, in the diet.
Keegan did not have radiocarbon dates for any of the Bahamian skeletons or the
sites from which they were excavated, but using a settlement patterning model he
developed, he predicted which sites would have been inhabited first (those in the southern
Bahamas) and interpreted the change in diet based upon this model (Keegan 1985).
Finally, the isotopic values from one skeleton from the Hacienda Grande site, a Saladoid
period site in Puerto Rico suggested to Keegan a much heavier reliance on terrestrial
foods than in the Bahamas. In light of support for the routing model, Keegans study can
be reinterpreted to show heavy reliance on marine protein sources for individuals living
in the Bahamas and heavier reliance on terrestrial protein sources for the one individual
living in Puerto Rico.
Van Klinken (1991) analyzed the bone collagen of skeletal material from the
Spring Bay and Kelbeys Ridge site in Saba and the Maisabel site in Puerto Rico. As
stated above in the discussion of bone diagenesis, it is important to determine the percent
collagen yield and the C:N ratio for each bone analyzed to make sure that the values fall
within acceptable ranges. The percent collagen yields reported by van Klinken were


294
1996b Faunal Remains from the Rendezvous Bay Site, Anguilla, W. I. Manuscript
on file, Florida Museum of Natural History.
Wing, E. S., S. deFrance and L. Kozuch
In press Faunal Remains from the Tutu Archaeological Village, St. Thomas, USVI.
In Human Adaptations at the Tutu Archaeological Village Site: A
Multidisciplinary Case Study, edited by E. Righter. Gordon and Breach Science
Publisher, Langhome, PA.
Wing, E. S. and L. Kozuch
1998 Animal Remains from Archaeological Sites on Nevis. Report on file at the
Florida Museum of Natural History.
Wing, E. S., C. E. Ray and C. A. Hoffman, Jr.
1968 Vertebrate Remains from Indian Sites on Antigua, West Indies. Caribbean
Journal of Science 8:123-129.
Wing, E. S. and E. J. Reitz
1982 Prehistoric Fishing Economies of the Caribbean. Journal of New World
Archaeology 8(2): 13-32.
Wing, E. S. and S. Scudder
1980 Use of Animals by the Prehistoric Inhabitants on St. Kitts, West Indies. In
Proceedings of the Eighth International Congress for the Study of the Pre-
Columbian Cultures of the Lesser Antilles, edited by S. M. Lewenstein, pp. 237-
245. Anthropological Research Papers, No. 22. Arizona State University, Tempe.
Wing, E. S. and S. R. Wing
1995 Prehistoric Ceramic Age Adaptation to Varying Diversity of Animal Resources
along the West Indian Archipelago. Journal of Ethnobiology 15(1): 119-148.
Woods, C.A.
1989 The Biogeography of West Indian Rodents. In Biogeography of the West
Indies: Past, Present, and Future, edited by C.A. Woods, pp. 741-798. Sandhill
Crane Press, Gainesville, 878 pp.
Wright, L. E. and H. P. Schwarcz
1996 Infrared and Isotopic Evidence for Diagenesis of Bone Apatite at Dos Pilas,
Guatemala: Palaeodietary Implications. Journal of Archaeological Science
23:933-944.


CHAPTER 5
STABLE ISOTOPE ANALYSIS
As indicated in the Introduction, the original data that I have generated, analyzed,
and interpreted in this study of West Indian paleodiets consists of the stable isotope
values of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) in human bones and dietary items. Although stable
isotope analysis of human bone collagen and apatite carbonate is a well-established
technique used to reconstruct the diet of human archaeological populations, there remains
some major differences of opinion on various theoretical and practical aspects of the
techniques that I therefore will review in detail.
By comparing the stable isotope signatures of C and N in human bone with those
of the plants and animals believed to be consumed by the individuals, stable isotope
analysis provides a quantitative estimate of the proportions of certain food groups
consumed by a population. This is possible because certain food groups have distinctive
isotopic signatures. The stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of plants and animals
consumed by an individual are believed to be reflected accurately in bone collagen
(Burleigh & Brothwell 1978; DeNiro and Epstein 1978a, 1981; Hare et al. 1991;
Kennedy 1988; Tieszen et al. 1983; van der Merwe and Vogel 1978; Vogel 1978) and
bone apatite carbonate (Ambrose and Norr 1993). In a study of modem bone, bone
collagen was found to primarily reflect the source of protein in the diet whereas bone
apatite carbonate more accurately reflects the whole diet (Ambrose and Norr 1993).
120


194
Collagen
Apatite
-24 -22 -20 -18 -16 -14 -12
S13C
1
Figure 37. Mean 8 C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and apatite,
Bahamian sites.
The spacing between the values for apatite and for collagen in the Bahamian
samples show diets based heavily on marine protein and C3 cultigens such as manioc
(Figure 38).
513C
C3 protein C4
energy
Monoisotopic
C4 protein C3
energy
Crooked Island
Rum Cay
A Abaco
XLong Island
XEleuthera
Figure 38. Apatite to collagen spacing 815N versus 513C for human bone from the
Bahamian sites compared to dietary values proposed by Ambrose and Norr (1993)
adapted from Norr (1995).


biological properties of individual islands. These variables are accommodated within the
theoretical framework of island biogeography. For example, if one considers the large
islands of the Greater Antilles as reference points (source areas) for other smaller and/or
more isolated islands (Bahamas, Lesser Antilles), the larger, less isolated islands
provided richer, more reliable sources of terrestrial foods than the smaller, more isolated
islands where marine foods dominated prehistoric diets. Similarly, low, limestone islands
provided early West Indian peoples with a relatively depauperate terrestrial fauna to
exploit, as well as marginal soil quality for agriculture. Larger, higher islands, typically
volcanic and/or metamorphic in origin, provided better soils as well as more diverse
faunas that enhanced the terrestrial component of prehistoric diets. The data from stable
isotopes may or may not agree with those from zooarchaeology in reconstructing
prehistoric diets. A comprehensive approach that considers carefully collected
information from stable isotopes, zooarchaeology, and plant macrofossils is
recommended as the best overall approach to estimating the diet of prehistoric peoples.
Among these three types of data, stable isotope analysis is shown to yield internally
consistent results that are very useful for inter-site and inter-island comparisons.
xix


248
Maisbel and at the smaller islands in the Lesser Antilles and La Tortue, provide
tantalizing evidence that maize may have been available for domestication at an early
date, but adopted only in certain areas.
-28 -26 -24 -22 -20 -18 -16 -14
o Ostionoid
+ Post Saladoid
A Saladoid
X Saladoid/Ostionoid
5I3C
Figure 71. 813C values of human bone collagen and 8I5N values of human bone apatite
of Saladoid, Saladoid/Ostionoid transitional, post-Saladoid and Ostionoid peoples.


278
Olsen, F.
1976 Preceramic Findings in Antigua. In Proceedings of the First Puerto Rican
Symposium on Archaeology, edited by L. S. Robinson, pp. 85-94. La Fundacin
Arqueolgica, Antropolgica e Histrica de Puerto Rico, San Juan.
Olson, S. L.
1974 A New Species of Nesotrochis from Hispaniola, with Notes on Other Fossil
Rails from the West Indies (Aves: Rallidae). Proceedings of the Biological
Society of Washington 87:439-450.
1978 A Paleontological Perspective of West Indian Birds and Mammals. In
Zoogeography in the Caribbean, pp. 99-117. Special Publication 13. Academy of
Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
1982 Biological Archaeology in the West Indies. The Florida Anthropologist
35(4): 162-168.
Olson, S. L. and G. K. Pregill
1982 Introduction to the Paleontology of Bahamian Vertebrates. Fossil Vertebrates
from the Bahamas, Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 48:1-7.
Ortiz Aguil, J. J., J. Rivera Melndez, A. Prncipe Jcome, M. Melndez Maiz and M.
Lavergne Colberg
1991 Intensive Agriculture in pre-Columbian West Indies: The case for terraces. In
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Congress of the International Association for
Caribbean Archaeology, edited by A. Cummins and P. King, pp. 278-285.
Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Barbados.
Oviedo, G. F. d.
1959 Natural History of the West Indies. Translated by S.A. Stoudemire. University
of North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures no. 32.
University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.
Pantel, A. G.
1988 Precolumbian Flaked Stone Assemblages in the West Indies. Ph.D.
Dissertation. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Parker, P. L.
1964 The Biogeochemistry of the Stable isotopes of Carbon in a Marine Bay.
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 28:1155-1164.
Pate, F. D.
1994 Bone Chemistry and Paleodiet. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory
1(2): 161-209.


46
have a greater number of species present but because of the reliable source of new
propagules will also have a higher turnover rate than islands farther away from the source
area. This is called the distance effect.
The equilibrium model is impressive in its simplicity and seemingly ubiquitous
applicability. Since its development by MacArthur and Wilson (1963), however, the
equilibrium model and the species-area relationships have been criticized for their
inability to consider entire biotas and to take into consideration habitat, genetic or
geographical diversity (Sauer 1969) and for failing to consider long time-scales or to
blend quantitative theory satisfactorily with empirical data (Steadman 1986:78).
Simberloff (1983:1275) criticizes the equilibrium model because of the subjective
assessment of its most fundamental contentionthat species number tends toward
equilibrium. The allowed coefficient of variation in the species number is broad and the
criteria for determining when equilibrium has been achieved are not always clearly
stated.
The size of an island does not necessarily determine the number of species an
island can support. In some instances, the number of habitats determines species richness
more than island size (Rosenzweig 1995). Also, island size can change due to volcanism,
tectonic uplift or subsidence, sea level change, or erosion. This criticism of the model
leads directly into the most obvious overlooked variable, that of time. Even though
Wilson and Taylor (1967) stated that faunas may not be at equilibrium in evolutionary
time, but only in a human time frame, this important qualifier has been overlooked by the
great majority of biogeographers. Although the rate of colonization theoretically declines
as fewer new species are available from the source area to colonize an island, there is no


35
occupation (MacFarlane et al. 1998). Rice rats and birds have been found on both islands
from both archaeological and paleontological deposits (Haviser 1991c; Pregill et al.
1994). The only other possible terrestrial food item is Iguana delicatissima from a non-
cultural deposit on Anguilla (Pregill et al. 1994).
The southern Windward Islands of Grenada and the Grenadines, and especially
the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, have a much stronger South American influence in
their faunas than the rest of the West Indies. Grenada and St. Lucia are the only islands
where the opossum (Didelphis marsupialis) has been recorded (Pregill et al. 1994).
Dasypus sp. (armadillo) was also introduced into Grenada and has been found in the
midden at the Pearls site (Stokes 1990). Indigenous species found in middens on
Grenada include rice rats, iguana and several birds (Lippold 1991).
Marine Animal Resources
The marine animals of the West Indies will be discussed according to habitat,
since of course they are not confined to any one island. The four habitats in which
marine animals are found are beaches, inshore-estuary habitats, banks and reefs, and the
offshore pelagic community (Wing and Reitz 1982). The fish discussed below are only
the most common ones found on sites in the West Indies. The most common habitat is
listed for the fishes that can tolerate several habitats.
The beach habitat is where sea turtles (Cheloniidae) and monk seals (Monachus
tropicalis) could be captured. Sea turtles return to their nesting beaches year after year
and they are especially vulnerable to human predation when laying their eggs. Along


55
Cruxent 1963:58-59) although the origins and relationships of the Casimiroid and the
Ortoiroid are poorly understood; they may in fact be the same culture. At the Whitehead
Bluff site in Anguilla, dated to 1500 to 1400 B.C., elements of both Casimiroid and
Ortoiroid cultures are present (Crock et al. 1995). The Casimiroid elements include shell
vessels like those found in the Dominican Republic (Veloz Maggiolo and Ortega 1976)
and Cuba (Izquierdo Daz 1988). Shell celts, characteristic of the Ortoiroid culture, are
present as well (Rouse 1992). Hammerstones were recovered but no ground stone tools,
manos, or metates. Even though the Casimiroid/Ortoiroid frontier is supposed to be in
Puerto Rico, the division between Casimiroid and Ortoiroid is likely to become
exceedingly murky with additional research.
As with the Lithic cultures, the subsistence of Archaic groups is poorly
understood because of inadequate recovery of faunal and archaeobotanical remains. By
default, the Archaic cultures are characterized as hunter-gatherers with subsistence
strategies inferred from settlement location (Davis 1995; Watters and Rouse 1989).
Ortoiroid sites are usually coastal and have shell middens, suggesting a maritime
subsistence concentrating on mollusks with some fishes, such as at Whitehead Bluff,
Anguilla (Crock et al. 1995), Jolly Beach, Antigua (Davis 1974; Olsen 1976), Sugar
Factory Pier, St. Kitts (Goodwin 1978), and Krum Bay, St. Thomas (Bullen and Sleight
1963; Lundberg 1989). Casimiroid sites, on the other hand, are located either on the
coast or inland suggesting a mixed terrestrial/marine orientation (Rouse 1992; Veloz and
Ortega 1976; Veloz Maggiolo 1977). It is logical that humans will exploit whatever food
resources are easiest to procure as long as social taboos or technological limitations do


209
ic i o
Figure 54. Apatite to collagen spacing 8 N versus 8 C for human bone from the Petite
Riviere site, La Dsirade, compared to dietary values proposed by Ambrose and Norr
(1993) adapted from Norr (1995).
Anse la Gourde, Guadeloupe
Analysis of bone collagen from 21 individuals from Anse la Gourde show a diet
intermediate between C3 and marine/^ protein sources, but closer to the marine/C4 range
(Figure 55). There is a larger contribution of terrestrial animals than for the people living
at Petite Riviere. The 815N values cluster at the high end of reef fishes, in the range of
terrestrial vertebrates and higher than expected for a population consuming maize. One
individual, however, has a much higher 815N signature and a less negative 813C signature
than the rest of the population, suggesting a diet richer in carnivorous fishes or sea turtle.


LIST OF REFERENCES
AAHS (Anguilla Archaeological and Historical Society)
1986 Review 1981-1985. Anguilla Archaeological and Historical Society, The
Valley.
Alegra, R. E.
1965 On Puerto Rican Archaeology. American Antiquity 21:113-131.
1979 Apuntes para el Estudio de los Caciques de Puerto Rico. Revista del Instituto de
Cultura Puertorriquea 85:25-41.
1981 El Uso de la Terminiologia Etno-historica para Designar las Culturas
Aborgenes de las Antillas. Cuadernos Prehispanicas. Seminario de Historia de
America, University de Valladolid, Valladolid.
1983 Ballcourts and Ceremonial Plazas in the West Indies. Yale University
Publications in Anthropology, No. 79, New Haven.
Allaire, L.
1977 Later Prehistory in Martinique and the Island Caribs: Problems in Ethnic
Identification. Ph.D. Dissertation, Yale University. University Microfilms
International, Ann Arbor.
1991 Understanding Suazey. In Proceedings of the Thirteenth International
Congress for Caribbean Archaeology, edited by E. N. Ayubi and J. B. Haviser,
pp. 715-728. No. 9. Archaeological-Anthropological Insititute of the Netherlands
Antilles, Willemstad, Curacao.
1997a The Lesser Antilles before Columbus. In The Indigenous People of the
Caribbean, edited by S. M. Wilson, pp. 20-28. The Ripley P. Bullen Series.
University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
1997b The Caribs of the Lesser Antilles. In Indigenous People of the Caribbean,
edited by S. M. Wilson, pp. 177-185. The Ripley P. Bullen Series. University
Press of Florida, Gainesville.
Allen, M. S. and D. W. Steadman
1990 Excavations at the Ureia Site, Aitutaki, Cook Islands: Preliminary Results.
Archaeology in Oceania 25:24-37.
257


227
13
period, had a 5 C collagen value that Keegan interprets to show a 93 +/- 7% reliance on
terrestrial foods. Keegan concludes that the greater terrestrial diet is due to the early time
period, but I believe that it is due to the size, age, geology and therefore, greater number
of species of terrestrial animals on Hispaniola. As illustrated in the individual site results,
all of the samples from the Greater Antilles had more terrestrial diets than those of the
Bahamas or Lesser Antilles. In the biogeography section below, I will discuss why I
believe this is the case.
A second isotope study on prehistoric human diet was conducted by van Klinken
(1991) for six sites in the West Indies and Suriname. Some of the same samples from the
Maisabel site in Puerto Rico and Spring Bay 1 and Kelbeys Ridge 2 in Saba that I
analyzed were also analyzed by van Klinken but he used only bone collagen, not apatite,
to interpret the whole diet as was acceptable at the time of his study. The results of van
Klinkens study should be considered with skepticism because of: 1. unacceptable
reported C:N values; 2. 8I5N values outside of the realm of possibility for human
samples; 3. extremely variable 813C and 515N values for the same sample; 4. inadequate
explanation of the variable results; 5. presumably inadequate collagen extraction
techniques; and 6. no discussion of correcting 515N values for fractionation between
collagen and diet. Each of these will be discussed in relation to the data but in general, I
consider both the 813C and 815N values generated by van Klinken to be unreliable
because improper pretreatment of the collagen resulted in contamination of the samples
by soil humates.
A comparison of van Klinkens collagen values and the values generated in my
study are presented in Table 14 (values from Hoogland 1996, van Klinken 1991). Van


291
Veloz Maggiolo, M., E. Ortega and P. Pina
1974 El Caimito: Un Antigua Complejo Ceramista de las Antillas Mayores. Museo
del Hombre Dominicano, Serie Monogrfica, Santo Domingo (30).
Veloz Maggiolo, M. and B. Vega
1982 The Antillean Preceramic: A New Approximation. Journal of New World
Archaeology 5(1 ):33-44.
Versteeg, A. H. and K. Schinkel (editors)
1992 The Archaeology of St. Eustatius: The Golden Rock Site. Publication no. 2. St.
Eustasius Historical Foundation, Oranjestat.
Vescelius, G. S.
1980 A Cultural Taxonomy for West Indian Archaeology. Journal of the Virgin
Islands Archaeological Society 10:36-39.
Virginia, R. A. and C. C. Delwiche
1982 Natural 15N Abundance of Presumed N2-fixing and Non N2-fixing Plants from
Selected Ecosystems. Oecologia 54:317-325.
Vogel, J. C. and N. J. van der Merwe
1977 Isotopic Evidence for Early Maize Cultivation in New York State. American
Antiquity 42(2):238-242.
Vogel, J. C.
1978 Isotopic Assessment of the Dietary Habits of Ungulates. South African Journal
of Science 74:298-301.
Wada, E. and A. Hattori
1976 Natural Abundance of 15N in Particulate Organic Matter in the North Pacific
Ocean. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 40:249-251.
Walker, D. J. R.
1992 Columbus and the Golden World of the Island Arawaks. Ian Randle, Kingston,
Jamaica.
Walker, P. L. and M. J. DeNiro
1986 Stable Nitrogen and Carbon Isotope Ratios in Bone Collagen as Indices of
Prehistoric Dietary Dependence on Marine and Terrestrial Resources in Southern
California. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 71:51-61.
Watters, D. R.
1980 Transect Surveying and Prehistoric Site Locations on Barbuda and Montserrat,
Leeward Islands, West Indies. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.
University Microfilms, Ann Arbor.


243
biogeographic variables such as which animals were available on which islands, where
the sites were located, etc. This is related to the question of whether colonizing groups
were reproducing their mainland existence (Roe 1989) versus adapting to the insular
environment (deFrance 1988; Siegel 1991a; Wing 1989). I will determine whether there
is a temporal pattern in diet by comparing the source of protein and the source of the
whole diet of Saladoid and Ostionoid samples.
I have many more Ostionoid samples than Saladoid samples, so issues of sample
size must be considered when interpreting the data. Also, the only Saladoid skeletal
material that I have for the sites discussed thus far is from the Maundays Bay site in
Anguilla and the Maisabel site in Puerto Rico. For the comparison of temporal periods I
needed to increase the size of the Saladoid samples so I added three additional samples
dating to the Saladoid period that were not discussed in the individual site results. I did
not include these samples in the individual site results because of their poor provenience.
Two of the samples are from the Pearls site in Grenada. They were recovered from
looters pits when William Keegan and I were excavating the site in 1991. Pearls is an
exclusively Saladoid site. The third sample is from an excavation of the Grand Anse site,
St. Lucia, by Ripley Bullen in 1964. Grand Anse also dates to the Saladoid period.
Grenada has much more terrestrial vertebrate fauna than the other Lesser Antillean
islands, due to its proximity to South America, so we can expect the diet to be more
heavily reliant upon terrestrial protein.
Figure 69 compares the source of protein in the diet between the Saladoid,
Saladoid/Ostionoid transition, and Ostionoid/Post-Saladoid cultural periods. The data
lack any pattern. Even the relatively few Saladoid individuals range from marine to


43
be quite so linear if the earliest human habitation sites on each island could be excavated
and the faunal record examined. A potential problem with their study is that both marine
and terrestrial faunas are included in their analyses. One of the basic assumptions of
island biogeography is that the fauna under study lives in a circumscribed environment.
Therefore species-area relationships and distance effects under the principles of
biogeography were formulated for terrestrial rather than marine faunas. Marine animals
are seldom endemic to any one island but typically have larval or adult age classes that
disperse freely and have no well proscribed source area.
Island biogeographic theory examines the manner in which plants and animals
colonize islands, establish populations, and perhaps with time become extinct. True
island types are defined as either continental (with previous connections to continental
source areas) or oceanic (without such connections). The theory often has been extended
as well to habitat islands on continents. Islands can be colonized either through
vicariant (abiotic) or dispersal (biotic) means. The only likely cases of vicariant species
in the modem West Indian faunas are the insectivores discussed above. The main
mechanism for colonization of the West Indies has been by dispersal from mainland
South America and Central America, in many cases followed by inter-island dispersal
within the West Indies. Species have dispersed through four methods: sea water
flotation, rafting, and transport by birds, or by the wind (Carlquist 1965).
Species richness on an island is thought to be determined primarily by two
factors, the island area (size) and the degree of isolation (distance from the source area),
with a third factor, elevation, also exerting some influence (MacArthur and Wilson
1967:16-17). The species-area curve illustrates that with increased island size, a greater


208
11
Figure 53. Mean 8 C values (with standard error) for human bone collagen and apatite,
Petite Riviere, La Dsirade.
The intermediate spacing between the carbonate and collagen values (Figure 54)
provides additional evidence that the inhabitants of Petite Riviere had a diet where the
source of protein and carbohydrate had a similar isotopic signature, either both C3, both
C4 or a mixture. It is difficult to measure the contribution of C4 plants in the diet because
their 813C values overlap with those of marine protein sources. Because the main protein
source is marine (C4-like) and the spacing is in the monoisotopic range, C4 plants may
have contributing partially to the diet but the main source of energy in the diet was
derived from C3 plants (see Figure 52). Also, the 815N value is much higher than
expected from individuals consuming an abundance of maize. Because the spacing falls
within the monoisotopic range and the collagen 813C values indicate some terrestrial
animals in the diet, we can assume that the monoisotopic signature is due to contributions
from all four possible food sources. If C4/CAM plants were part of the mixed diet
assemblage, prickly pear or other C4-like plants may be responsible for the less negative
S13C values, not necessarily maize.


100
isotope study. For the purpose of this project, we will consider #4694 to be of unknown
gender. The pottery found in Burial Cave 1 is all Palmetto series (Granberry 1978). Also
found during the excavation were a point made from the bone barb of a stingray, six
wooden fishhooks, a fragmentary conch pendant, an inlaid turtle shell bracelet, and four
beads made of nerite shell (Granberry 1978:36).
Some of the skeletal material excavated by Rainey in the Bahamian caves was
associated with prehistoric pottery or other artifacts that provided evidence that the
burials were prehistoric. To corroborate this, I submitted samples from two of the
skeletons for AMS radiocarbon dating. The two individuals, one from Gordon Hill Cave
on Crooked Island and the one skeleton from Long Island, date to the Lucayan Taino
period of West Indian prehistory (Table 3).
Table 3. Corrected and calibrated radiocarbon dates from Bahamian skeletons.
SAMPLE NUMBER
MATERIAL
DATED
MEASURED
l4C AGE
13c/12c
RATIO
CORRECTED
14C AGE
cal AD
(2 sigma)
Beta-120296 (AS 93)
human bone
350 50 BP
-13.7 %o
540 50 BP
AD 1310 to 1365
and 1375-1450
Beta-120298 (AS 97)
human bone
650 50 BP
-16.4 %o
790 50 BP
AD 1175-1295
Rainey reported only minimal faunal remains associated with the skeletons
including bird, rat, hutia, and some mollusk shells. Wetmore (1938) analyzed the bird
bones found in the Gordon Hill Caves identifying Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus),
Audubons Shearwater (Puffinus Iherminieri), Bermuda Petrel (Pterodroma cahow),
Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster), White Ibis (Eudocimus alba), Osprey (Pandion


274
Little, Elbert L., Jr. and Frank H. Wadsworth
1964 Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Agriculture Handbook
No. 249. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC.
Little, Elbert L., Jr., Roy W. Woodbury, and Frank H. Wadsworth
1974 Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Second Volume. Agriculture
Handbook No. 449. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington,
DC.
Lomolino, M. V.
1994 Species Richness of Mammals Inhabiting Nearshore Archipelagos: Area,
Isolation and Immigration Filters. Journal of Mammalogy 75:39-49.
Lovell, N. C., D. E. Nelson and H. P. Schwarcz
1986 Carbon Isotope Research in Palaeodiet: Lack of Age or Sex Effect.
Archaeometry 28(1):51-55.
Luna Calderon, F.
1985 Antropologa Y Paleopatologia de los Pobladores del Soco. Paper presented at
the Tenth International Congress for the Study of Pre-Columbian Cultures of the
Lesser Antilles, Fort De France.
Lundberg, E. R.
1989 Preceramic Procurement Patterns at Krum Bay, Virgin Islands. Ph.D.
Dissertation, University of Illinois. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor.
MacArthur, R. H. and E. O. Wilson
1963 Equilibrium Theory of Island Biogeography. Evolution 17:373-387.
1967 The Theory of Island Biogeography. Monographs in Population Biology.
Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
MacFadden, B. J.
1980 Rafting Mammals or Drifting Islands?: Biogeography of the Greater Antilles
Insectivores, Nesophontes and Solendon. Journal of Biogeography 7:11-22.
MacFarlane, D. A., R. D. E. MacPhee and D. C. Ford
1998 Body Size Variability and a Sangamonian Extinction Model for Amblyrhiza, a
West Indian Megafaunal Rodent. Quaternary Research 50:80-89.
Macpherson, J.
1975 Caribbean Lands: A Geography of the West Indies. 3rd ed. Longman Group
Ltd, London.


90
The second occupation of Paso del Indio occurred during the Saladoid period.
Cuevas style pottery, stone celts, lithic tools and shell artifacts were recovered from the
excavation. The village measured approximately 100 x 250 m prior to a series of floods
that buried it. The only human burial found from this occupation was not available for
isotope analysis.
The burials I analyzed from Paso del Indio came from the Ostionoid period
occupation of the site. Ninety-eight burials were recovered, but only 12 were available
for isotope analysis because of ongoing negotiations between the contractors and the
Highway Authority.
The Ostionoid period occupation extended over an area of 450 x 200 m. An
individual house with post molds was interpreted as being occupied by a single family.
The food remains suggest a primarily terrestrial subsistence featuring terrestrial mollusks
and freshwater turtle remains along with continued hunting of terrestrial animals and
some fishing. Marine mollusks are also found on the site. Cassava griddles suggest that
manioc horticulture was practiced. Because of the location of this site inland on a fairly
large island, I would expect the diet to be much more terrestrially oriented than either that
of the inhabitants of Maisabel or of groups living in the Lesser Antilles or Bahamas.
The Bahamas
The Bahamas are a group of 40+ large islands (>1 km2) and about 650 smaller
islands that begin east of Florida and stretch southeastward to within about 100 km of
Hispaniola. The total land area of the archipelago is ca. 11,400 km2 (Morgan 1989). The


CHAPTER 9
CONCLUSIONS
The isotopic signatures of bone collagen and bone apatite carbonate from 102
prehistoric skeletons were determined in an effort to reconstruct their diets. The skeletal
material was excavated by various archaeologists from 19 sites on 13 islands in the West
Indies, ranging from the Saladoid period (ca. 400 B.C.-A.D. 600) until the late Ostionoid
period (A.D. 600 -A.D. 1500). The purpose of this research was to determine the extent
of temporal inter-island variation in diets and how this variation relates to the physical,
biological, and cultural environments in which the people were living. Also of interest
was how closely the isotope data reflected diet as reconstructed from zooarchaeological
and archaeobotanical analyses.
The 813C and 815N values from bone collagen and the 513C values from bone
apatite were compared to the isotopic signatures of probable food items consumed by
prehistoric West Indians. Bone collagen primarily reflects the source of the protein in the
diet and bone apatite primarily reflects the source of the whole diet (both protein and
energy). The bone collagen data show that the peoples on Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and
La Tortue had a greater terrestrial protein component in their diet than the peoples from
the Bahamas, Anguilla, St. Martin, Saba, Guadeloupe, and La Dsirade who had more of
a marine focus. The data from Anguilla, Guadeloupe, and La Dsirade and the Bahamas
show a particularly heavy emphasis on marine protein. The 615N values were lowest on
249


3
sources such as C3 plant tubers, legumes, and fruits versus plants that use other metabolic
pathways (C4) such as maize, and whether terrestrial animals or marine animals provided
the majority of the protein in the diet.
Several previous studies of stable isotopes have been carried out on prehistoric
West Indian populations (Keegan 1985, Keegan and DeNiro 1988, van Klinken 1991,
Norr, in press). In most of these studies (Keegan 1985, Keegan and DeNiro 1988, van
Klinken 1991) only the collagen was analyzed and therefore inferences about diet were
necessarily limited. All of the previous studies were restricted geographically,
chronologically, and in sample size.
For this study, I performed stable isotope analysis on 102 skeletons from 18
archaeological sites in the West Indies. These sites are located on 13 islands and were
occupied during the Saladoid and Ostionoid periods. The first two periods of
colonization in the West Indies, the Lithic and Archaic periods, are not represented
because of a lack of suitable human skeletal material. Very few preceramic sites have
yielded human skeletons. I did attempt to extract collagen and apatite carbonate from the
bones of four individuals from the Cueva Roja Lithic period site in Hispaniola, but the
collagen was degraded and did not meet the criteria for acceptable samples. The skeletal
material analyzed in this study does provide an excellent overview of the diet of
prehistoric peoples over the past two millennia. By using samples from a number of
islands that vary in size, geology, and isolation from potential biotic source areas, I will
make inter-island comparisons of prehistoric diet using a framework based on
biogeography. Biogeographic theory will allow me to determine the extent that cultural
or non-cultural factors control diet choices.


39
biogeographic theory. After briefly reviewing these approaches, I will present the
theoretical framework for this study.
Questions of prehistoric subsistence in the West Indies were first raised by
Froelich Rainey (1940) when he proposed that two separate cultures had migrated into
the West Indies, the first subsisting primarily on land crabs and the later group subsisting
on mollusks. This change of focus from terrestrial foods to marine foods has since been
attributed to either population pressure causing a diversification in the subsistence base
(Goodwin 1980) or a pan-Caribbean climate change causing a reduction in land crab
populations (Carbone 1980).
Keegan (1985) incorporated economic and ecological models, particularly
optimal foraging, to suggest that prehistoric food choices were determined by what was
economically most logical. In other words, foods that gave the highest return in terms of
calories and protein for the least cost in terms of time would have been exploited first.
Lower return food items would have been added to the diet as the higher return items
became overexploited. With the exception of marine turtles and marine mammals,
terrestrial resources would have been the highest ranked food sources.
Settlement patterning and catchment analyses have been employed to predict and
explain what prehistoric groups would have been eating. For Antigua, Amerindians
exploited the resources closest to their settlements or alternatively, populations settled
closest to the resources that were most important to them (Davis 1982, 1995, Nodine
1987; Stokes 1991). The archaic sites on Antigua were located along the coast in areas
with abundant mollusk beds; ceramic-period sites were located along river beds for
access to good soils and fresh water. Seven prehistoric sites on Bonaire, dating from the


215
another although on different islands. The data indicate that the peoples inhabiting these
sites were consuming diets with similar types of protein. The Anguilla 8I3C collagen
value lies between that of Anse la Gourde and Petite Riviere but with a slightly lower
5i5N value. Possible more mollusks were included in the diet since the apatite and apatite
to collagen spacing values for Anguilla showed no evidence of C4/CAM plants in the
diet. The apatite and apatite to collagen spacing for Anse la Gourde and Petite Riviere
suggested the possibility of a small amount of C4/CAM plants in the diet. CAM plants
such as prickly pear, may have been included in the diet rather than maize.
The mean 513C apatite values (Figure 60) show much more variability than the
513C values for collagen. Juan Dolio and Boca del Soco whole diets are based primarily
on terrestrial vertebrates and C3 plants. The diets overlap considerably as expected since
the sites date to the same time period and are only a few kilometers apart.
The Maisabel and Paso del Indio whole diets are also very similar. The whole
diet values are much less negative than those of Juan Dolio and Boca del Soco due to the
incorporation of maize or other C4 plants in the diet. The La Tortue mean whole diet
value is very similar to that of Maisabel and Paso del Indio. The 813C apatite values are
less negative due to the incorporation of C4/CAM plants in the diet. The individuals
buried at La Tortue probably had a very diverse diet based on marine and terrestrial
protein and C3 and C4/CAM plant energy.
Bahamian whole diet as indicated by the 513C apatite values is very diverse but
heavily dependent upon C3 plants. The whole diets of Saba and Hope Estate, St. Martin
are once again very similar. The protein and the whole diet are based primarily on


118
volcanic basement rocks (Maury et al. 1990:150). It is surrounded by coral reefs.
Basse-Terre is located to the west of Grand-Terre and measures 960 km2. Basse-Terre is
composed of volcanic rocks that are younger in the south (Schuchert 1968:761) and a
northeast alluvial plain (Maury et al. 1990:158). The present volcanic activity in
Guadeloupe is centered on La Soufriere (elevation 1467 m) which last erupted in 1976-77
(Maury et al. 1990:158). Human skeletal material was analyzed for the Anse la Gourde
site on Grand-Terre, Guadeloupe (see Figure 12).
Anse la Gourde is located on the southeastern coast of Grande-Terre on a
narrow strip of land. A beach 1 km in length borders the site and a coral reef lies just off
the coast. This site was excavated in 1995 and 1997 by Merino Hoogland and Corinne
Hofman (Delpuech et al. 1995). Anse la Gourde spans an area of ca. 5 hectares.
Several 2 x 2 m units were excavated in areas with abundant artifacts and a trench 2.5 x
60 m was dug to locate features associated with the village settlement.
The site has two phases of occupation. The first was during the Cedrosan
Saladoid period as indicated by pottery with WOR, black and white, red and orange and
red painting along with incised and modeled vessels. Other artifacts dating to this
occupation include three-pointers made of local stone and coral, and a conch shell carved
into the shape of a shark.
The second settlement dates to the post-Saladoid (Troumassoid) period.
Radiocarbon dates from this occupation places it around A.D. 900-1000. The ceramics
had no elaborate painting but were incised. Anthropomorphic adornos, shell amulets and
beads, three-pointers, and worked chert were also found.



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