cover of book

Rethinking Puerto Rican Precolonial History
by Reniel Rodríguez Ramos
University of Alabama Press, 2010
eISBN: 978-0-8173-8327-5 | Cloth: 978-0-8173-1702-7 | Paper: 978-0-8173-5609-5
Library of Congress Classification F1969.R65 2010

Focuses on the successive indigenous cultures of Puerto Rico prior to 1493

The history of Puerto Rico has usually been envisioned as a sequence of colonizations-various indigenous peoples from Archaic through Taíno were successively invaded, assimilated, or eliminated, followed by the Spanish entrada, which was then modified by African traditions and, since 1898, by the United States. The truth is more complex, but in many ways Puerto Rico remains one of the last colonies in the world. This volume focuses on the successive indigenous cultures of Puerto Rico prior to 1493.
Traditional studies of the cultures of indigenous peoples of the Caribbean have centered on ceramic studies, based on the archaeological model developed by Irving Rouse which has guided Caribbean archaeology for decades. Rodríguez Ramos departs from this methodology by implementing lithics as the primary unit for tracing the origins and developments of the indigenous peoples of Puerto Rico. Analyzing the technological styles involved in the production of stone artifacts in the island through time, as well as the evaluation of an inventory of more than 500 radiocarbon dates recovered since Rouse's model emerged, the author presents a truly innovative study revealing alternative perspectives on Puerto Rico's pre-Columbian culture-historical sequence. By applying a multiscalar design, he not only not only provides an analysis of the plural ways in which the precolonial peoples of the island interacted and negotiated their identities but also shows how the cultural landscapes of Puerto Rico, the Antilles, and the Greater Caribbean shaped and were shaped by mutually constituting processes through time.
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