Pottery Analysis Offers Clues to Caribbean Island Trade Routes

Caribbean Island PotteryGAINESVILLE, FLORIDA—According to a statement released by the Florida Museum of Natural History, analysis of pottery samples from 11 islands in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos has revealed where the vessels originated and offered clues to how they were used. The chemical composition of the pottery was compared to the levels of copper, nickel, chromium, and antimony found in island soils. Pottery made by the Lucayans, or People of the Islands, from the soils of the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos is known as Palmetto Ware. It is thick and soft due to the grainy soil blown in from the Saharan Desert. But the study indicates that much of the pottery found on these islands was made on the northwest coast of Hispaniola, a larger Caribbean Island located to the south. Pottery made in Hispaniola could have been used to transport a variety of goods to and from the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos. The researchers knew that the Lucayans were related to people in Hispaniola, explained Emily Kracht of the museum’s Ceramic Technology Lab, and this study indicates that their relationship endured over hundreds of years through pottery. Read the original scholarly article about this research in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. To read about the origins of an ancient Taino woman whose remains were found on the island of Eleuthera, go to “World Roundup: Bahamas.”

Source: archaeology.org

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