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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the ethnohistory of the Jamaican Taíno and the archaeological sequence. It dispels the notion that archaeological data from Jamaica are simply lacking. Nonetheless, there are gaps, not least in thoroughly documented, systematic data recovery that is published in detail. One recurrent issue, often tacit, is the relationship of the Jamaican Western Taíno to the Classic Taíno of Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and eastern Cuba. On present evidence, Jamaica did not experience human settlement in a preceramic period, and not even in the period of the Saladoid series cultures. However, two items still set the Classic societies apart. One is the ball courts or bateyes, still missing from Jamaica. The other is the Chican Ostionoid pottery, more ornate and elaborate than the Meillacan styles, which typifies post-AD 900 Jamaica.

Keywords: Jamaican archaeological data, Antilles, Jamaican Taíno, Classic Taíno culture, Chican Ostionoid pottery

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