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date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the geographical setting and the effects of past sea levels, the present and past marine climate, and watercraft that may have been used in the Caribbean region. It notes that understanding seafaring in the Antilles is critical to understanding the nature of migration, cultural interaction, and the cultures themselves. Acquiring this understanding has been hampered by two factors. The first is the paucity of early historic reports regarding the size and speed of watercraft and the geographic knowledge held by the general population. The second factor is the “stepping-stone” configuration of the islands, which has led researchers to make assumptions about routes of migration and contact that are not necessarily well supported. Aside from contacts with South America, other mainland contacts have often been rejected out of hand without adequate analysis.

Keywords: Antillean seafaring, cultural interaction, stepping-stone pattern, South America, migration

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