Abstract and Keywords
The contrast between the insatiable European ambition for gold and an apparent lack of interest in using it by the native people has contributed to a popular image that underestimates the cultural importance of metals among the indigenous population of the Antilles. In the last few years, new research has focused on the functions and mythical meanings of metals, emphasizing their value to understanding the links between the insular and the continental Caribbean. It is also worth highlighting the development of archaeometric studies focused on materials excavated from Cuba. This article examines this recent work together with ethnohistorical and documentary information, presenting a generalizing view that acknowledges the importance of metal artifacts to indigenous cultures, and explores their role in the social transformations in the area.
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