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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Historical archaeology resonates well with efforts to unravel, understand, explain, and interpret the complex cultural heritage of the Caribbean region. The Caribbean is a diverse region created through the combination of insularity and complex trajectories of local cultural expressions. This article presents an overview of historical archaeology as practiced in the islands over the past 50 years. The discussion includes points of contact, colonialism, plantation systems, slavery and resistance, material-culture studies, and preserving and interpreting cultural heritage. As represented by the diversity of prehistoric cultures, early explorers encountered an array of societies, and ecosystems much modified by human use. From the Columbian encounter, the history of every island was based on unique relationships tied to indigenous lifeways and carried forward as unique expressions of an array of colonial polities.

Keywords: material culture, cultural heritage, Caribbean region, colonialism, plantation systems, historical archaeology

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