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date: 15 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Pottery figurines made by the indigenous peoples in precolonial times have been a relatively rare finding in the Caribbean. A few dozen recovered across the Greater and Lesser Antilles cannot ‘compete’ with the thousands known from the neighbouring mainland. The lack of sound contextual and chronological data has severely limited the role of figurines in the pageant of the region’s past. Rarely addressed in the archaeological literature, figurines have been the focus of scant substantial research. This chapter examines what is currently known about precolonial figurines in the Greater and Lesser Antilles, and on the Southern Caribbean islands. It discusses the precolonial archaeology of the region in order to facilitate the overview of figurines which follows. The case studies are ordered diachronically and include Puerto Rico, Cuba, St Lucia, and the Los Roques Archipelago. Existing figurine interpretations are addressed and the chapter concludes with suggestions for future research.

Keywords: Caribbean, Greater and Lesser Antilles, precolonial archaeology, pottery figurines, indigenous peoples

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