Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

U.S.-Cuban Dig Seeks Insight Into People Columbus Encountered

Date:
July 31, 2007
Source:
University Of Alabama
Summary:
Researchers in an ongoing U.S.-Cuban archaeological expedition are attempting to learn more about the native people Christopher Columbus encountered on his first voyage to the New World. The people Columbus encountered during his first voyage to northeastern Cuba in 1492 were Arawakan Indians.

The work will focused on a former large native village, El Chorro de Maita, in eastern Cuba.
Credit: Image courtesy of University Of Alabama

Researchers in an ongoing U.S.-Cuban archaeological expedition, co-led by The University of Alabama, are attempting to learn more about the native people Christopher Columbus encountered on his first voyage to the New World.

Related Articles


UA’s department of anthropology and the Central-Eastern Department of Archaeology of the science ministry in Cuba are partnering in the effort, funded by the National Geographic Society and focused on a former large native village, El Chorro de Maita, in eastern Cuba.

“This season, the team is mapping the site and determining the size and location of residential areas within it,” said Dr. Jim Knight, professor of anthropology at UA who set up the project and is advising it. “We hope to find evidence of how the residents of this large Indian town were affected by the Spanish conquest of Cuba.”

The expedition, which began July 15 and is scheduled to continue until Aug. 10, provides a historic opportunity for the two UA graduate students who are participating in the expedition alongside professional archaeologists. Roberto Valcarcel is leading the Cuban contingent.

“This is the first ever international U.S.-Cuban partnership in archaeology to involve U.S. students,” Knight said.

The people Columbus encountered during his first voyage to northeastern Cuba in 1492 were Arawakan Indians. There is no evidence, Knight said, that Columbus visited El Chorro de Maita, but this large village was also occupied by Arawakans.

The Arawakans of that day were of a similar level of sophistication, although quite different culturally, as the Mississippian Indians, their contemporaries, who lived at Moundville, some 13 miles south of Tuscaloosa. Knight has studied the Mississippian Indians for more than 30 years.

“They were chiefdoms, as were the inhabitants of Moundville,” Knight said. “And they were agriculturalists, but they relied on root crops instead of corn.”

Chiefdom is the name given to societies of the period that were headed by a chief, who would have unusual ritual, political or entrepreneurial skills. The societies were very hierarchical, with power concentrated among kin leaders, who would redistribute their resources to others. The effort presents researchers with an opportunity to fill a void in knowledge about the Arawakans, Knight said.

As part of the project, Dr. John Worth will travel to Spain to search the archives for documents relating to the early history of the Indians of Cuba. The project is a part of the UA Cuba Initiative, which provides opportunities for UA students to pursue their education under a special academic license granted by the U.S. government.

Knight said the two countries' researchers are focused on archaeology rather than the strained relations between the U.S. and Cuban governments. Since 2002, UA has received academic travel licenses from the U.S. Department of the Treasury which permits travel to Cuba for specific academic activities.

“The licenses encourage the kind of work that we’re doing,” Knight said. “The only politics we’re interested in is 16th century politics. It’s all about archaeology and history.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Alabama. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Alabama. "U.S.-Cuban Dig Seeks Insight Into People Columbus Encountered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070727170655.htm>.
University Of Alabama. (2007, July 31). U.S.-Cuban Dig Seeks Insight Into People Columbus Encountered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070727170655.htm
University Of Alabama. "U.S.-Cuban Dig Seeks Insight Into People Columbus Encountered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070727170655.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) Hundreds of archeological jewels in and around the town of 30,000 people prompt geologists and archeologists to call the Erfoud area "the largest open air fossil museum in the world". Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) A 45,000-year-old thighbone is showing when humans and neanderthals may have first interbred and revealing details about our origins. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins