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Archaeoprimatology – a term originally coined by one of the editors – explores the interface between humans and nonhuman primates (hereafter referred to as ‘primates’) in antiquity. Hence, archaeoprimatology embraces, both theoretically and methodologically, the disciplines of archaeology and primatology. Archaeoprimatological research is still relatively limited despite its significant implications that range from the art history realm of past iconographic identification of primates to a better grasp of current primate conservation issues. Archaeoprimatology is a discipline that offers multiple perspectives to understand the roots of our perception and apprehension of our own taxonomic group, the order Primates. The edited volume in your hands –the first fully devoted to this discipline – is thus intended to serve as an effort to promote and expand archaeoprimatological studies.
This chapter presents a comprehensive review of the interaction between circum-Caribbean indigenous peoples and nonhuman primates before and at early European contact. It fills significant gaps in contemporary scholarly literature by providing an updated archaeological history of the social and symbolic roles of monkeys in this region. We begin by describing the zooarchaeological record of primates in the insular and coastal circum-Caribbean Ceramic period archaeological sites. Drawing from the latest archaeological investigations that use novel methods and techniques, we also review other biological evidence of the presence of monkeys. In addition, we compile a list of indigenously crafted portable material imagery and review rock art that allegedly depicts primates in the Caribbean. Our investigation is supplemented by the inclusion of written documentary sources, specifically, ethnoprimatological information derived from early ethnohistorical sources on the multifarious interactions between humans and monkeys in early colonial societies. Finally, we illustrate certain patterns that may have characterized interactions between humans and monkeys in past societies of the circum-Caribbean region (300–1500 CE), opening avenues for future investigations of this topic.
Archaeoprimatology, Ceramic period, Greater and Lesser Antilles, Island and coastal archaeology, Saladoid, Taíno, Trinidad, Venezuela
Archaeoprimatology intertwines archaeology and primatology to understand the ancient liminal relationships between humans and nonhuman primates. During the last decade, novel studies have boosted this discipline. This edited volume is the first compendium of archaeoprimatological studies ever produced. Written by a culturally diverse group of scholars, with multiple theoretical views and methodological perspectives, it includes new zooarchaeological examinations and material culture evaluations, as well as innovative uses of oral and written sources. Themes discussed comprise the survey of past primates as pets, symbolic mediators, prey, iconographic references, or living commodities. The book covers different regions of the world, from the Americas to Asia, along with studies from Africa and Europe. Temporally, the chapters explore the human-nonhuman primate interface from deep in time to more recent historical times, examining both extinct and extant primate taxa. This anthology of archaeoprimatological studies will be of interest to archaeologists, primatologists, anthropologists, art historians, paleontologists, conservationists, zoologists, historical ecologists, philologists, and ethnobiologists.
The early colonial period witnessed new scales of connectivity and unprecedented projects of resource extraction across the Spanish Americas. Yet such transformations also drew heavily on preexisting Indigenous landscapes, technologies, and institutions. Drawing together recent discussions in archaeology and geography about mobility and resource materialities, this article takes the early colonial route as a central object of investigation and contributes to new emerging interpretive frameworks that make sense of Spanish colonialism in the Americas as a variable, large-scale, and materially constituted process. Using three case studies—the ruta de Colón on the island of Hispaniola, the routes connecting the southeastern Caribbean islands with mainland South America, and the ruta de la plata in the south-central Andes—we develop a comparative archaeological analysis that reveals divergent trajectories of persistence, appropriation, and erasure in the region's routes and regimes of extraction and mobility during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
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