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Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology

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Jamaica -- History -- 15th-20th centuries, Archaeology -- Methodology, Antiquities -- Analysis, Jamaica -- Material culture -- History


One of the most challenging statements in the Archaeology of the New World is the one made by James Deetz, an eminent Archaeologist, that: "The personalities of prehistory will remain forever nameless and without faces", (Deetz 1977). Any one with background training in prehistoric Archaeology of the Old ~rid would at first glance at the statement view it with scorn. I was no exception to this reaction. But when I started updating myself on archaeological studies in the Caribbean I started giving the statement a serious thought especially having come across Clinton Black's description of the first Jamaicans as "a peaceful, primitive people, still in the Stone Age state of development as the fifteenth century A.D. drew to its close" (Black 1958, 1973). Much more frightening were statements made in the literature on the history of Jamaica that categorically claim that the first Jamaicans were all exterminated. If this did happen then the statement that "the personalities" (the first Jamaicans and probably others) "may forever remain nameless and without faces" seemed a most serious one.

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