Grenada and the Guianas: mainland connections and cultural resilience during the Caribbean Late Ceramic Age

posted on 20.05.2019 by Jonathan A. Hanna

In the Lesser Antilles, the Late Ceramic Age (AD 750–1500) witnessed widespread cultural differentiation and population fluctuation, often characterized as a time of introspection and decline. Using the adaptive cycles of resilience theory as a heuristic framework, this paper compares data from 25 settlements on Grenada with the available climate and vegetation records, as well as a sum probability (SPD) model of relative changes in the island’s population to better understand the dramatic shifts in Late Ceramic material culture. The study finds this shift (including everything from ceramics to demographics to the appearance of petroglyphs and workstones) occurred during both heightened climatic instability and a population influx – likely of Arauquinoid groups from coastal South America. That is, the ‘decline’ in ceramic types was not an in situ phenomenon, but directly reflective of events occurring on the mainland.