|Tea, Popovers, & Archaeology is sponsored by The Acadia Corporation.|
This year, Dr. John G. Crock, a Bar Harbor native and Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Vermont, will present his research on the archaeology of the small islands of the northern Lesser Antilles where population growth 1,000 years ago was supported by a heavy reliance on seafood, interisland trade, and a religious ideology unique to the Caribbean.
The small islands of the northern Lesser Antilles were some of the first to be settled by sedentary fisher-farmers during the Early Ceramic Age, as early as 500 B.C. Extensive networks of trade and exchange connected island communities with other islands and with their ancestral mainland "home." Over the next millennium, as populations grew and adapted to specific local island environments, systems of exchange developed to support a rapid growth in the number of newly established communities. Higher volumes of differentially available raw materials and finished products were transshipped between islands. By the late Ceramic Age, ca. A.D. 600-1500, Amerindians in these small islands were as maritime-adapted as any in the world, as reflected by their food remains and the off-island origin of materials used to manufacture stone tools, ceramics, adornments and religious paraphernalia. The same interisland systems that supported the subsistence and material needs of coastal communities also supported the maintenance of social networks and cultural connections, both within the northern Lesser Antilles and between the small islands and the Greater Antilles to the west. Archaeologically, this cultural relationship is reflected in the shared importance of ceremonial cave sites, and artifacts that express a broadly shared religious ideology and view of the island world, including three-pointed stone idols, shell ornaments, and decorated ceramics.