The Conservation, Excavation, and Analysis of Ancient Human Remains: A Bioarchaeological Case Study of Prehistoric Reburials from Nevis, West Indies
Master of Arts (MA)
Ancient Human Remains, Bioarchaeological Case Study, Caribbean Archaeology, Nevis West Indies, Physical Anthropology, Prehistoric Reburials
Physical anthropology; Archaeology; Caribbean studies
In the summer of 2015, the cranium of what seemed to be an indigenous Caribbean individual was discovered partially exposed on White’s Bay Beach, Nevis. The following year, upon excavation of two known burial sites, a test pit brought forth an additional burial of two individuals dating about 1025-1275 AD. Currently, there is very little known about this period causing confusion about the migration and settlement patterns of the Caribbean people during this time. Additionally, the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society is experiencing rising concerns of the demolition and utilization of their historical land and beaches for infrastructural development. As the tourist economy and access to the internet have increased, economic development has become far more important to developers and landowners than land preservation. As a result, this has caused an increase in beach erosion and historically documented and undocumented lands are being developed, erasing the cultures and histories present on this land. This thesis argues that a case study of prehistoric human remains found on White’s Bay Beach can be used to describe and better understand the culture, customs, and heritage, of both the current and indigenous population on Nevis. It can also help educate and inform the current Nevisian residents on the importance of decreasing construction and preserving these lands. Traditional excavation methods and a combination of visual and metric observations were used to collect skeletal data. The results of this case study found that these burials belonged to the Taíno people, providing valuable information that will allow a better understanding of the Caribbean people during the end of the Ostionoid period (600-1500 CE).
Massaro, Marissa Nicole, "The Conservation, Excavation, and Analysis of Ancient Human Remains: A Bioarchaeological Case Study of Prehistoric Reburials from Nevis, West Indies" (2018). Master's Theses. 4946.