Life in an Indigenous town during an understudied era of Haitian history
“A rich body of data that can be used by many future generations. A great contribution to Caribbean archaeology and to the study of early European colonization of the Americas.”—L. Antonio Curet, coeditor of Islands at the Crossroads: Migration, Seafaring, and Interaction in the Caribbean
“A compelling piece about the Indigenous communities at En Bas Saline. A great contribution to Caribbean archaeology and specifically to Haitian history.”—Joseph Sony Jean, Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies
“Deagan’s many publications provide important overviews of the late precolonial and early colonial periods in the circum-Caribbean. This book—focusing on the Indigenous community of En Bas Saline, Haiti, and its later links to Columbus’s first settlement, La Navidad—is another milestone.”—Joanna Ostapkowicz, coeditor of Iconography and Wetsite Archaeology of Florida’s Watery Realms
This book details the Indigenous Taíno occupation at En Bas Saline in Hispaniola between AD 1250 and 1520, showing how the community coped with the dramatic changes imposed by Spanish contact. En Bas Saline is the largest late precontact Taíno town recorded in what is now Haiti; the only one that has been extensively excavated and analyzed; and one of few with archaeologically documented occupation both before and after the arrival of Columbus in 1492. It is thought to be the site of La Navidad, Columbus’s first settlement, where the cacique Guacanagarí offered refuge and shelter after the sinking of the Santa María.
Kathleen Deagan provides an intrasite and spatial analysis of En Bas Saline by focusing on households, foodways, ceramics, and crafts and offers insights into social organization and chiefly power in this political center through domestic and ornamental material culture. Postcontact changes are seen in patterns of gendered behavior, as well as in the power base of the caciques, challenging the traditional assumption that Taíno society was devastatingly disrupted almost immediately after contact. En Bas Saline is the only archaeological account of the consequences of contact from the perspective of the Taíno peoples’ lived experience.
Kathleen Deagan is Distinguished Research Curator of Archaeology Emerita and the Emerita Lockwood Professor of Florida and Caribbean Archaeology at the University of Florida. Her many books include Puerto Real: The Archaeology of a Sixteenth-Century Spanish Town in Hispaniola. Deagan is the recipient of many awards, including the J. C. Harrington Award for lifetime distinction from the Society for Historical Archaeology.
A volume in the Florida Museum of Natural History: Ripley P. Bullen Series