Universiteit Leiden

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Archaeology of the Americas

The main research areas are the development of Amerindian societies and the impacts of colonial encounters in the regions around the Caribbean Sea. These are the nexus of the first interactions between the New and the Old World. The focus is on rewriting a crucial and neglected chapter in global history initiated by European colonisation by focussing on transformations to indigenous, Amerindian cultures and societies.

This is done within the framework of three multi-disciplinary projects: NEXUS1492 (ERC Synergy Grant), CARIB (HERA grant) and NWO Island Networks. The unique combination of archaeology, history, archaeometry and social networks will lead to a better understanding of the region during the Colonial Encounters period.

The second area of investigation concerns the development of Amerindian societies in the American Isthmus of southern Central America, a continental passageway not unlike the linear shape of the Antilles. Supported by an NWO VIDI grant, this exploratory focus is building pioneering baseline data sets concerning the movement of people and objects in one of the least studied parts of the Americas.