Lapidary production in the eastern Caribbean: a typo-technological and microwear study of ornaments from the site of Pearls, Grenada
This article, by Catarina Guzzo Falci, Annelou van Gijn, Alice Knaf, Gareth Davies, and Corinne Hofman, was published today in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. Read the abstract below!
The present paper examines bodily ornaments made of semiprecious lithic materials from the site of Pearls on the island of Grenada. The site was an important node in long-distance interaction networks at play between circum-Caribbean communities during the first centuries of the Common Era. Pearls was an amethyst bead-making workshop and a gateway to South America, from where certain lapidary raw materials likely originated. The importance of the site for regional archaeology and local stakeholders cannot be overstated. However, it has undergone severe destruction and looting over the decades. Here, we present a study of a private collection of ornaments from Pearls, which combines raw material identification, typo-technological analysis and microwear analysis. We identify great diversity in lithologies and in techniques adapted to their working properties. Multiple abrasive techniques for sawing, grinding, polishing and carving are identified. Furthermore, the use of ornaments is examined for the first time. Finally, we contrast our dataset to other Antillean sites and propose management patterns for each raw material. Our approach ultimately provides new insights on ornament making at Pearls and on its role in regional networks.
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