On Monday, 15 February 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Professor Corinne Hofman of the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University and Professor Albert Feilzer from the Academic Centre for Dentistry (ACTA), University of Amsterdam and VU University, Amsterdam.
In 2010, the remnants of a 16th century indigenous village were discovered in St. Vincent, on the construction terrain of the new International Argyle Airport. The Amerindian village is now being reconstructed based on excavated floor plans and the detailed descriptions of 16th century travellers. The Cayo Village Reconstruction Project at Argyle is the first and only Kalinago-European site of encounter to be found and fully excavated.
The site was initially excavated by NEXUS 1492 archaeologists Dr. Corinne Hofman and Dr. Menno Hoogland and revealed floor plans of eleven Amerindian houses. Two of these dwellings were larger, elongated structures, which, using the dictionaries of Reverend Raymond Breton, were interpreted as men’s houses. Breton’s dictionaries include detailed descriptions of the houses and building materials.
On 26 and 27 February, NEXUS1492 hosted a series of workshops on indigenous and pre-colonial Kalinago heritage with a group of teachers from Dominica at Salybia Primary School. The feedback from the teachers was great, and members of the community expressed their motivation to keep working in outreach and education based on the training.
A film by students participating in the 2016 Fieldwork campaign in the Dominican Republic (video edited by Emma de Mooij).
As part of the International Association of Caribbean Archaeologists congress in 2015, trips were organised to visit the heritage of Sint Maarten, St. Martin and Aguila. This video was created during these trips, by Till Sonneman.
Archaeologists have discovered the skeleton of a pregnant woman from the mid-eighteenth century in Saba, in a collaboration between NEXUS1492 and SABARC. The skeleton was discovered in the upper layers of the soil near a construction site for Saba’s new power plant, where archaeologists were excavating in search of an ancient Amerindian layer of artefacts that dates back thousands of years.
An international team of researchers, involving members from the ERC Synergy project NEXUS 1492 based at the Leiden University, the Universities of Oklahoma, Copenhagen and York reveal challenges when studying ancient microbiomes in a recent issue of Scientific Reports. The paper, entitled Intrinsic challenges in ancient microbiome reconstruction using 16S rRNA gene amplification, refines analytical methods for ancient microbiome research. The study shows that targeted amplification, an approach generally used in research on microbiomes produces highly skewed data when used for ancient DNA. Instead, the researchers suggest shotgun metagenomics as an alternative approach to reconstruct ancient microbiomes.
As tropical storm Erika forms, the Caribbean prepares itself for the yearly hurricane season. The islands in the region are plagued regularly by natural disasters: tropical storms are the norm. Often these storms develop into destructive hurricanes and sometimes the islands suffer from earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. After a devastating earthquake wreaked havoc in Haiti in 2010, international humanitarian aid formed a key part of the disaster response, providing the bare necessities: water, food, medical assistance and shelter. Rebuilding after natural disasters is a significant challenge for these communities. Now archaeologists are uncovering how early settlers adapted their shelters to the harsh conditions of the region.
San José, capital of Costa Rica, may not be the main tourist destination of this beautiful Central American country. Tourists normally spend a night or two at the city on their way to paradise-like beaches or national parks. Nonetheless, for the museum- or heritage-enthusiast, San José offers plenty of opportunity to explore the rich archaeological heritage of Central America and its Caribbean coastline.
The Hera Carib project studies how people lived in the Lesser Antilles. In this short video, our colleagues from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven talk about the life of cycle ceramics: what material they are made of, how and for what purpose they are made.