Out of Florida: examining the South American model of archaic Caribbean settlement
The US model of primary migration to and throughout the Caribbean originated in the 19th Century, based predominantly the work of J. Walter Fewkes in 1903, and maintained by Irving Rouse until his final work in 1992. Both scholars presumed water was a barrier to travel. Archaeological remains of dugout canoes on the northern Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River watershed, burials and stone artifacts found in the Northern Caribbean, and recent genetic studies of human and plant remains, cast significant doubt on those founding assumptions. A mostly land-based, late-arrival settlement scheme moving northward from South American cannot accommodate those discoveries. Further, a northward migration depends on the oldest materials found at the southern-most point of the island chain. In most US literature, the Banwari Trace site of Trinidad island has been used, which dated no earlier than 7,000BP. This paper demonstrates a southward migration from North America predating 7,000BP cannot be excluded from Caribbean settlement and migration. It also identifies non-English researchers whose models already account for the data. It concludes the Caribbean should be placed at the center of overall migration throughout the Americas, rather than its current role in US literature on the periphery of mainland populations.
Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Anthropology