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HISTORY OF CUBA

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« Reply #45 on: January 28, 2009, 06:39:18 pm »










'EVERYTHING WENT FLYING'



In Los Palacios, a few miles from Paso Quemado, streets were lined with debris as people swept water from their homes and picked up the tree branches, broken glass and roof tiles that littered their yards.

"It was terrible, never in my life have I seen anything like it," said Mirelys, a 32-year-old bank employee who did not give her full name.

"Everything went flying," she said. "My sister's house completely collapsed, she managed to get out before it fell on top of her."

"It was the worst storm I've ever seen," said Noel, 37, an unemployed resident of Santa Cruz, in a comment heard often on Sunday in the province.

Along the main highway from Havana, the Cuban capital, trees blocked the way in places and in others, big power lines from the fallen high tension towers draped across the roadway. Military units and average citizens worked to clear the roads.

Rolling fields of sugar cane that stretched to the distant mountains leaned in the direction of the wind, but were not flattened.

Damage to recently harvested tobacco in Pinar del Rio, the heart of Cuba's prized industry, was not yet known.

There was little information from the Isle of Youth, but state television showed pictures of destroyed homes, submerged factories and boats lifted from their moorings and left in city streets.

The 800,000 residents of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth remained without power on Sunday, as did many of the more than 3 million residents of adjoining Havana province and the capital.

The capital's streets were littered with branches, shrubs and trees. In some places, windows had blown from buildings and light poles were knocked over.

Wind and rain damaged banana plantations and other crops in Havana province, the capital's bread basket.

The Cuban weather service said one of its stations measured a gust of 211 mph, the highest ever recorded.

As they looked over the surrounding chaos, Cubans showed good humor.

"Zone of destruction," a Los Palacios man shouted, holding his arms out and smiling broadly.




(Additional reporting by Marc Franc; editing by Michael Christie and Mohammad Zargham)
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« Reply #46 on: January 28, 2009, 06:43:15 pm »

         

                The work will focused on a former large native village,
                El Chorro de Maita, in eastern Cuba.

                (Credit: Image courtesy of University Of Alabama)









                              U.S.-Cuban Dig Seeks Insight Into People Columbus Encountered






ScienceDaily
(July 31, 2007) —

Researchers in an ongoing U.S.-Cuban archaeological expedition, co-led by The University of Alabama, are attempting to learn more about the native people Christopher Columbus encountered on his first voyage to
the New World.

UA’s department of anthropology and the Central-Eastern Department of Archaeology of the science ministry
in Cuba are partnering in the effort, funded by the National Geographic Society and focused on a former large
native village, El Chorro de Maita, in eastern Cuba.

“This season, the team is mapping the site and determining the size and location of residential areas within it,”
said Dr. Jim Knight, professor of anthropology at UA who set up the project and is advising it. “We hope to find evidence of how the residents of this large Indian town were affected by the Spanish conquest of Cuba.”

The expedition, which began July 15 and is scheduled to continue until Aug. 10, provides a historic opportunity
for the two UA graduate students who are participating in the expedition alongside professional archaeologists. Roberto Valcarcel is leading the Cuban contingent.

“This is the first ever international U.S.-Cuban partnership in archaeology to involve U.S. students,” Knight said.

The people Columbus encountered during his first voyage to northeastern Cuba in 1492 were Arawakan Indians. There is no evidence, Knight said, that Columbus visited El Chorro de Maita, but this large village was also
occupied by Arawakans.

The Arawakans of that day were of a similar level of sophistication, although quite different culturally, as the Mississippian Indians, their contemporaries, who lived at Moundville, some 13 miles south of Tuscaloosa. Knight
has studied the Mississippian Indians for more than 30 years.

“They were chiefdoms, as were the inhabitants of Moundville,” Knight said. “And they were agriculturalists, but
they relied on root crops instead of corn.”

Chiefdom is the name given to societies of the period that were headed by a chief, who would have unusual ritual, political or entrepreneurial skills. The societies were very hierarchical, with power concentrated among kin leaders, who would redistribute their resources to others. The effort presents researchers with an opportunity to fill a void
in knowledge about the Arawakans, Knight said.

As part of the project, Dr. John Worth will travel to Spain to search the archives for documents relating to the early history of the Indians of Cuba. The project is a part of the UA Cuba Initiative, which provides opportunities for UA students to pursue their education under a special academic license granted by the U.S. government.

Knight said the two countries' researchers are focused on archaeology rather than the strained relations between the U.S. and Cuban governments. Since 2002, UA has received academic travel licenses from the U.S. Department of the Treasury which permits travel to Cuba for specific academic activities.

“The licenses encourage the kind of work that we’re doing,” Knight said. “The only politics we’re interested in is 16th century politics. It’s all about archaeology and history.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Adapted from materials provided by University Of Alabama.
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 MLA University Of Alabama (2007, July 31). U.S.-Cuban Dig Seeks Insight Into People Columbus Encountered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 7, 2008, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/07/070727170655.htm
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« Reply #47 on: January 28, 2009, 06:45:52 pm »










                   Humble Shoelace Tag Carried More Currency Than Gold On Columbus's Travels






ScienceDaily
(Oct. 5, 2006) —

The humble device that prevents shoelaces from fraying was deemed to be worth more than gold by
the indigenous Cubans who traded with Columbus's fleet, a study led by UCL (University College London) archaeologists has discovered.

Reporting in next month's edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science, the researchers analysed burial material -- such as beads and pendants -- excavated from one of the largest burial sites in northeast Cuba. To their surprise very little gold was discovered, despite its relative abundance in the region. Instead, the most common artefacts were small metal tubes made of brass that were often threaded into necklaces.

While brass making was widespread in medieval and earlier Europe, no evidence exists of brass production in America by indigenous people in the Caribbean -- known as Taíno -- before the arrival of the Europeans. Using microstructural and chemical analysis, the researchers were able to prove the brass originated in Germany.

Columbus's 1492 Spanish fleet was the first European presence to arrive in Cuba and radiocarbon dating shows remains from the burial site at El Chorro de Maíta, Cuba date from a few decades after the conquest. Columbus's diaries also mention the trade of lacetags.

A review of relevant literature and paintings from European sources revealed that the most likely origin of the tubes was not beads but strung together lacetags, or aglets, from European clothing. From the 15th century onwards, these were used to prevent the ends of laces from fraying, and to ease threading in the points for fastening clothes such as doublets and hose. Examples of such usage include a 1636 portrait of William Style of Langley (Tate Gallery, London), which depicts the use of aglets in his waist to secure his trousers through his jacket. Original lacetags excavated from across London that date back to the 13th century can also be found in the Museum of London's Archaeological Archive.

Dr Marcos Martinón-Torres, of the UCL Institute of Archaeology, who led the research, explains: "Early chroniclers report that pure gold, or caona, was considered the least valuable metal amongst indigenous Cubans, significantly less esteemed and less sacred than copper-based alloys. Allegedly, the smell and iridescence of brass was what made it particularly appealing. If we couple this with the contrasting eagerness of the Spanish for plundering noble metals, then we have a paramount factor explaining the scarcity of gold in the cemetery at El Chorro de Maíta, and the relative abundance of brass.

"It would have been impossible for the first Europeans arriving in the Caribbean to envisage the colossal value that their metal would accomplish in trade with the indigenous population. Accordingly, one could not expect them to have loaded up their ships with unnecessarily large amounts of metals. Upon arrival, with virtually any metal gadget becoming precious amongst the Taíno, European conquerors would have traded anything they had at hand, including the cheap and dispensable lacetags. Moreover, these had a suitable shape for threading and turning into visible pendants. Functional European brass was thus conceptually transformed, not only, into an ornament but it conveyed supernatural powers to the wearer."

Located in the Banes area of the Holguín province, El Chorro de Maíta is well known as one of the largest archaeological sites in northeast Cuba. During the 1980s, 120 skeletons were excavated, of which 25 per cent were found with burial goods thought to signify their wealth or position in Taínos society. Alongside ornaments made of stone, pearl, resin and coral, three types of metal objects were identified. Initial analysis by archaeologist Roberto Valcárcel Rojas of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment in La Habana, Cuba, found they were composed of gold and two types of alloy, gold-copper-silver and zinc-rich copper alloys -- or brass.
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« Reply #48 on: January 28, 2009, 06:47:07 pm »










The lack of more sophisticated technical equipment and expertise prevented further analysis until Mr Valcárcel visited the unique on-site facilities in the UCL Institute of Archaeology last year, where scanning electron microscopy and X-ray microanalytical techniques were applied to the artefacts.

"The key to deciphering where metals come from is to look at their geochemical signature," explains Dr Martinón-Torres. "The technology to exploit copper and silver was unknown to the Taíno but was in common use on mainland South American, which strongly suggests that the alloy was imported from within America. However, brass production was unknown outside Europe.

"Brass is an alloy composed of copper and zinc but, depending on where the constitute metals come from, they also have traces of other elements. Using techniques equivalent to looking at the DNA of the metal we were able to show that minute iron, lead and tin impurities were consistent with brass objects from Nuremberg at this time.

"Although we lack detailed information on the supply of brass in 16th century Spain, it seems very plausible that the German metal used for these tubes could have reached Spain via established commercial routes before being brought to Cuba."

Professor Thilo Rehren, of the UCL Institute of Archaeology, and senior author of the study, says: "Acquiring gold of the New World quickly became one of the major aspirations of the European colonists, and ethnohistorical accounts highlight how they endeavoured to liaise with the emerging local elites to barter for their circulating gold and exploit some of their other natural resources. The relationship between Europeans and Americans, in which metals seem to have played a very significant role, dramatically affected the later history of both peoples. The removal of noble metals had a significant impact on the later economy and goes some way to explaining why Europe is rich today compared with Cuba."

Roy Stephenson, the Museum of London's archaeological archive manager, added: "This is fascinating work carried out by UCL which will shed light on what appears to be quite dreary and repetitive finds, but in reality tells a compelling story about international trade."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Adapted from materials provided by University College London, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA


 MLA University College London (2006, October 5). Humble Shoelace Tag Carried More Currency Than Gold On Columbus's Travels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 7, 2008, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2006/10/061003085842.htm
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« Reply #49 on: January 28, 2009, 06:49:14 pm »










                        Artifacts, Documents Reveal Info About Those Columbus Met in Cuba






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Life News (Social and Behavioral Sciences)   Keywords

CUBA CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS ARAWAKAN INDIANS ARCHAEOLOGY EL CHORRO DE MAITA SPANISH COLONIZERS AL 

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Interpretations of a now defunct form of Spanish writing, in combination with a joint U.S.-Cuban archaeological effort, are granting researchers insight into the Cuban people who Christopher Columbus encountered on his first voyage to the “New World.” During the two previous summers, an archaeological effort in eastern Cuba has recovered several thousand pottery and stone artifacts from the site of a former large native village, El Chorro de Maita. 
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« Reply #50 on: January 28, 2009, 06:53:36 pm »








Newswise.com —
Dec. 9, 2008

Interpretations of a now defunct form of Spanish writing, in combination with a joint U.S.-Cuban archaeological effort, are granting researchers insight into the Cuban people who Christopher Columbus encountered on his first voyage to the “New World.”

During the two previous summers, an archaeological effort in eastern Cuba has recovered several thousand pottery and stone artifacts from the site of a former large native village, El Chorro de Maita. The effort is co-led by The University of Alabama and the Central-Eastern Department of Archaeology of the science ministry of Cuba and sponsored by the National Geographic Society. Roberto Valcarcel led the Cuban contingent.

Dr. Jim Knight, a UA professor of anthropology who set up and is advising the project, said the artifacts from the site, in combination with the research of documents archived in Spain, are shedding light on the early history of the Indians of Cuba.

“We should be able to put together a map of who was where – where the different towns and tribes were and which Spaniards were where and what they were up to,” Knight said. Handwritten documents originally produced by the early Spanish colonizers of Cuba recorded, as it were, some of the 16th-century “news of the day,” Knight said. On at least one occasion, a detailed inventory of the possessions of an early Spanish colonizer provides insight into 16th-century life. The researchers’ insight, however, doesn’t come without effort.

“It’s handwritten in a script that is barely recognizable as Spanish, even to a native speaker,” Knight said. Dr. John Worth, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of West Florida who is trained in interpreting the period’s writings, traveled to Spain to review the material and ordered relevant copies for further study. “Our hope is to correlate the documents with what we’re finding at the site,” Knight said.

The people Columbus encountered during his first voyage to northeastern Cuba in 1492 are known as Arawakan Indians. There is no concrete evidence, Knight said, that Columbus visited El Chorro de Maita, but this large village was occupied by Arawakans. There has been speculation since the 1940s, Knight said, that Columbus did visit the site. “That’s never been proven, but it’s in the right area,” he said.

The Arawakans of that day were of a similar level of sophistication, although quite different culturally, as the Mississippian Indians, their contemporaries, who lived at Moundville, some 13 miles south of Tuscaloosa and which Knight has studied for more than 30 years.

“They were chiefdoms, as were the inhabitants of Moundville,” Knight said. “And they were agriculturalists, but they primarily grew root crops instead of corn.”

Chiefdom is the name given to societies of the period that were headed by a chief, who would have unusual ritual, political or entrepreneurial skills. The societies were very hierarchical, with power concentrated within other kin leaders, who would then redistribute the resources to the others.

Artifacts recovered from the site, including evidence of the manufacturing of “idolillos,” or little idols, at portions of the site is among the evidence that the society had both elite and non-elite members, Knight said. The elite members of the group would have produced and worn these small, human-shaped figurines as part of a necklace. “They probably represent a god-figure, but we don’t know which god,” Knight said.

Working alongside the Cuban and U. S. professional archaeologists during the excavations were students from Syracuse and Penn State, and three students from The University of Alabama.

The project is a part of the UA Cuba Initiative, which provides opportunities for UA students to pursue their education under a special academic license granted by the U.S. government. Since 2002, UA has received academic travel licenses from the U.S. Department of the Treasury which permits travel to Cuba for specific academic activities.
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« Reply #51 on: January 28, 2009, 06:55:08 pm »









These five artifacts are among the several thousand recovered from the site of a 16th Century Cuban village during joint U.S. Cuban archaeological excavations during the last two summers.

Two of these artifacts (top row, right) are examples of unfinished "idolillos," or little idols.

These human-shaped figurines were produced at the site and worm by elite members of the group as part of a necklace.
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« Reply #52 on: January 28, 2009, 06:57:22 pm »











                                        Exotic Stone Relics Shed Light on Pre-Hispanic Cuba






Kelly Hearn
for National Geographic News
December 9, 2008

Stone idols collected over the last two years at an archaeological site in Cuba were manufactured from exotic imported material for elite Indians, according to U.S. and Cuban researchers who announced their finds this week.

The relics, combined with new translations of Spanish colony "newspapers" from the 1500s, help paint a picture of the Indian populations that Christopher Columbus encountered during his first voyage to the New World in 1492. 

In recent years, archeologists have worked to map the size and location of residential areas at the El Chorro de Maita site in hopes of learning how Cuba's Arawakan Indians were affected by Spanish conquest, said Jim Knight, a University of Alabama archaeologist who supervises work at the site.
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« Reply #53 on: January 28, 2009, 06:59:07 pm »







Stone Idols a Status Symbol



In the process of mapping, Knight and his colleagues happened upon several thousand pottery and stone artifacts, including the small stone idols.

"They took exotic, fine-grain metamorphic rocks and gradually reduced them into forms that look very crude, but you can tell that the intended product was an [idol]," said Knight, whose work is funded in part by the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration. (The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)

"We know now that the society had an elite class and that the crude idols were meant for the elite," he said, adding that the idols were human-shaped figures representing gods and were likely worn on necklaces.

The origins of the unusual stone are unknown, but it was probably imported, Knight said.

Columbus's voyage landed him in northeastern Cuba, where researchers say he would have encountered Arawakan Indians.

While Knight said there is no evidence that Columbus visited El Chorro de Maita, the researcher is certain that the settlement was occupied by Arawakans, who were organized by chiefdoms.

They were an agriculturist people, reliant on root crops instead of corn, but there is a lack of specific information about names of tribes and their specific locations, according to Knight.

To complement the findings at El Chorro, researchers are using historical documents—including handwritten materials made by Spanish colonizers of Cuba.

The documents are written in a barely recognizable form of Spanish that today few people understand, Knight said. But they are rich in information, he adds.

One 16th-century document, for example, offers a detailed inventory of an early Spanish colonizer's possessions.

John Worth, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of West Florida, is analyzing the documents, which are housed in Spain.

"I'm trying to sort through the details of how this all took place," Worth said. "The sources are excellent with respect to the broad generalities of what happened during the 1500s and 1600s and later, but they are generally not specific enough to be able to zero in on the Chorro site in particular."
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« Reply #54 on: January 28, 2009, 07:01:16 pm »










Post-Conquest



Worth said he hopes the old documents will provide clues to how long Cuba's Arawakan culture may have survived post-conquest.

"Right now there is a lot we don't know, such as the exact names of the people who lived near the Chorro site," Worth said. "We want to know if there were pure indigenous populations versus pure Spanish or if there was a mixing ground during this early period."

Researchers also want to know if the Cuban Indians went extinct without descendants or if there was a gradual process as native groups were given a type of autonomy that led to mixing, Worth said.

"While living there, for instance, did they work on Spanish plantations? Did they die or become more assimilated?"

The documents mention encomiendas—or colonial labor systems imposed by the Spanish crown during the time of the conquests. And Worth has found references to specific chiefs.

"If possible, I would like to be able to identify the original group name of those who lived in the vicinity of El Chorro de Maita and to then find out precisely where each chiefdom might have been located," he said.

"This project is an example of how the integration of archaeological and historical research allows more balanced perspectives on the contact between Europeans and indigenous communities of the Caribbean," said Marcos Martinón-Torres, a researcher with the Institute of Archeology at the University College London who is not part of the study.

"Rather than using potentially biased European texts alone, the combination of sources allows more nuanced perspectives where both Europeans and indigenous peoples are represented."
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« Reply #55 on: January 28, 2009, 07:04:25 pm »










Spanish Colonizers



Dennis Blanton, curator of Native American archeology at Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, Georgia, was not part of the Cuba dig.

Blanton said the work provides an opportunity to do cross-cultural comparative studies of native chiefdom societies in Cuba and elsewhere in the world, including the eastern United States.

The work also provides added insight into 16th- and 17th-century Spanish activity in the New World, Blanton said.

"We're curious to see how Spanish policies changed over time," he said. "This work provides a wonderful opportunity to see how they were conducting themselves in the midst of native people at the very beginning. This is probably an unprecedented glimpse at 'chapter one' of the Spanish encounters."
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« Reply #56 on: January 28, 2009, 07:07:37 pm »



Huts have been reconstructed near the site as a heritage center.

(photo credit: Institute of Archaeology, University College London)










                                  U.S.-Cuban Dig Seeks Insight Into People Columbus Encountered






ScienceDaily
(July 31, 2007)

— Researchers in an ongoing U.S.-Cuban archaeological expedition, co-led by The University of Alabama, are attempting to learn more about the native people Christopher Columbus encountered
on his first voyage to the New World.

UA’s department of anthropology and the Central-Eastern Department of Archaeology of the science ministry in Cuba are partnering in the effort, funded by the National Geographic Society and focused
on a former large native village, El Chorro de Maita, in eastern Cuba.

“This season, the team is mapping the site and determining the size and location of residential areas within it,” said Dr. Jim Knight, professor of anthropology at UA who set up the project and is advising it. “We hope to find evidence of how the residents of this large Indian town were affected by the Spanish conquest of Cuba.”

The expedition, which began July 15 and is scheduled to continue until Aug. 10, provides a historic opportunity for the two UA graduate students who are participating in the expedition alongside professional archaeologists. Roberto Valcarcel is leading the Cuban contingent.

“This is the first ever international U.S.-Cuban partnership in archaeology to involve U.S. students,” Knight said.

The people Columbus encountered during his first voyage to northeastern Cuba in 1492 were Arawakan Indians. There is no evidence, Knight said, that Columbus visited El Chorro de Maita, but this large village was also occupied by Arawakans.

The Arawakans of that day were of a similar level of sophistication, although quite different culturally, as the Mississippian Indians, their contemporaries, who lived at Moundville, some 13 miles south of Tuscaloosa. Knight has studied the Mississippian Indians for more than 30 years.

“They were chiefdoms, as were the inhabitants of Moundville,” Knight said. “And they were agriculturalists, but they relied on root crops instead of corn.”

Chiefdom is the name given to societies of the period that were headed by a chief, who would have unusual ritual, political or entrepreneurial skills. The societies were very hierarchical, with power concentrated among kin leaders, who would redistribute their resources to others. The effort presents researchers with an opportunity to fill a void in knowledge about the Arawakans, Knight said.

As part of the project, Dr. John Worth will travel to Spain to search the archives for documents relating to the early history of the Indians of Cuba. The project is a part of the UA Cuba Initiative, which provides opportunities for UA students to pursue their education under a special academic license granted by the U.S. government.

Knight said the two countries' researchers are focused on archaeology rather than the strained relations between the U.S. and Cuban governments. Since 2002, UA has received academic travel licenses from the U.S. Department of the Treasury which permits travel to Cuba for specific academic activities.

“The licenses encourage the kind of work that we’re doing,” Knight said. “The only politics we’re interested in is 16th century politics. It’s all about archaeology and history.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Adapted from materials provided by University Of Alabama.
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 MLA University Of Alabama (2007, July 31). U.S.-Cuban Dig Seeks Insight Into People Columbus Encountered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 10, 2008, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/07/070727170655.htm
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« Reply #57 on: January 28, 2009, 07:13:29 pm »










                                     Professor leads archaeological dig in Cuba








Former UA grad student Paul Noe
carefully digs within an excavation
square at the site of a former native
village in eastern Cuba.

Dec. 29, 2008
Archaeology Magazine News

A joint University of Alabama and Cuban archaeological dig in eastern Cuba is revealing how the natives there lived when Christopher Columbus found them and, more importantly, how Indians reacted to the Spanish.

“We have very few cases in the Caribbean where we can point to a certain place and say, ‘This is exactly what happened when Europeans hit the scene,’ ” said UA professor Jim Knight. “Of course, we have the Spanish documents, but archaeology can tell a different story sometimes. Some of these documents tend to whitewash what happened, but artifacts won’t lie.”

It took Knight nearly seven years to get permission and forms signed for UA to led an expedition in Cuba.

For the past two summers, UA graduate students worked alongside professional archaeologists with the Central-Eastern Department of Archaeology of the science ministry of Cuba to dig through El Chorro de Maita, a large Indian settlement on a hillside off island’s eastern shore. The effort was sponsored by the National Geographic Society.

“It’s extremely rare for a U.S. institution to partner with a Cuban institution. It’s been our hope we could work something out from our end, and it worked out,” he said.

Cubans have long worked with European archaeologists and researchers, and the site UA wanted to work is widely known in Cuba. There is a museum there, and Knight compared it to Moundville here in Alabama.

Knight is well-versed in Native American culture in the Southeast and studying their encounters with Spanish conquistadors is a natural transition for the UA professor. The dig in Cuba recovered several thousand Spanish artifacts, far more than on any site Knight had ever seen, he said.

But archaeologists also found small stone idols, evidence the society had a hierarchical structure. The Arawakan Indians were similar to those at Moundville, the Mississippian Indians, in structure and sophistication when Columbus landed in Cuba in 1492. Although it’s likely that the explorer landed near El Chorro de Maita, it’s impossible to tell, Knight said.

The site was an Indian town from the late 1300s to the early 1500s, when Spain conquered Cuba and essentially wiped out Arawakan society. It is that interim time period from Columbus’ landing to Spanish society’s dominance that Knight and other researchers in the project are interested in understanding.

For instance, among the Spanish artifacts at the site were fancy tableware, which could mean Spanish settlers lived in the old Indian huts for a time or that Indians picked up the habits of their conquerors.

To understand more of the two cultures’ interaction, John Worth, a professor of anthropology at the University of West Florida, joined the team to decipher Spanish government documents from the day. Written in a Spanish barely recognizable as such by today’s standards, Worth is hoping to align the documents with the timeline established by the dig in order to understand how the Arawakans eventually melded into Spanish culture.

“We’ll eventually narrow down and pin down who we’re talking about, what the nature of the Indian contact was there because we really don’t know yet what kind of operation there was in that particularly district,” Knight said.



(www.tuscaloosanews.com)
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« Reply #58 on: January 28, 2009, 07:23:41 pm »












                                          Amid worries, Cuba to mark 50 years of revolution




     

December 30, 2008.
HAVANA
(Reuters)

– Against a backdrop of economic gloom and the frail health of former leader Fidel Castro, Cuba will mark on Thursday the 50th anniversary of the revolution that turned the island into a communist state and Cold War hot spot at the doorstep of the United States.

President Raul Castro will speak in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba from the same balcony where his older brother, Fidel Castro, proclaimed victory after dictator Fulgencio Batista fled the country in the early morning hours of January 1, 1959.

The elder Castro, 82, in semi-seclusion since July 2006 after surgery for an undisclosed intestinal ailment, will not attend, officials said.

Due to his absence and the economic difficulties plaguing Cuba, what had been expected to be a major celebration of the revolution's longevity will be a no-frills event in a tree-shaded square with room for about only 3,000 people, the officials said.

Concerts are planned throughout the country, with the major one in Havana where popular Cuban band Los Van Van will play at the Anti-Imperialist Tribunal in front of the U.S. Interests Section.

The Interests Section was the embassy for the United States until it broke off diplomatic relations in January 1961 after U.S.-owned properties were nationalized by Fidel Castro.

Officials have said this was not a time for lavish celebration because Cuba is struggling from the effects of three hurricanes this year that caused $10 billion in damages, as well as the global financial crisis.

Government leaders gave a gloomy assessment of the economy last week, telling the National Assembly the country's trade and budget deficits had ballooned due to rising import costs and falling prices for exports.

Raul Castro called for more belt-tightening and an end to handouts he said discouraged people from working.
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« Reply #59 on: January 28, 2009, 07:26:33 pm »


'A NEW STAGE'



"The victory of the 1st of January did not mark the end of the struggle, but the start of a new stage," he said. "There has not been a minute of respite during the past half century."

Should he not show up, Fidel Castro's absence will raise new speculation about his condition, to which many believe Cuba's future is closely linked.

Although he has not been seen in public for 2-1/2 years, he still has a behind-the-scenes presence in the government and a public voice via opinion columns he writes regularly.

He remains a world figure who made his name thumbing his nose at the United States, just 90 miles away, and forging close ties with its Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union.

Many Cubans believe that as long as Fidel Castro is alive, his more pragmatic brother will not be able to reform the Cuban economy or political system in a meaningful way.

Others doubt Raul Castro wants to make many changes and that early reforms he implemented, such as opening computer and cell phone sales to Cubans, were meant chiefly to gain favor with Cubans skeptical he could fill his brother's shoes.

Cuba's revolution arrives at its 50th anniversary in a time of transition.

Fidel Castro is on the sidelines after ruling Cuba for 49 years and his archenemy, the United States, may be on the verge of change in its Cuba policy.

President-elect Barack Obama, who replaces President George W. Bush on January 20, has said he wants to ease the 46-year-old U.S. trade embargo toward Cuba, is open to talks with Cuban leaders and will consider steps toward normalizing relations.

Both Castros have warily said talks were possible.

Changes are not just occurring at the top.

In Cuba, people, especially the young, clamor increasingly for an end to five decades of economic hardship and see improved U.S.-Cuba relations as a way out.

In the United States, a recent poll showed that for the first time a majority of Cuban-Americans in Miami, center of the Cuban exile world and anti-Castro sentiment, favor ending the embargo.

As Raul Castro told the National Assembly, "We are living in a radically different period of history."



(Editing by Peter Cooney)
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