Location: Gerace Research Centre, The College of The Bahamas, San Salvador, Bahamas
Research Program: Islands are dynamic ecosystems, sensitive to human modification and disturbance, as well as climatic and other environmental processes. Because of its unique geological and environmental circumstances, the central and northern Bahamas are an ideal place to test models of island adaptation, the interplay of subsistence and ecology, and culture change.
The long-term research goals of the Lucayan Ecological Archaeology Project (L.E.A.P.) are to: document and explain migration and colonizing strategies and timing; document paleoenvironmental change prior to and after migration and colonization occurred; evaluate the impact of initial colonization and settlement on island environments; assess whether human-induced environmental modification occurred over time; identify the ‘early colonizers’ adaptations to the island ecosystems; dcument and explain social and cultural responses; study the implications of observed human-induced modification for later culture change; document and explain the political and economic dynamics of colonizing cultures; document and preserve the cultural patrimony of the Caribbean.
Academic Program: Anthropology 415/Latin American Studies 418 (6 credits) (Summer Term 2014) students will be introduced to the interdisciplinary field and laboratory research methods that archaeologists use to study the environments and cultures of the past. The Caribbean, and the Bahamas in particular, will constitute a case study of human island adaptations for the prehistoric and early historic periods. In addition, students will be instructed in the methods of archaeological surveying and mapping, excavation, artifact and ecofact recovery and curation, cataloguing, laboratory methods, and the anthropological interpretation of archaeological data. Students will also be instructed in Caribbean archaeology, ethnology, ethnohistory, history, geography, geology, and ecology, with special emphasis on the Bahama archipelago. Evening lectures and field laboratory classes will be supplemented by guest lectures from specialists in other disciplines conducting research at the Gerace Research Centre of the College of the Bahamas, an internationally recognized center for the study of the archaeology, biology, geology, and marine science of the Bahamas. The course will include field trips to prehistoric and historic (Loyalist Plantation) sites, and other areas of biological and geological interest.
This academic program, like other undergraduate and graduate field research courses (e.g., marine biology, botany, ecology, geology, and hydrology) offered at the Gerace Research Centre is intellectually and physically demanding. It is recommended for socially and intellectually mature students in pursuit of a unique international education experience. Field research takes place six to seven days per week with associated evening lectures and laboratory sessions. Mandatory field trips are scheduled on Sunday afternoons, as well as occasionally during the week, after field work is concluded.
Dr. Perry L. Gnivecki is field director of the Lucayan Ecological Archaeology Project (L.E.A.P.) and is director of the Long Bay Site excavations. He is a Lecturer in Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Miami University (Oxford), and Social Sciences, Miami University (Hamilton), Ohio. Dr. Gnivecki has conducted archaeological research in Illinois, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Peru, Iraq, Cuba, and, since 1983, in the Bahamas (San Salvador, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Long Island, and New Providence). His archaeological research interests include the emergence of chiefdoms, comparative urbanism and state formation, material culture studies, island archaeology/ecology, and the study of human spatial organization.
Dr. Mary Jane Berman (subject to availability) is co-director of the Lucayan Ecological Archaeology Project (L.E.A.P.) and is co-director of the Long Bay Site excavations. She is currently Director, Center of American and World Cultures, and Associate Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Dr. Berman has conducted archaeological research in Arizona, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Malta, Cuba, and, since 1983, in the Bahamas (San Salvador, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Long Island, and New Providence). Her archaeological research interests include the emergence of chiefdoms, shamanism, prehistoric island subsistence strategies, paleoenvironmental studies, material culture studies (ceramics, lithics, basketry), and museum studies.
Period(s) of Occupation: Late 15TH/Early 16TH Century, Spanish Contact Period
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 4 weeks
Room and Board Arrangements