October 2, 2022

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An archaeological project analyses informal commerce in the colonial Caribbean

Picture: Archaeological excavations were being carried out in the uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire, situated opposite the island of Bonaire
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Credit rating: ArCarib

The historical archaeologist Konrad A. Antczak, a Marie Sk?odowska-Curie researcher with the UPF Office of Humanities and member of the Research Team on Colonialism, Gender and Materialities (CGyM), has lately returned from archaeological fieldwork in the Dutch islands of Curaçao and Bonaire, in the southern Caribbean. He has conducted excavations in this region locating a camp with a warehouse for the transshipment of items, the place he has identified large wide variety of day to day objects.

This vacation is aspect of the ArCarib challenge (Archaeology of Casual Commerce in the Colonial Caribbean), of which Konrad A. Antczak is the principal investigator, supervised by Sandra Montón Subías, a UPF-ICREA analysis professor at the Section of Humanities and CGyM coordinator. ArCarib, funded by the European Union via its Horizon 2020 programme endowed with some 173,000 euros, commenced in April 2019 and will very last till May possibly 2021.

Informal commerce of the Spanish colonies with the Dutch islands

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The challenge is investigating what Konrad A. Antczak -rather than “contraband”- prefers to get in touch with “informal commerce”, quoting on the a person hand the restrictive Spanish trade monopoly, and secondly, Spanish neglect to duly deliver its colonies with crucial commodities, which pushed them to trade informally with international ports. This trade flourished involving the Spanish province of Venezuela and the Dutch islands of Curaçao and Bonaire in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

“The Kingdom of Spain was commercially pretty restrictive and could only trade with Spain and its other domains, and the Dutch and the Jews who lived on the island of Curaçao observed that the Venezuelan coast was devoid of fundamental commodities. Ships from Spain came rarely, and the men and women dwelling on the coastline essential ceramics, fabrics, meals: they recognized that there was a house for this trade with the Dutch islands, which benefited equally sides”, points out Konrad A. Antczak.

Excavations in Bonaire and Curaçao expose a substantial range of objects

During this second fieldwork, archaeological excavations ended up carried out in the uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire, positioned reverse the island of Bonaire, and in a Sephardic plantation in one of the huge inside bays of Curaçao. The excavations at Klein Bonaire exposed what Konrad A. Antczak believes was likely a camp of administrators of a items transshipment warehouse whose ruins however stay in area, and where they stored items that traders from Curaçao introduced to the mainland.

Among the numerous results there that mirror day-to-day existence in the camp in the initial 50 % of the eighteenth century, shoe buckles, pewter spoons, coins, fragments of weapons and even two cannonballs perhaps fired at the camp all through a standoff have been discovered. In addition, a important quantity of creole earthenware was uncovered -crafted cooking pots- which the investigator is to topic to archaeometric analysis at the College of Barcelona- to confirm whether or not they were being introduced from Venezuela along with sacks of cocoa.

Ground breaking study that examines the effects of commerce on society

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ArCarib is the 1st archaeological job that transcends the maritime boundary involving the islands and Venezuela and seeks to fully grasp how items that were being traded by sea, predominantly coveted Venezuelan cocoa and other a lot less recognized objects these as creole stoneware and European ceramics, afflicted island and mainland societies.

The analysis of the ArCarib job focuses on how informal maritime commerce in ceramics in the south-japanese Caribbean in the seventeenth and eighteenth generations impacted the each day existence of the communities of the islands of Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire and the Venezuelan coastline, significantly in respect of the id development procedures and gender relations.

Despite the fact that much has been researched about the socioeconomic and political history and the impacts of this commerce rooted in the area, continue to little is regarded of its product dimensions and how the indispensable smuggled ceramics modified or maintained the identities and gender relations of the colonial societies of the islands and of the continent.

You can stick to the progress of the ArCarib undertaking and interviews with its key players on the Fb Page and on Twitter.&#13

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