Macorix de Arriba Archaeological Project
The Macorix de Arriba Archaeological Project is a five year field archaeological research program (2010-2014) conducted by Jose Oliver and colleagues in the Punta Rucia coastal area of northern Dominican Republic, some 30 Km west of La Isabela, the first settlement founded by Christopher Columbus in January 1493. This multi-cultural (Taino, Macorix and others) area is ideally suited to explore the nature of inter-ethnic relationships, the construction of identities and the first large-scale impact of Europeans in the New World. The Macorix Project is currently funded by the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology-UCLA and the Albert Reckitt Archaeology Fund of the British Academy.
The Macorix Project has the collaboration of the Museo del Hombre Dominicano, Secretaría de Cultura of the Dominican Republic and the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology-UCLA-Archaeology Field Program, which also runs a formal archaeology field school. Student from the MA’Archaeology Program of the Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y El Caribe participate as volunteers in the Project.
The Macorix aborigines encountered by Christopher
Columbus (1494) comprised large group of non-Taíno speaking societies living in
the midst of Taínos (Arawakan speakers) in northern Hispaniola (Haiti-Dominican Republic). Despite their importance
during the Spanish-native battles (1494-1500), the Macorix have been
marginalized or ignored by scholars. Their origins are enigmatic; their ways of
life and community organization are poorly understood. Surveys in the Punta
Rucia area (Figure 1) and
excavations in selected sites are intended to give a ‘voice’ to the Macorix
peoples and their pre-Columbian ancestors in scholarly research; rescue their
cultural memory from current historical amnesia; and, restore them to their
proper place in world history through archaeological research.
Likewise, we wish to explore issues of ethnic and cultural identities (and personhood constructions though material culture) in this multi-lingual and multi-cultural yet poorly researched region. The first field season (July 2010) was devoted to mapping (figure 2) and excavations (figure 3) at the site of Edilio Cruz-1.