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Evidence for inter-island transport of heirlooms: luminescence dating and petrographic analysis of c

Evidence for inter-island transport of heirlooms: luminescence dating and petrographic analysis of c

  1. corvardus
    Journal of Archaeological Science 36 (2009) 596–606

    Scott M. Fitzpatrick, Quetta Kaye, James Feathers, Jennifer A. Pavia,
    Kathleen M. Marsaglia

    Ceramic snuffing tubes and inhaling bowls used for ingesting hallucinogenic substances are known fromseveral islands in the West Indies, but their chronological distribution is often vague. A partial inhaling bowl found at the site of Grand Bay on Carriacou in deposits dating between ca. A.D. 1000–1200, along with two other unprovenienced specimens from the local museum, were dated using luminescence (TL and OSL) to determine their antiquity. Surprisingly, the dates had a weighted average of 400 - 189 B.C., making them several hundred years older than all 14C assays from the island; however, they do overlap in age with similar artifacts found on Puerto Rico and Vieques Island over 750 km away. Additional luminescence dating of two stylistically distinct Suazan ceramic sherds excavated from stratified deposits at Grand Bay fall within the expected ceramic and radiocarbon chronology. These data, coupled with petrographic analysis of the specimens, suggests that they were not made using local materials. Instead, they appear to have been transported to the island, possibly hundreds of years later, as heirlooms. This may be the first evidence for inter-island transport of drug paraphernalia in the Caribbean.