Constructing caribbean chronologies: Comparative radiocarbon dating of shell and wood artefacts from pre-Columbian sites in Cuba

J. Cooper, K. D. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The lack of robust chronological frameworks for pre-Columbian archaeology in the Caribbean limits the interpretive potential of ongoing studies of inter-site and inter-island interaction. This paper reviews the dating of 28 wood and shell artefacts from sites in northern Cuba in an attempt to date pre-Columbian activity in the region and develop dating methodologies for the study of pre-Columbian interaction in the Caribbean. This research compares dates from wood and shell artefacts from the waterlogged site of Los Buchillones in north-central Cuba with dates from shell artefacts from sites on eight islands in the Sabana-Camaguey archipelago in the Bahama Channel. In addition to providing a chronological framework based on absolute dates for pre-Columbian activity in northern Cuba, this paper also considers the methodological issues of using shell for dating pre-Columbian activity in the Caribbean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-425
Number of pages25
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • Caribbean
  • Los buchillones
  • Marine shell
  • Northern cuba
  • Pre-columbian
  • Radiocarbon dating
  • Wooden artefacts

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