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From La Vega to Vancouver

By Marlieke Ernst Within the NEXUS1492 project, my research looks at the ceramic transformation that occurred in Spanish towns in early colonial Hispaniola as a result of the Amerindian-Spanish-African interactions that occurred within these towns. Potentially, this project will give some insight i...
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NEXUS blog published in the Museum Blog Book

For International Museum Day in 2015, Csilla Ariese-Vandemeulebroucke wrote a blog on the NEXUS website about how Caribbean museums contribute to a more sustainable society. Since then, this blog post was picked up and selected for publication in the Museum Blog Book, a new glossy publication that b...
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Nexus1492 article published in PLOS ONE on New Method to Identify the Geographic Origins of Humans

When we research human migration in the past, it is a challenge to pinpoint where exactly different individuals and groups came from. A new study published in PLOS ONE describes a new method to accurately identify the origins of individual humans using archaeological remains. In an interdisciplinary...
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Reconstructing Archaeological Networks

By Viviana Amati Networks of interaction between past cultures and communities cannot be observed completely since archaeological evidence (e.g., artefact counts) and historical documentation (e.g., manuscripts) are fragmentary and do not provide enough information to get anywhere near a complete p...
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Introducing the NEXUS1492 PotBuilder (beta-version)

by Jan Christoph Athenstädt One of the main types of artifacts found during excavations in the Caribbean are ceramic sherds. They are the remains of different types of vessels used by the indigenous populations for various purposes. Archaeologists are interested in pottery remains for their potenti...
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Rediscovering Caribbean objects in Denmark

by Mariana Françozo,  Catarina Guzzo Falci, Alice Knaf, and Gareth Davies. At the small suburb of Brede, just 14 kilometers north of Copenhagen, Denmark's oldest industrial complex houses part of the collections of the National Museum of Denmark. This includes one of the largest collections of Cari...
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Grenadian Community at La Poterie Open Day

The excavation team at La Poterie, Grenada hosted an open day for the public on Thursday January 19 2017. During the event, there was a lot of interest from members of the local Grenadian community, who have been following the progression of the fieldwork over the past years. The excavation team pro...
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Blog by Becki Scott: Follow our fieldwork in Grenada!

Dr. Becki Scott is a post-doctoral researcher with the NWO Island Networks project at Leiden University. She is specialized in the analysis of archaeomaterials using a variety of analytical techniques. Becki's work enables the provenancing of ceramic objects in the field, whilst working on Grenada. ...
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Catarina Guzzo Falci was awarded a scholarship for a collections study

In the beginning of December 2016 PhD-student Catarina Guzzo Falci was awarded a scholarship for a collections study by Musée du quai Branly. The Musée du quai Branly has implemented a scholarship program to document its collections. The scholarship’s purpose is the funding of field investigations a...
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Studying Skeletal Remains at Museo Del Hombre Dominicano – a student’s perspective

In October 2016,  Dr. Darlene Weston (University of British Columbia, Leiden University) and Leiden University student Finn van der Leden studied skeletal remains from the Museo del Hombre Dominicano, in the Dominican Republic. Finn van der Leden shares his experiences below. Why is your research i...
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Considerations of a map-maker

By Mereke van Garderen As a visualisation expert in a project focused on Caribbean archaeology, a significant part of my work consists of making maps. They might be maps of one excavation area, an entire island, or a larger region. They might show ceramic assemblages, settlement patterns, or cultur...
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People, Pots, and Portable XRF: Towards developing a non-destructive method of analysing the chemical composition of Caribbean ceramics

As archaeologists, we attempt to understand the choices and movements made by people in the past. One method used to do this is the study of the objects people left behind. We can study the pots, bowls, and other objects made of ceramic and use these to reconstruct past behaviour. Ceramic pots are a...
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Invisible Landscapes: Colonialism and history in Montecristi

by Eduardo Herrera In a supermarket, at the counter… “Tell me, sir,  are you the owner of one of the hotels here? Or a restaurant?”, asked the cashier as I was paying for my weekly groceries “No, no, I am an archaeologist!”,  I said, with the usual proud tone I used when asked what do I do. “Arc...
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Caribbean Encounters, Material Engagements and the Making of Europe

NEXUS1492 is presenting a paper at the American Anthropological Association’s Annual Meeting (16-20 November 2016) in Minneapolis, USA this week. The paper on Caribbean Encounters, Material Engagements and the Making of Europe, is part of a session about Evidence and its Effects in the Archaeology o...
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Enhancing collaborations at the 2016 NEXUS1492 Team Meeting

From 8 to 10 November, NEXUS1492 researchers met and participated in workshops and hackathons to further collaborations between project partners. Over the span of 2 days, several parallel small-group sessions were organized, where the 20 participants developed ideas and plans for transdisciplinary c...
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Annual History Day organized by ICLON

Last Friday 4th November, the annual History Day organized by ICLON took place in the Museum of Ethnology, Leiden where Dutch history teachers came together to participate in a full day of lectures and workshops. The theme for this year was Europeans from overseas – contacts – representation. In th...
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Collecting The 19th Century: Museological And Archaeological Perspectives From Europe And Latin America

On Monday 17 October 2016, the Faculty of Archaeology hosted the international symposium “Collecting the 19th century: archaeological and museological perspectives from Europe and Latin America”, organized by dr. Mariana de Campos Françozo (Leiden University) and Maria Patricia Ordoñez (Leiden Unive...
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Investigating the Santa Cruz 35 archaeological site in Aruba

In the framework of the MOU between the National Archaeological Museum Aruba and ERC Synergy NEXUS1492, new explorative research is being conducted on the Santa Cruz 35 site. For the first time in Aruba, the project will be using drone footage and 360 recording to inform and engage the community wit...
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Global experts meet on Bonaire for conference on Caribbean Coastal Dynamics and Sustainability

On 17 October 2016, TNO, The Planet Earth Foundation, Tourism Corporation Bonaire and NEXUS1492 are launching the working conference Coastal Dynamics and Ecosystem Change during a public event. The conference, which takes place from 18 to 21 October at the Plaza Beach Resort Bonaire, brings together...
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El Flaco 2016: A students’ perspective.

A film by students participating in the 2016 Fieldwork campaign in the Dominican Republic (video edited by Emma de Mooij). In the months May till July of 2016, several students participated in ongoing excavations at El Flaco and El Carrill, in the Dominican Republic. Both sites are situated along t...
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Leiden University Hosts the Closing Symposium of the HERA-CARIB Project

On 26 and 27 September 2016, the Faculty of Archaeology of Leiden University hosted the closing symposium of the HERA-CARIB project “Caribbean Connections: Cultural encounters in a New World setting”.  Over 50 participants came together to share results, projects and future research directions on th...
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Arqueología Interactiva: Crowdsourcing Collaboration in Dominican Republic

By Eloise Stancioff, Eldris Con Aguilar, Habiba, and Arlene Alvarez Bridging heritage education with technology, a collaboration effort between Nexus1492  researchers Eloise Stancioff, Eldris con Aguilar, Habiba and Director of the Museo de Altos Chavon, Arlene Alvarez took place. Together they dev...
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Beads, pendants, and a lot of grinding: experimental archaeology at El Flaco

By Catarina Guzzo Falci Last summer we performed a lot of experimental archaeology in El Flaco. Why? Well, you may have heard that many ornaments are being found at the site. The goal of the experiments was to shed light on the techniques and toolkits used in their production. In this post, I expla...
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Report from the IV Landscape Archaeology Conference Uppsala-Sweden, 22-25 August 2016

By Eduardo Herrera The Landscape Archaeology Conference is an initiative created at the Vrij Universiteit Amsterdam in 2010 with the objective of uniting researchers from different disciplines such as archaeology, anthropology, geography, ecology, between others, to present and debate research orie...
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Reunión de Teoría Arqueológica en América del Sur

Museo de Etnografía, La Paz – Bolivia, May 2016 The Reunión de Teoría Arqueológica en América del Sur (TAAS, meeting of Theoretical Archaeology in South America) began in 1998 as a result of the interest shown by a group of South American archaeologists to present and debate about archaeological th...
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Indigenous Peoples in Trinidad Launch New Book

During a festive celebration of the United Nations’ International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on Tuesday August 9, the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community of Trinidad launched the book The Indigenous Peoples of Trinidad and Tobago From the First Settlers until Today, by Dr. Arie Boomert of ...
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Entrevista Proyecto NEXUS

Conversación con los profesores investigadores Dr. Jorge Ulloa y Prof. Roberto Valcárcel del proyecto de arqueología NEXUS1492 que presentan su libro “Indígenas e indios en el Caribe”. Esta entrevista se realiza en el marco del Segundo Seminario de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia, a efectuar...
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Seminar: Arqueología, Antropología E Historia Del Primer Encuentro Colonial En Las Américas

On 3 and 4 August, 2016, the Instituto Tecnologico de Santo Domingo (INTEC) hosted an archaeology seminar, titled: Arqueología, Antropología E Historia Del Primer Encuentro Colonial En Las Américas, at the INTEC library in the Dominican Republic. The seminar was launched by Prof. Dr. Corinne Hofman...
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Prof. Dr. Corinne Hofman Elected Member of Academia Europaea

The Council of the Academia Europaea (AE) has announced Prof. Dr. Corinne Hofman as one of the new AE members to the four Classes of humanities; social and related sciences; exact sciences and life sciences. Dr. Hofman is one of a number of eminent international scholars from across the continent of...
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Reconstruction of Amerindian Village St. Vincent – Completed by local volunteers

Local volunteers have successfully completed the reconstruction of an Amerindian village at Argyle, St. Vincent that was initiated with NEXUS 1492 last January. The site was initially excavated by NEXUS 1492 archaeologists Dr. Corinne Hofman and Dr. Menno Hoogland and revealed floor plans of a numbe...
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An ancient and nutritious – but dangerous – Caribbean food

By Jaime R. Pagán-Jiménez This research update is also available in Spanish. Loma de Guayacanes (Nexus 1492) — More than 510 years ago, at the dawn of the Spanish conquest and colonization of the New World, one of the protagonists of this event in the island of Hispaniola observed and documented t...
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Healing Landscapes in Cuba and Dominican Republic

By Jana Pesoutova Recently, Cuban news reported that a Ceiba tree was removed from the center of Havana. Why did this event become a headline? Perhaps because the history books mention this site as where the first Catholic Mass took place. But for many devotees, this tree represented a dwelling of ...
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Peer Coaching for NEXUS Researchers

Last month new results from research of PhD candidates in the NEXUS1492 were discussed in small groups consisting of students, postdocs and senior investigators. In these coaching meetings, NEXUS team members reviewed and provided feedback on the dissertations of the PhD students. On a very early m...
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Film No 2: Living on Heritage – Amerindian Presence in Haiti

A film by Till Sonnemann & Joseph Sony Jean  There was no initial plan to make this short film on Haiti, but the idea developed over time. Joseph Sony Jean focuses in his PhD dissertation on the changes of the historic landscape around Fort Liberté in the département Nord-Est. To support him in...
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Film No 1: La Ruta de Colón – Historic Importance and Heritage

After the first short introductory film on the excavations of El Flaco in 2014, this new film tries to connect two main topics of Nexus1492: firstly the perception of the local Dominicans who participated in the excavations of El Flaco on their connection with the indigenous heritage, and who I inte...
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Sustainable Land Management: an integrated approach

By Eloise Stancioff In the Caribbean, landscape changes are nothing new. Throughout history, the region has been one that exemplifies man-made changes to landscape, beginning with Amerindians, continuing to the importation of exotic species through the colony area, extreme land degradation caused b...
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Kalinago Excavations: a conversation with a La Poterie landowner

Cleopatrice Daniel Andrew visited Leiden University for presentations on the La Poterie excavations that were conducted earlier this year. Cleopatrice, a trained fashion and textile designer with a teaching degree, is originally from Grenada and owns the land where a Kalinago settlement was found ea...
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Caribbean Collections Abroad: Museums, History, and Politics at SAA

Mariana Francozo (NEXUS 1492) and Paola Schiappacasse (University of Puerto Rico) organised a panel at the Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Orlando, Florida on 8 April 2016. The contributions dealt with the various dimensions (ethical, legal, historical) of Caribbean cultur...
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Socio-Ecological Resiliency in the Kalinago Territory: A GIS and Mapping approach

by Eloise Stancioff The Ministry of Kalinago Affairs, in partnership with Dilianie Darroux and Eloise Stancioff of NEXUS 1492, hosted a presentation on landscape change, social-ecological resiliency and community mapping of the Kalinago Territory in Dominica. This event presented findings of collab...
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The Cemetery of Santa Cruz 35: Initial Results

Fifteen years ago, a grave site was discovered during construction in a residential area of Santa Cruz, Aruba. NEXUS 1492 and the National Archaeological Museum Aruba (NAMA) partnered to analyse the remains. Last week Prof. Dr. Corinne Hofman and Prof. Dr. Menno Hoogland (NEXUS 1492) and Drs. Raymun...
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MOU Signing Between Leiden University And ACTA

On Monday, 15 February 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Professor Corinne Hofman of the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University and  Professor Albert Feilzer from the Academic Centre for Dentistry (ACTA), University of Amsterdam and VU University, Amsterdam. With this MOU, Leiden...
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Start of reconstruction indigenous village in St. Vincent

In 2010, the remnants of a 16th century indigenous village were discovered in St. Vincent,  on the construction terrain of the new International Argyle Airport. The Amerindian village is now being reconstructed based on excavated floor plans and the detailed descriptions of 16th century travellers. ...
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Kalinago Heritage Workshop with Teachers in Dominica

On 26 and 27 February, NEXUS1492 hosted a series of workshops on indigenous and pre-colonial Kalinago heritage with a group of teachers from Dominica at Salybia Primary School. The feedback from the teachers was great, and members of the community expressed their motivation to keep working in outrea...
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Place Names and Lost Languages: An Interview with Dr. Ivan Roksandic

Dr. Ivan Roksandic of Winnipeg University visited the NEXUS 1492 team at Leiden University. He combines archaeology, linguistics and text analysis in a multidisciplinary approach to study toponyms: Dr. Roksandic studies Caribbean place names with origins in indigenous languages. During his visit to ...
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IACA 2015 Excursions to St. Martin and Anguila

As part of the International Association of Caribbean Archaeologists congress in 2015, trips were organised to visit the heritage of Sint Maarten, St. Martin and Aguila. This video was created during these trips, by Till Sonneman.           30-12-2015
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Mid-eighteenth century skeleton of pregnant woman found near Saba power plant

Archaeologists have discovered the skeleton of a pregnant woman from the mid-eighteenth century in Saba, in a collaboration between NEXUS1492 and SABARC. The skeleton was discovered in the upper layers of the soil near a construction site for Saba’s new power plant, where archaeologists were excavat...
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NEXUS1492 study on ancient human microbiomes published in Nature Scientific Reports

By Kirsten Ziesemer An international team of researchers, involving members from the ERC Synergy project NEXUS 1492 based at the Leiden University, the Universities of Oklahoma, Copenhagen and York reveal challenges when studying ancient microbiomes in a recent issue of Scientific Reports. The pape...
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Rebuilding after natural disasters: lessons from the pre-Columbian era

As tropical storm Erika forms, the Caribbean prepares itself for the yearly hurricane season. The islands in the region are plagued regularly by natural disasters: tropical storms are the norm. Often these storms develop into destructive hurricanes and sometimes the islands suffer from earthquakes o...
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Exhibiting the repatriation of archaeological heritage

by Mariana Françozo San José, capital of Costa Rica, may not be the main tourist destination of this beautiful Central American country. Tourists normally spend a night or two at the city on their way to paradise-like beaches or national parks. Nonetheless, for the museum- or heritage-enthusiast, S...
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Carib – A journey through cultural ceramics

The Hera Carib project studies how people lived in the Lesser Antilles. In this short video, our colleagues from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven talk about the life of cycle ceramics: what material they are made of, how and for what purpose they are made. Scientific analysis of ceramics from arch...
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Indigenous Heritage: Teaching and Learning Didactics Experience in Valverde and Montecristi (Dominican Republic), August 2015

by Eldris Con Aguilar This August, the ERC-Synergy NEXUS 1492 Project and the “Museo Arqueológico Regional Altos de Chavón” have come together again to provide the school community of Valverde (13th and 14th) and Montecristi (19th and 20th) with the opportunity to participate in workshops on archae...
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Understanding Caribbean Jadeitite Exchange Networks pre- and post the arrival of Columbus

By Alice Knaf, Janne Koornneef and Gareth Davies Ever since the first colonization of the Caribbean islands 6000 years ago, rocks or “lithics” as we call them were used to manufacture a wide range of objects. These ranged from special and likely highly valued objects like figurines, ritual items an...
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Ancient DNA: a new frontier in Caribbean archaeology

by Hannes Schroeder, Tina Warinner and Kirsten Ziesemer Ancient DNA is like ice cream - it does not last well in the sun. Therefore, most ancient DNA studies to date have been conducted on samples from cold or temperate environments. Freezing temperatures slow chemical reactions and inhibit microbi...
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A site along the “Ruta de Colón” – El Flaco (Dominican Rep.) field-campaign 2015

by Liliane de Veth From the 15th of May until the 15th of July 2015, a third fieldwork campaign takes place at the site El Flaco, located at the foot of the Cordillera Septentrional in the Valverde Region in the north-western Dominican Republic. An international group of more than 25 researchers, s...
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The Birth of Caribbean Bureaucracy: Insights from Graeber’s “The Utopia of Rules”

by Angus Mol Recently, I read David Graeber’s book “The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureacracy” and it gave me a new insight into something I had been puzzled by for a long time: the supposedly absolute power of the Spanish monarchs and the actual powerlessness...
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You are what you eat

by Esther Plomp and Laura Font Isotopes have been used to trace the provenance of humans long before the Nexus1492 project came into being. The first archaeological application of strontium isotope analysis on human remains appeared during the mid-1980's (Ericson 1985) and demonstrated the potentia...
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How are Caribbean museums contributing towards a more sustainable society?

By Csilla Ariese-Vandemeulebroucke Since 1977 this day has been celebrated annually around to globe to highlight the importance of museums. Reminding ourselves of the positive impact of museums is particularly urgent at this time, because of the destruction of museums and cultural heritage that has...
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Survey in the Montecristi province

by Eduardo Herrera In February 2015 a 7 month fieldwork period started at the coast of the Montecristi province. The main objectives of this field activity are: 1) to register, through non-systematic surface survey, archaeological sites along the coast of the Montecristi province; 2) to execute sma...
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A passion for collecting

By Mariana Francozo. The Caribbean is frequently described as a region of diversity and multiplicity, where peoples, histories, and traditions intertwine. After having spent three weeks visiting museums and collections in Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, I would like to...
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The El Flaco excavation in the Summer of 2014, Valverde, Dominican Republic

By Till Sonnemann A short video documents and explains the different tasks performed to excavate of an Amerindian settlement in the northern Dominican Republic, from the actual excavation to documenting the finds and reaching out to the people of Cruce de Guayacanes.      ...
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What does Kittitian heritage mean to you? Announcing culturesnaps.kn

By Eloise Stancioff and Habiba After experiencing first-hand the diverse heritage and personal connections to different areas of St. Kitts, Habiba and I were left wondering if all this plethora of knowledge was going to be passed down to future generations? Through a lucky encounter, we were put in...
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A day-trip out of school, learning in informal educational settings – It’s not just fun, it’s outdoor learning!

By Eldris Con Aguilar Thinking back to primary school, do you remember the times you went on a school trip? Was this a nice experience? Was it a day full of exciting activities? These kind of activities are usually only planned once in a while by teachers for their students. Generally, the intentio...
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UAV flight video over UNESCO world heritage sites in Northern Haiti

By Till F. Sonnemann A by-product of the archaeological survey in Northern Haiti by Sony Joseph Jean and Till Sonnemann, the UAV flight video shows aerial views of the Haitian landscape, e.g. the spectacular Citadelle La Ferrière and Sans-Souci Palace, built under King Henri Christophe (1767-1820) ...
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Why you should not brush your teeth

by Kirsten Ziesemer Just moments after you brush your teeth, the surfaces of your teeth will be colonized by bacteria. This colonization results in a biofilm, which is a very thin layer on the surface of your teeth, also known as dental plaque. In the presence of saliva, which contains necessary mi...
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A Site In The Mangroves – Anse Trabaud, Martinique 2015

by Liliane de Veth The site of Anse trabaud is located in Sainte Anne, in the south of the island of Martinique. The site is situated in, what is now, a mangrove area right near the coast and a salt pan. The site was discovered in 1976 by Henry Petitjean Roget and José Cruxent. Several researches s...
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MOU signing between Leiden University and Grenada

On Wednesday, the 21st of January 2015, Professor Corinne Hofman of Leiden University and the Ministry of Culture, Grenada National Museum, Carriacou Historical Society and Museum, and the Grenada National Trust signed an MOU, agreeing scientific and cultural cooperation as part of the "Nexus 1492 E...
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The study of ceramics using various approaches

by Carmen Ting ‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.’ – Robert Forst, Road Not Taken Normally, I hate making literary reference because I find it either too cheesy or too snobbish. But, against my pride and principles,...
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From Ball Court to Ball Park – A Story of two Faiths

By Till F. Sonnemann Having had the opportunity to visit Baltimore’s Camden Yards this summer, and seeing the Orioles finally succumb to the Kansas City Chiefs, preventing their first entry to the World Series in over 30 years, I became aware of baseball fans’ commitment to their team. In the Domin...
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La Navidad: The Lost Beginnings

by Pauline Kulstad One of the greatest mysteries of world archaeology is the exact location of La Navidad, the first settlement founded by Christopher Columbus on his first trip to the Americas in 1492. Known to be in the northern coast of the present day Haiti, it has been the object of study by m...
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Prof. Dr. Willem J. H. Willems (1950 – 2014)

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear colleague and principal investigator of the heritage project, Prof. dr. Willem J.H. Willems. Willem was truly a generous and inspirational archaeologist and heritage expert for all those that had the pleasure of working with him in the...
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Macroscopically Non-Destructive Sampling Of Greenstone And Jadeitite Artefacts To Investigate Trade Routes Used By Caribbean Communities

by Alice Knaf Research objective As part of ‘NEXUS 1492’, a European Research Council funded “Synergy” project we aim to assess the impact of Caribbean colonisation on the indigenous (material) culture. Inter-Islands exchange networks present before and after the arrival of Columbus form an impo...
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The Giving Month

By Angus A. A. Mol This week, on the 5th of December it is Sinterklaas in the Netherlands, which makes this an excellent opportunity to talk a little about what Sinterklaas, Christmas, birthdays and the first encounters in the Caribbean between indigenous people and Europeans have in common? The ce...
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MOU Signing Between Leiden University And The National Archaeological Museum Aruba.

On Tuesday the 25th of November Professor Corinne Hofman of Leiden University and the Minister of culture Sr. Otmar Oduber signed an MOU agreeing scientific and cultural cooperation as part of the ‘NEXUS 1492 ‘ project. The signing was followed by a meeting and discussions with the Governor of Aruba...
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Introduction to “Hot Topics”

By Angus A.A. Mol Welcome to the first in a new series of blogs from the research team that is re-writing the history of both the New and Old World by looking at the impact of the colonial encounters between Amerindians, Africans and Europeans in the Caribbean. The Nexus 1492, CARIB-HERA and Island...
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Dominican settlement sites from above

By Till F. Sonnemann Some images from the UAV campaign, using a small quadrocopter to map pre-Columbian and historic archaeological sites in the Dominican Republic from above, presenting a very different view of the landscape. 14-11-2014
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