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in the Greater
Angus A.A. Mol
Introduction All scholars of Greater Antillean archaeology acknowledge -or should acknowledgethat a large part of the premises contained within their archaeological subparadigm are often constructed solely or largely by historical accounts of the chroniclers that wrote about the initial contacts between the Spanish and the indigenous people of the Greater Antilles.i Nevertheless often these same ethnohistorical sources are declared unfit to use as an analytic tool with which any far-reaching conclusions can be drawn. Therefore, when scholars apply ethnohistorical sources to the Pre-Columbian Caribbean situation the qualification of this is far too often restricted to tentative analogy or critical dismissal. This paper is my first attempt to extensively employ ethnohistorical sources without "milking the data". To my mind this can be done in a novel way with the aid of up-to-date theories from the literature sciences, which are often underutilized by archaeologists making use of documentary evidence, and a fresh mix of concepts from cultural and biological anthropology. This ethnohistorical analysis will target the content and context of exchange relations that existed prior to the advent of European contact with Hispaniola. Hopefully this ethnohistorical analysis can shed some light on distributions of certain highly crafted artefacts that have been found by archaeologists all over the Caribbean, such as shamanic paraphernalia or the enigmatic guaízas. Social Valuables From the range of social activities that must have been going on in the Late Ceramic Caribbean it is obvious that these distribution patterns can be interpreted in various manners -as is already discussed in the paper by Hofman, Bright and myself in this same volume. The research presented here however is designed to
look more closely at a model in which these distribution patterns are the result of controlled exchange -i.e. purposeful exchange as opposed to stylistic transmission, diffusion, etc.- in a socio-economic system relying on gift exchange as opposed to monetary economies, barter or socially antagonistic actions. Within a gift socioeconomic system there are certain goods that take on an ideal role. These "ideal gifts" are exceptionally apt for circulation in the highly complex and socially dangerous situation that every exchange by its nature is, and therefore these objects that make up the gift are seen as "socially valuable". "Socially valued goods" (Spielmann 2002) or social valuables are often finely manufactured items that in some cases take months to be created,ii nevertheless they are valued even more than their production costs.iii These valuables can be material in nature, but can also function on the level of what is nowadays termed as "intellectual property", for instance knowledge of a certain ritual, a dance, how to cure a certain disease, etc.iv In addition to their production cost these items derive their value from a distinct uniqueness: a personal character. When a social valuable is exchanged it is not only the item that is exchanged, but also the narrative around it; its life history.v This narrative can be constructed using various methods, such as building up narrative by acquiring an item over a long-distance (Helms 1988), making an item with exceptionally exquisite craftsmanship (Helms 1993) and/or associating an item with ancestors or alternative methods.vi Naturally a social valuable is not social in nature when it is not part of a social setting and even more logically a social relation is hardly ever valued without social valuables being part of this connecting relation. However this social connection is always played out with great care and the use of social valuables in practice means a careful interplay of including or excluding certain social valuables from certain social exchanges at certain times.vii This "total social fact" is abstracted as the beautiful paradox of "keeping-for-giving" and "giving-for-keeping" by the French anthropologist Godelier(1999). Things must be kept in order to imbue value and meaning to those things that are given and things must be given in order to imbue value and meaning to those things that are kept. The need to keep for giving and to give for keeping is made even more clear when put as an impossible overstatement. If everything was inalienable the socioeconomic sphere would be static, unmoving. Everything would be so thought over
for instance the dedication to a specific social relationship. Everything would change haphazardly and abruptly due to the careless and meaningless nature of the interaction taking place. unvalued.g. feared that this is the sort of world that capitalism is heading towards (Mauss 1990). i. like an attic filled with valued possessions that have been gathering dust for years.and dense with meaning that no change through interaction would take place. Costly signalling may be that reason. However for the purpose of social exchanges it seems grossly inapt to many people to concentrate on such a sexually and ego-driven strategy.viii Costly Signalling In his work Godelier envisages gifts. It is here that biological anthropology can help out with "costly signalling" theory. Some scholars. Bird et al 2001). However. but the classic example in anthropological costly signalling theory is the capture of large game (e. On the other hand if everything was alienable the socio-cosmic universe would be volatile.ix These qualities are otherwise difficult to observe or transmit. With this they signal their competitive ability and possibly their commitment to a specific relationship.e. Also the seemingly superfluously expended energy is a sign of competitive ability. It also appears that the caloric values gained from large game do not outweigh the calories gained from foraging and hunting small animals. social valuables. what this theory does not occupy itself with is how the costliness and expendability of a certain item is made clear in practice and for which reasons. as caught between two other materialized extremities of this paradox: commodities and "sacra". Costly signalling is a tactic that deploys arbitrary expensive behaviour to send signals that convey honest information about an individual’s underlying qualities. It is often quite dangerous to hunt large game for those involved in the hunt. When employing this theory in . It has also been shown that successful hunters have more mates and thus more reproductive success. Originally costly signalling was developed by economists (Spence 1973). as the materialization of this paradox. among them Mauss. hunters often share their catch with those who did not partake in the hunt. so another reason needs to be found for the hunt on large game. Numerous studies have shown that although sharing is rarely directly reciprocated. but because they are effectively broadcasted in a public sphere they become visible.
In addition it is seen to be the epiphany of romance and affection when the ring that is given is passed over within one family from generation to generation -signalling that the future bride is not only accepted by the man. since this would transmit a message to the man's future wife that their relation is nothing out of the ordinary. These wedding rings are highly personal and valued objects and normally are "exchanged" only in very particular circumstances. If a wedding ring has diamonds as a part of its configuration. Socio-Cosmic Universes This example clearly shows how costly signals materialized as social valuables are indeed actively employed in social relations. In Holland and many other Western countries it is normal to wear wedding rings.setting by giving the wedding ring to the future bride -very rarely the other way around. However it also shows that there is much cultural knowledge needed to contextualize this setting and the social valuable with which the exchange is made. Let us elucidate these materialized costly signals with a simplified example. The methods used to build up the narrative of a social valuable can thus be seen as qualities grouped together to produce one powerful costly signal. when a man is proposing to his future wife. signalling the social qualities of an individual or group and his/her/its connection to the relation.e.it must be manufactured from noble metals. The material qualities of a wedding ring signal a very specific message in this case. one has to concentrate on the fact that costly signalling is very useful when signalling qualities that are difficult to observe or transmit.combination with theories of social solidarity. A wedding ring cannot be of an inferior material. but also by his family. since "diamonds are forever". ideally gold. be a successful social valuable. Ideally this proposing is done in a ritualized -"romantic". For a wedding ring to convey a successful message . In this case that would be the exchange of a social valuable to transmit the attachment of an individual or community with another individual or community. As Godelier (1999) puts it: "In reality .i. such as gift giving. More importantly in the case that these signals are materialized as objects they can become empirically visible for archaeologists. such as plastic. this is considered to be even better. signalling that the relation is also forever.
what is present in the object.more than a way of speaking and producing knowledge-. is the entire imaginary of society.xii In post-colonial literature theory this process is known as "hybridization". which enter the social sphere of and individual or community through new social connections. Specific cultural knowledge of the socio-cosmic universe that is being researched with which to contextualize archaeological distributions is in very short supply. can be used directly to describe the Spanish socio-cosmic universe. Although it . However. thereby producing something entirely new. This means that whenever there is a difficulty in transmitting social signals from one socio-cosmic universe to another this does not lead to a block of the signal. along with the owner. are included within the socio-cosmic universe immediately if there is no descriptive taboo. x A socio-cosmic universe is a normative social system comprised of the totality of social action going on within a specific social sphere of relations and is thus heavily dependent on the way the world is structured by an individual and his or her community. since new social actions. of his society. As previously mentioned socio-cosmic universes are flexible: there are no boundaries if there are no descriptive boundaries in the socio-cosmic universe itself. because of the "darkly coloured ethnocentric spectacles" of Spanish chroniclers the sources can only be used to ephemerally describe the socio-cosmic universe of the indigenous people of the Caribbean (figure 1). What happens instead is that the signals being sent from both sides produce a mishmash of meanings that is almost understood from both socio-cosmic paradigms.flexible. Here the value of ethnohistorical accounts becomes apparent immediately. However a socio-cosmic universe is -in contrast to a paradigm." This societal context is more than just paradigmatic . Nevertheless the prevalent idea is that the information on exchanges between the Spanish and the indigenous people of the Caribbean. it is universal within its own social context: it is a socio-cosmic universe (Dumont 1972).xi Although it can thus be argued that the exchange of social valuables is a "total social" and nearly universal fact the sensitivity of the context of this exchange presents a problem for this theory to be used in archaeology. but not completely. Even so the situation is much more complicated for the proto-contact period (figure 2). which are described in ethnohistorical sources written in the early contact period.
When this process of copying signals continues for a long enough time a situation will develop in which the dominated party becomes "the same. What has to be understood is that exact sameness is not what is strived for by the dominant party. Conquista y Colonización de las Antiguas Posesiones Españolas de América y Oceanía. the Taíno. X: pp. by Colón at the Spanish settlement during his stay from the first quarter of 1495 to the second quarter of 1496. One of the processes at work in a contact situation on which I will focus here is "mimicry". Vol. What I shall attempt to show in the following example is that processes of mimicry where also at work in the proto-contact Caribbean -all be it maybe on a subconscious level. recognizable Other. It is a truly invaluable document since it not only list quantities received. tribute and other income from the indigenous people of Hispaniola. but not quite".repeating the signal sent by the dominant side and not representing it in their own terms. since sameness implies equality. Nevertheless it is necessary to treat this source with .is now asserted by anthropologists that this new hybrid system is not less "authentic" than the system before the signals became entangled. as a subject of a difference that is almost the same. since archaeologists by the very nature of their discipline are looking for authenticity. 5 to 9) describes and categorizes shipments of goods received through "barter".and that this is visible in the signals that are being sent by the exchange of social valuables from both sides. and therefore it is merited to do research on a hybrid socio-cosmic universe in its own right (Rapport and Overing 2000) it is difficult for archaeologists to follow this line of reasoning. Relativos al Descrubimiento. but also shortly describes and names many of the items. The Colón shipping list The Colón shipping list (Colleción de Documentos Inéditos. "[M]imicry is the desire for a reformed. However I would like to argue that when attention is paid to the processes at work in a sociocosmic universe that is becoming hybrid it is possible to partly disentangle the hybridized signals. but not quite" (Bhabha 1994: 122) Mimicry is what happens when in the ambivalent contact situation signalling from one side to the other leads to one side -the dominated side. As a result this theory might not seem very effective to use when wanting to contextualize post-contact within pre-contact situations.
When an analysis is made of all types of items grouped together we can see there is a peak of received goods. such as mimicry. This increase in shipments received at Isabela could correspond to "going away presents" by the Taíno for Colón. The end of the period. both in absolute quantities of items exchanged and in terms of shipments of items grouped together. the "cacique" of the Spaniards. It is well known that the Spaniards had started their westward voyage of exploration for a very specific reason. where starting to play an important role. When plotted diachronically this gives an interesting view of how the contacts between the Taíno and Spanish developed. had worn off gold remained the number one good that the Spaniards were interested in. So at this time Colón was amassing a group of Spaniards and allied Taíno and was preparing for an armed conflict. such as parrots and hammocks. March of 1495. There was some amount of gold . For this analysis the different shipments in the shipping list were sorted according to the year and month in which the shipment was received and then further categorized according to the various types of material aspects. correspond to the first military campaign into the Vega Real. If more attention is paid to the contents of the shipments other very interesting facts become visible (figure 4 and 5). corresponds to Colón leaving Hispaniola with a large fleet and returning to Castillia. March 1496.xiii Interestingly enough these two peaks can be traced to two specific events that were very important for the relation between the Taíno and the Spanish. in the beginning and end of the period that the list describes (figure 3).care. to find access to the heaps of gold that were rumoured to exist in the Orient. Wilson (1990) states that when the novelty of some of the more exotic goods traded by the Taíno. The beginning of this period. It would be more accurate to describe this stage of the contact as a period in which processes of hybridization. since it would be too crude to simply state that at such an early stage of contact it can only be argued that the objects that were given to Colón by the Taíno represent "authentic" signals in social exchanges being undertaken in a Taíno socio-cosmic universe. It could be hypothesized that this would have led to an increase of the gifting of social valuables by some Taíno caciques that wanted to defuse the situation or strengthen their alliance with the Spaniards.
but this of course nowhere near equalled the fabled riches of the Orient. This is attested by the fact that the Taíno started to mimic -almost the same. picture emerges. several gold shipments and numerous artefacts with gold inlays or ornaments attached to them were received by the Spaniards in La Isabela. The shipments of unprocessed gold increased exponentially after the initial phase of hybridization was over. but not completely. If we plot these shipments through time a remarkable. The very few other items that are described in this list were meant for .from Hispaniola which almost solely describes gold owed as tribute. which in the majority of the cases did not contain any gold. This is also visible in the Colón shipping list in which the rise of items containing gold -from 22% in 1495 to 56% in 1496. It is postulated by Oliver (2000) -and I concur with this line of reasoning. It is clear that this was also the point when the Taíno got a better grasp of what the Spaniards were actually after. in their focus on gold as a suitable social valuable. but understood in the context of the own "authentic" socio-cosmic universe. inlays and attachments.shows that signals of Spanish requests for gold where received by the Taíno and understood as the desire for items containing gold fragments.present on the Greater Antilles.the signals sent by the Spaniards. but not quite. but not unexpected. thereby producing a hybrid situation. I would describe this first stage of the relationship as a period in which signals were sent and received by both parties. In this manner the initial contact situation led to a hybrid situation and not to a situation in which the Spaniards were totally dominant from the beginning.that it was not the unprocessed gold that had the most value in the Taíno socio-cosmic universe. but that it was actually the carefully crafted composition of gold with other materials that was valued the most.xiv It is clearly visible that the beginning of the exchange relations between Colón and the Taíno were marked by an unfamiliarity of the Taíno with the sociocosmic universe of the Spaniards and vice versa. the social valuable the Spaniards desired. Still. As predicted later on these signals gradually became more fully understood. Sadly this was accompanied by the invasion and destruction of the Taíno and their socio-cosmic universe by military force and coerced labour. This led to many different kinds of social valuables being given to the Spaniards. This is apparent from a much later shipping list -1515.
que solamente llegaba a la boca y después así lo daba a los otros. A typical proto-contact exchange situation Although of course the seeds for the violent period in the later contact situation were already present it can be concluded from the above analysis that the Colón shipping list from 1495/1496 shows a hybrid socio-cosmic universe in which the Spaniards and Taíno were much more on a par. This is also visible when we study other ethnohistorical sources that might be less structured than the Colón shipping list. This is even clearer in the description of the many exchange situations that Colón and the Taíno entered into. salvo que yo comiese. The following excerpt from the 18th of December 1492 taken from Colón's diary relates such an exchange situation. but one-sided account of these intercultural contact situations gives an incredible insight into how signals from the Taíno socio-cosmic universe where given meaning by the Spaniards. según yo podía entender. así como entró en la nao. Yo pensé que él tendría a bien comer de nuestras viandas. y todo con un estado maravilloso y muy pocas palabras. such as the diary of Colón's first expedition. Y. y todos comían de ella. y de las viandas que yo le puse delante tomaba de cada una tanto como se toma para hacer la salva. halló que estaba comiendo a la mesa debajo del castillo de popa. y él. cuando entró debajo del castillo. y . y así lo hicieron con la mayor prisa y acatamiento del mundo. y aquellas que él decía. mandé luego traerle cosas que él comiese. but not less descriptive in nature. y se asentaron todos en la cubierta. hizo señas con la mano que todos los suyos quedasen fuera. eran muy asentadas y de seso. At this day the Spanish were celebrating the "Feast of the Annunciation" and an unknown Taíno cacique arrived at the beach with some 200 other Taíno and together with a small company was taken to the deck of the Santa María where Colón was already seated for dinner (Navarette 1922: 109): El. que yo estimé por sus consejeros y ayo. y después luego lo demás enviábalo a los suyos. This invaluable. que vinieron y se asentaron a sus pies. a buen andar. se vino a sentar a par de mí y no me quiso dar lugar que yo me saliese a él ni me levantase de la mesa. salvo dos hombres de una edad madura. y así hizo en el beber.display in the royal court in Castillia. showing that a socio-cosmic universe dependent on gift giving had totally been replaced by the encomienda system essentially based on forced labour (Mira Caballos 2000: 48-141).
2. but I would like to argue that these where carefully thought through signals that could be sent and received by the Taíno cacique and Colón. que toda la isla estaba a mi mandar. Después de comido. salvo que es de otra obra. un escudero traía un cinto.aquellos dos le miraban a la boca y hablaban por él y con él y con mucho acatamiento. que él tomó y me lo dio. Colón explicitly states here that the Taíno cacique and his advisors could not understand Colón and that this grieved them greatly. thereby producing a shared platform of understanding. Yo vi que le agradaba un arambel que yo tenía sobre mi cama. Colón for examples interprets the small bite and the subsequent distribution of food by the Taíno cacique as the actions of a food taster at a European court at home. que creo que aquí alcanzan poco de él. Still. y él y su ayo y consejeros llevan grande pesar porque no me entendían ni yo a ellos. From the above excerpt and others describing a similar situation it can be deduced that a Taíno ritualized exchange occasion must have included at least the following elements in chronological order: 1. yo se lo di y unas cuentas muy buenas de ámbar que yo traía al pescuezo y unos zapatos colorados y una almatraja de agua de azahar. Both are accepting and actually mimicking what is perceived as strange behaviour from within their own socio-cosmic universe. Con todo. nine pieces of amber. le conocí que me dijo que si me cumpliese algo de aquí. and indeed sending costly signals in the form of the gift of social valuables. This finding of metaphors by the Spaniards is eased by the fact that there are some aspects of Taíno ritualized exchanges which were probably very comparable to audiences and official occasions of European courts at home with. In this case a belt and pieces of gold were given by the Taíno cacique to Colón and Colón reciprocated this gift from the Taíno cacique with a drapery. de que quedó tan contento que fue maravilla. Entering/being seated (on a stool). this did not stop them from exchanging. que es propio como los de Castilla en la hechura. and red shoes. y dos pedazos de oro labrado que eran muy delgados. puesto que tengo que están muy vecinos de donde nace y hay mucho. This is partly done by finding metaphors from the own socio-cosmic universe for the actions undertaken by the other party. Food offering and “tasting”. These exchanges might seem haphazard. .
3. Guest offers goods 5. Still. Distribution of food. However by drawing ethnographic analogies taken from indigenous people from the South American tropical lowlands it is possible to hypothesize what an "authentic" Taíno exchange ceremony must have looked like. At the end the exchange is often closed by making new arrangements for exchanges at a later date. After this period. Host offers goods Audiences with nobles at courts in Europe contained these same elements as "audiences" between Taíno caciques and actually are quite universal in nature. After this initial feast many small exchanges take place over a prolonged period of socializing and feasting (Chagnon 1995: chapter 5).xv For instance among some indigenous communities of Surinam it is normal that after entering the village no exchange is perpetrated without first being seated on a special stool and then having a long introductory dialogue with your exchange partner (Koelewijn & Rivière 1988). 4. . Specific Social Valuables Alegría (1980) has already provided some of the mentioned items in the list with a cultural context. just as in the above case of the exchange between the Taíno cacique and Colón. following rules of hospitality in many regions. This is an important part of the exchange by which actually most of the existing social connections are reinvigorated. just as in the excerpt above. just before the guests leave the village. it is intriguing to put some of the items in the framework of costly signalling with social valuables to see if it is possible at all to reconstruct some of the messages being sent by the gift of these specific social valuables (figure 6). After this it is indeed customary to have a large banquet in honour of the guests that is sponsored by the host community.xvi Apparently the social valuables given by Colón were of an admirable quality when viewed from the Taíno socio-cosmic universe since Colón often remarks in his diary that the Taíno were overjoyed with the received gifts. the main exchange ritual will take place in which the guests and the hosts offer goods and the quality of the goods is discussed and critiqued.
One of the most interesting of the items that are named in the list is the guaíza. The 7 mysterious "tao" cannot be identified.xvii Other items that would have been highly valued by the Taíno are the 6 belts in the list. we know from ethnohistorical sources that these artefacts where exchanged on a number of occasions between Europeans and the Taíno. but perhaps they are similar to the sheets of gold and mirrors of which 42 are mentioned in this list. Why these belts with their faces were so valued can unfortunately only be guessed at.can be seen in the Vienna Museum f'ür Völkerkunde. so it cannot be proven that a particular artefact is exotic to its archaeological context. Therefore it is difficult to confirm that the particular artefacts found by archaeologists were exchanged. "Trajeron al Almirante una gran carátula que tenía grandes pedazos de oro en las orejas y en los ojos y en otras partes. in preparation). since these could be broken up and distributed by caciques as described by Colón in his entry for 17 December (Navarette 1922: 107). but it is unquestionably one of the items on this list that is valued for mediating social situations. la cual le dio con otras joyas de oro que el mismo rey había puesto al Almirante en la cabeza y al pescuezo. There are many things to be said about this enigmatic artefact (Mol. of which at least 4 had a face attached. a cacique from Hispaniola (Naverette 1922: 129). when Colón received a guaíza from Guacanagari." The gift of a guaíza must have been a very costly signal from the perspective of the Taíno since this ornament was intricately connected with concepts of personhood.19) distinguished the living from the dead. . Unfortunately the fact that these artefacts are made of shell prevents archaeometrical research on their provenance. An example of such a belt -from the contact period. It could be that this belt covered the navel. such as on the 26th of December. in addition it could supposedly only have been worn by the highest ranking elites of the Taíno (Oliver 2000). Nonetheless. which according to Pané (1999:1571: p. It is known from archaeological reports that this shell artefact depicting an anthropomorphic or zooanthropomorphic face has a distribution area as far south as the Grenadines and as far north and west as the Eastern part of Cuba. This face could have been another way of wearing a guaíza. These reflecting surfaces could have had a very important meaning in the Taíno socio-cosmic universe as social valuable for distribution.
since parrots where apparently seens as ideal social valuables to exchange between caciques among each other. However the evidence is too circumstantial to be able to define whether there were two different exchange systems –one for elites and one for non-elites. The Taíno word for parrot is guacamaya.A remarkable social valuable mentioned in the list are 14 parrots.a highly valued gold/copper/silver alloy. Whether this means that this prefix indicates a certain class of social valuables cannot be known for certain. guaitiao. Some of these valuables are also part of the Colón shipping list. 10 spear launchers. Wilson (1990) argues that this must also have been a significant signal in the Taíno socio-cosmic universe. What can be deduced from the content and the amount of the exchanges taking place is that the Taíno where indeed sending very costly signals to Colón and the other Spaniards. containing the prefix gua-. In addition there is ample evidence from the Guyanas that parrots are highly valued in exchanges (Howard 2001) That there are presumably different classes of exchange valuables can be inferred from the fact that different items were exchanged between Colón and other high ranking Spaniards and Taíno caciques than between crewmen who engaged in exchanges with the larger group of -possibly lower ranked. The Taíno probably tried to continue this practice with the Spaniards in the proto-contact period by sending specific costly signals to signal the competitive ability of individual Taíno caciques but also to show the willingness to enter into a connecting social relationship with these newcomers. 54 skirts. guanín . Conclusions From this short survey of ethnohistorical sources specifically describing or listing the exchange of social valuables it has become evident that the Taíno socio-cosmic universe was for a great part regulated by a socio-economic system reliant on the exchange of social valuables.and in the indigenous word for the ritual exchange of names. such as 94 hammocks. 17 beads and 20 knots and yarns of cotton. It is known from an entry in his diary on the 10th of December that Colón on his first expedition actively sought to acquire parrots to take back to the Royal Court in Spain.or that this is the result of nuances and personal choices within one exchange system. This prefix also returns in the indigenous words for certain other social valuables such as guaíza.Taíno. .
For this reason due care should be taken when applying what is known from contact situations to pre-contact situations. subverting the Taíno’s socio-cosmic universe and their well-established patterns of power. The same process affected the Spaniards to some extent. due to processes such as mimicry. relations turned hostile and the Taíno were subjugated and subsequently almost completely wiped out. but crucial. What can be safely concluded is that the Taíno employed a highly complex exchange system in which social valuables were part of a congregated set of diverse goods.to a hybrid situation in which the Taíno gradually parted with their old socio-cosmic universes and value systems. after the initial relatively peaceful period that was characterized by the gifting of social valuables. It is therefore indeed very difficult to reconstruct an "authentic" Taíno sociocosmic universe solely from the perspective of the ethnohistorical sources. It is here that detailed knowledge of the archaeological context of social valuables can offer a view which is not distorted by Euro-Caribbean hybridization. were subtle.Although the Spanish and Taíno socio-cosmic universes were vastly different both parties tried to signal and understand messages from a shared platform. during carefully enacted exchange rituals. What also becomes painfully obvious from the ethnohistorical sources is that the changes in the Taíno socio-cosmic universe in the initial contact period. This led -at least in the beginning of the contact period. These processes led to rapid changes in the Taíno socio-economic system. . it is clear from this very first colonial collision of two socio-cosmic universes that being the same but not quite is no guarantee for survival. This aided the Spanish when. These were given and kept at strategically chosen moments in social relationships. As in so many colonial situations hereafter.
Figure 2.Figures Figure 1. A model of ethnohistorical analysis in rigid socio-cosmic universes. A model of ethnohistorical analysis in a hybrid socio-cosmic universe. .
Gold in the Colon Shipping List. 1496 9 25% Number and percentage of items w ithout gold Number of items and percentage w ith some amount of gold Number and percentage of mentioning of a shipment of only gold 20 56% 7 19% . Diachronic view per month of shipments received at La Isabela. 1495 11 19% Number and percentage of items w ithout gold Number of items and percentage w ith some amount of gold Number and percentage of mentioning of a shipment of only gold 13 22% 34 59% Figure 4. 1495 Gold in the Colon Shipping List.Diachronic view per month of shipments received at La Isabela 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 Total shipments Total quantity of items Figure 3. Gold in the Colón Shipping List.
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In combination with a statement by Pané (1999:p. iii "Social valuables" as a concept encapsulates terms such as "the gift" (Mauss 1990). iv In the Caribbean we know from ethnohistorical sources that "intellectual property" existed that was indeed exchanged. ritual dances. The remaining element íza is connected to ísiba. the added value of handcrafted products versus industrially manufactured products or the handing over from generation to generation of family heirlooms. xi In the case of the original utilization of this concept for the caste system of India Dumont found that there were descriptive boundaries in place that prevented exchanges between different castes.g. . "prestige goods" (e. xvi As mentioned earlier in this article it may be that the peak of exchanges that took place when Colón was preparing to leave the island is a reflection of what the Taíno perceived of a prolonged period of exchange occasions. xiv Here I choose to plot the total number of shipments. "exotics" and "crafted goods" (Helms 1988. such as in the case of the men of the Baruya that jealously guard and hide certain artifacts used in specific boy initiation ceremonies from the women of their community (Godelier 1999). which is the 1+2 person possessive ("ours" "yours and mine") in Lokono. in this case to be translated as "countenance". One could think modern practices of bringing home souvenirs. Another descriptive boundary that could be in place in a socio-cosmic universe is the proscription of exchange of gender specific social valuables. while these contacts did not have an irreversible destructive impact yet. xvii If one takes a closer linguistically comparative look at the word guaíza it will become apparent that it is build up out of different elements. "our face". "primitive valuable" (Earle 1981). Koelewijn & Rivière 1988 for the Trio of Surinam. this would give a skewed image. instead of the total number of items received. é dos espejos. However the multitude of exchanges described in the ethnohistoric record show that the interaction between the Europeans and indigenous people of Hispaniola was apparently not of such a nature that descriptive boundaries in place in the two different socio-cosmic universes made this interaction impossible. or the guaitiao. v For more information on how commodities gain a life history see Appadurai 1986 vi Examples of these methods are not only "archaic" or exotic in nature. This would come to be translated as "our countenance". so for instance on the 10th of March when "tres carátulas con diez y nueve piezas de hoja de oro. This is done because the list also describes large amounts of objects received. Clark and Blake 1994). In guaíza can be found the prefix wa.i This period is termed "proto contact" here since this is the period (1492 to roughly 1500 AD) in which there were exploratory contacts between the Spanish and the indigenous people of the Greater Antilles. x Read Goodman (1978) or Putnam (1988) for epistemological discussions of how such internal reality systems work. Also the chronological distribution is already skewed.19) guaíza would be paraphrased as "face of the living" or "the way the spirits of the living look". 1993). since the records of 1495 comprises 9 months and 1496 only 3 months. such as 66 hammocks and 101 pieces of amber. which is used in a number of functions as "protruding element".g. ii For an impression of the time it took to make some of the Caribbean's famous cotton artifacts such as the "beaded zemi" from the Pigorini Museum see Ostapkowizc 2006. vii For more information on how social connections are maintained by the use of social valuables see Komter 2005. since it is shown that communities often employ the same tactics as individuals (Richardson & Boyd 2004). such as the gift of areytos. é dos torteruelos de hoja de oro" were received at La Isabela I treat these as 3 shipments. viii World of the gift ix Arguably communities could also make use of costly signaling theory just like individuals. xv For an extensive example of exchanges among the Guyanese Waiwai see Howard (2001) or other works such as e. Chagnon 1995 for the Yanomami of south Venezuala. xii For more information on signals and miscommunication read Rapport (2001) xiii When shipment of items are grouped together this means that I consider all items of one type given on a single occasion as 1 shipment. las lumbres de hoja de oro. name exchange.