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It involved using material remains to define “cultures,” which in turn defined the “peoples” who are the subject of culture-​historical inquiry. Rouse (1972) developed elaborate systems of classification and nomenclature, and expressed a feeling of kinship with similar efforts by David Clarke (1968). ” It involved a shift of attention from the individuals who produced the local cultures to the societies who used the material culture (Watters 1976:6). Rouse was uncomfortable with this change in perspective.

In addition, general portraits of modo de vida are useful in looking at different ways of life at different points in time. However, the similarities by which such groupings have been made mask significant differences between groupings, even to the level of individual sites. For these (and other) reasons, a third approach has emerged in the past decade. This third approach emphasizes differences and diversity. The goal is not to create increasingly finer boxes into which archaeological sites can be grouped, but rather to recognize that everything was in flux all of the time.

As a result, the cultures of Jamaica and central Cuba are now referred to as “Western Taíno,” the cultures of the northernmost Lesser Antilles and Virgin Islands are called “Eastern Taíno,” and the culture of the Bahama archipelago is called “Lucayan” (Taíno). ” It would seem that the naming of cultures in the northern Antilles during initial encounters was resolved. Yet again, the name “Taíno” assumes a level of homogeneity that is unwarranted (Hulme 1993). For example, Bartolomé de las Casas (1951) reported that three mutually unintelligible languages were spoken in Hispaniola.

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