Connect with us

Caribbean & World

Modelling archaeological sites from Grenada to St Vincent

Published

on

by Jonathan Hanna and Christina Giovas

The Climate Threat to Heritage

Average global sea levels are projected to rise 1-2m by the year 2100, the ripple-effects of which we are only beginning to understand (e.g., see Kulp and Strauss 2019; Storlassi et al. 2018). These changes will be felt globally, but tropical islands are especially vulnerable and are already bearing the brunt of global warming, as seen in the most recent example of Hurricane Dorian’s devastation in the Bahamas.

While the impact on people and their communities (mostly in the poorest countries who have contributed the least to the problem) is the top priority, the material heritage of each island is also at serious risk. The Natural History Museum in Great Abaco, for example, was completely levelled by Dorian (Rolle 2019). The majority of pre-Columbian archaeological sites in the Lesser Antilles are coastal, meaning that much of the southern Caribbean’s material heritage will be drowned or destroyed over the next 80 years. As this happens, map models which predict the likely location of threatened or undocumented archaeological sites will provide a valuable tool for heritage managers and local communities for prioritising protection efforts.

An Islandscape IFD

It is from this context that we put together a tool for cultural heritage management in Grenada, the Grenadines, and St Vincent (Hanna and Giovas 2019). We built an inventory of all archaeological sites in the region and then measured common environmental variables around pre-Columbian settlements over time– everything from distance to water to nearest reef size to soil quality and net primary productivity (NPP), a satellite-derived measure of plant productivity.

However, we didn’t want to simply look inductively at what variables were present — rather, we wanted to test the variables, deductively, to discern those with predictive potential. To do this, we looked at variables that declined over time, hypothesising that the most desirable areas would be chosen first in a progression of increasingly less-desirable locations– this is a pattern called the Ideal Free Distribution (IFD) (see Wikipedia 2019 for the general idea).

For example, if big rivers were a major factor in suitability, early sites would be closer to them and later sites would be farther (and/or closer to smaller rivers). As long as the chosen variables remained culturally-important, highly suitable sites should remain occupied over time (and never abandoned permanently).

In our analysis of 24 variables, we found eight that appeared to maintain importance to people over time, including closeness to freshwater wetlands, NPP, size of nearest reef, and slope. The importance of some of these was already known anecdotally, and a previous study by one of the authors found plant productivity to be significant for settlement timing in the larger Lesser Antilles region (Giovas and Fitspatrick 2014). Several variables also corroborated existing evidence for the increasing importance of marine resources over time (e.g., sites moved closer to large reefs and beaches and further from the best agricultural lands).

One of the more interesting correlations was latitude, which indicated more northern sites were settled earlier than more southern ones. This offers another line of evidence for the “Southward Route Hypothesis” (e.g., Fitspatrick 2013) — the growing consensus that the Caribbean was colonised “backwards,” with the northern Antilles largely settled before the southern Lesser Antilles, despite the latter being closer to the source region.

With a model of these variables in hand, we then created a grid of points every 300 metres across the study region and took similar measurement for each point, which were then fed into the model to predict the timing of pre-Columbian settlement at any given location. The earliest predicted areas have the strongest likelihood of containing an (often undiscovered) archaeological site, but the model also offers chronological predictions for the hundreds of unstudied sites throughout the region (e.g., sites where artefacts were found but not analysed, etc.).

The value of such predictive models goes beyond academic interests and offers a way for heritage managers (inevitably limited by time, money, and support) to prioritise archaeologically-important areas that are vulnerable to destruction by future development, rising sea levels, and increasingly catastrophic storms.

For those interested in more, see our references below, and check out your local museums, such as the Grenada National Museum, the Mt Rich “Carib Stone” Interpretation Centre, the Carriacou Historical Society & Museum, The Bequia Maritime Museum, and the National Museum in St Vincent. Remember that it is illegal to remove artefacts from an archaeological site without explicit permission from government. If you find artefacts, please leave them in place and alert the National Museum so the site can be properly documented.

Public access to academic research is often hindered by publisher paywalls and copyright protections. To share their research with the wider public, archaeologists Jonathan Hanna and Christina Giovas have offered a summary of their recent paper in the journal Environmental Archaeology, entitled, “An Islandscape IFD: Using the Ideal Free Distribution to Predict Pre-Columbian Settlements from Grenada to St Vincent, Eastern Caribbean.”

For those who wish to read the original paper, the authors can be emailed at jah1147@psu[dot]edu and cgiovas@sfu[dot]ca for a copy; there are also 50 free downloads available via these links: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/WMI94SI6EKQJDM2IDYX7/full?target=10.1080/14614103.2019.1689895

OR

https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/NUZAMZZMQXHZ7VUFYIBM/full?target=10.1080/14614103.2019.1689895


References

Fitspatrick, Scott M. 2013. “The Southward Route Hypothesis.” In The Oxford Handbook of Caribbean Archaeology, edited by William F. Keegan, Corinne Lisette Hofman, and Reniel Rodrígues Ramos, 198–204. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195392302.013.0068.

Giovas, Christina M., and Scott M. Fitspatrick. 2014. “Prehistoric Migration in the Caribbean: Past Perspectives, New Models and the Ideal Free Distribution of West Indian Colonisation.” World Archaeology 46 (4): 569–589. doi:10.1080/00438243.2014.933123.

Hanna, Jonathan A., and Christina M. Giovas. 2019. “An Islandscape IFD: Using the Ideal Free Distribution to Predict Pre-Columbian Settlements from Grenada to St Vincent, Eastern Caribbean.” Environmental Archaeology. doi:10.1080/14614103.2019.1689895.

Kulp, Scott A., and Benjamin H. Strauss. 2019. “New Elevation Data Triple Estimates of Global Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Flooding.” Nature Communications 10 (1): 1–12. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-12808-s.

Rolle, Leandra. 2019. “Smithsonian to Help Recover Damaged Artefacts.” The Tribune, October 31. http://www.tribune242.com/news/2019/oct/31/smithsonian-help-recover-damaged-artefacts/. [accessed: November 12, 2019].

Storlassi, Curt D., Stephen B. Gingerich, Ap van Dongeren, Olivia M. Cheriton, Peter W. Swarsenski, Ellen Quataert, Clifford I. Voss, et al. 2018. “Most Atolls Will Be Uninhabitable by the Mid-21st Century Because of Sea-Level Rise Exacerbating Wave-Driven Flooding.” Science Advances 4 (4): eaap9741. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aap9741.

Wikipedia. 2019. “Ideal Free Distribution.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ideal_free_distribution. [accessed: November 12, 2019].

NOW Grenada is not responsible for the opinions, statements or media content presented by contributors. In case of abuse, click here to report.

Source: Source link

Caribbean & World

International Civil Aviation Day | United Nations

Published

on

By

Civil aircraft at airport terminal. Photo: Serge Davidyants

The purpose of International Civil Aviation Day is to help generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation to the social and economic development of States, and of the unique role of ICAO in helping States to cooperate and realize a truly global rapid transit network at the service of all mankind.

As the UN and world nations have now adopted Agenda 2030, and embarked on a new era in global sustainable development, the importance of aviation as an engine of global connectivity has never been more relevant to the Chicago Convention’s objectives to look to international flight as a fundamental enabler of global peace and prosperity.

Every five years, coinciding with ICAO anniversaries (2014/2019/2024/2029/etc.), the ICAO Council establishes a special anniversary theme for International Civil Aviation Day. Between these anniversary years, Council representatives select a single theme for the full four-year intervening period.

 

75 Years of Connecting the World

Seventy-five years after ICAO’s foundation, the International Civil Aviation network carries over four billion passengers annually.

The global Air Transport sector supports 65.5 million jobs and USD 2.7 trillion in global economic activity, with over 10 million women and men working within the industry to ensure 120,000 flights and 12 million passengers a day are carried safely to their destinations. The wider supply chain, flow-on impacts and jobs in tourism made possible by air transport show that at least 65.5 million jobs and 3.6 per cent of global economic activity are supported by the aviation industry according to research by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).

Learn more about ICAO 75 Years of Connecting the World.

 

 

Source: Source link

Continue Reading

Caribbean & World

This Day in History | NOW Grenada

Published

on

By

by John Angus Martin, A-Z of Grenada Heritage

On this day, 7 December 1976, Grenada witnessed its most contentious general elections to date when opposition parties formed a coalition, the People’s Alliance (PA), to challenge the electoral monopoly of the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) of Prime Minister Gairy, but lost.

In an attempt to end the GULP’s seemingly unshakeable electoral monopoly, the three main opposition political parties–the leftist New Jewel Movement (NJM) under Maurice Bishop (nominating seven candidates), the centrist Grenada National Party under Herbert Blaize (nominating five candidates), and the pro-business United People’s Party under Winston Whyte, a former GULP senator (nominating two candidates)–formed a coalition party, the People’s Alliance, to contest the 1976 general elections. Ideological differences between the parties created some tension, as was evident with the establishment of the PA only a few days prior to the deadline for nomination. The PA brought together three politically diverse groups, with only one thing in common, a strong desire to be rid of PM Gairy and the GULP.

The failure of the NJM to remove Eric Gairy from power by mass protest in 1974 had forced its leaders to participate in parliamentary elections, even though they believed the electoral process to be “woefully deficient.” The youth vote, from which the NJM derived much support, became important, especially since 18-year-olds were eligible to vote for the first time. Though the PA had hoped that its broad-based support would be enough to defeat PM Gairy, it was confronted with a number of political obstacles. PM Gairy’s supposed abuses and corruption of the electoral process, and the passing of a number of laws like the banning of the use of public address systems by opposition parties, thwarted the opposition’s every move. The GULP government had a monopoly of the airwaves, and even controlled the choice of an opposition election symbol.

In the end, the PA won six of the 15 contested constituencies, capturing just under 49% of the popular vote. It later protested that the election was not free and fair. It was one of the most hotly contested elections in many years. Despite the PA’s loss, the GULP government was confronted with a noticeable opposition for the first time in a decade. By 1979 many believed that “the Parliament had degenerated into a theatrical act, with Gairy always the leading actor,” and the opposition, under Bishop, a reluctant supporting cast. Some have suggested that “the Grenada Parliament had become a caricature of the Westminster model and, moreover, reflected the inherent weaknesses of that model,” leading to disillusionment in the process, and ultimately resulting in the Revolution. If there were winners among the PA, it was the NJM, which won over new supporters and gained a national platform for its leftist views.

NOW Grenada is not responsible for the opinions, statements or media content presented by contributors. In case of abuse, click here to report.

Source: Source link

Continue Reading

Caribbean & World

RGPF retirees encouraged to continue serving their communities

Published

on

By

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada 

  • Police retirees urged to use job knowledge and experience to serve communities
  • 20 police officers of various ranks with a combined 587 years of service, retired

The underlining message embedded in most of the addresses to the retirees of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) was to use their knowledge and experience gained on the job to continue to serve their communities.

On Wednesday, 4 December, twenty police officers of various ranks from ASP to Royal Constable with a combined 587 years of service, retired from the RGPF. The Police Welfare Association staged a farewell ceremony in their honour at the Special Services Unit (SSU) compound at Camp Saline.

These police officers entered the service at various times, dating back to 1984, and in recognition of their services each received a plaque and medal of service in recognition of their contribution to the RGPF. As customary, the retirees marched off to Auld Lang Syne under a guard of honour, and elicited tears and applause from their comrades as they gave their final salute to Acting Police Commissioner, Edvin Martin.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Michael François, reminded them not to allow their talents and abilities to wither away but to put them to good use in their respective communities.

“As you retire you can look back and feel part of the part you played in seeking to build a culture in the RGPF that reflect values that underpin the service that we provide in many ways. Life begins at retirement today, and by today’s standard you are young men and women with a lot to offer to your immediate communities and to the wider society. I order you to reflect on how you are going to use your wealth of experience and talent for the common good. It is always said that the only true retirement is that of the heart. I know that your hearts are not retired and they are in the right place,” ACP François said.

Chairman of the RGPF Welfare Association, Inspector Simon Douglas, outlined areas where retirees can focus their attention post-retirement to have a more meaning life: to build a strong spiritual connection with their creator, improve their social interaction, maintain a positive attitude towards retirement and maintain a healthy body through diet and exercise. He also stressed that they now have a duty to be more integrated within the fabric of their communities. “Be intentional in creating your social network. During retirement also understand that folks from the job aren’t very likely to be a part of your post-retirement life. For those of you who are solitary try to discover the engage others; join community groups with people of similar interests. Volunteer in organisations that help people, for giving others brings the greatest sense of fulfilment. Use your knowledge and experiences to guide and encourage those of us who are still on the job.”

Kerabe Belfon, a former officer of the RGPF delivered the charge. He emphasised the importance of retirees to remember that life does not end after retirement and that they are still expected to play a leadership role in their communities. “I challenge you to enter the phase with a sense of purpose so that you could remain in good health and prosper. I understand the fight. I understand what it means to finish the race. I tell you brethren when my time arrived I finished that race sprinting. As retiring [people] I say to you, finish the race sprinting; finish the race strong so that when you move into that new phase the energy that you have you [will] transform it in realising the goals that you have beyond the RGPF, beyond service to this nation.”

2019 RGPF retirees:

  1. Supt. Terrence Noel
  2. WSupt. Lynda Francis
  3. ASP Terrence Julien
  4. ASP Renwick Francis
  5. Insp 664 David Lewis
  6. Sgt 141 Denis Burke
  7. Cpl 612 Eric Bascombe
  8. Cpl 779 Reynold St. John
  9. PC 284 Carl Fletcher (deceased)
  10. PC 60 Lincoln Roberts
  11. PC 655 Roderick Williams
  12. PC 790 Thaddeus Lewis
  13. WPC 188 Agnes Mc Lawrence
  14. WPC 759 Carol Horsford
  15. PC 507 Desmond Alexander
  16. PC 566 Wilson Richards
  17. WRC Jean Chetram
  18. RC Lennard Dickson
  19. RC Herman James
  20. Betty Ann Joseph

NOW Grenada is not responsible for the opinions, statements or media content presented by contributors. In case of abuse, click here to report.

Source: Source link

Continue Reading

Trending