Date of this Version
Caribbean Connections (March 2013) 3(1): 1-9.
Barbuda is the sister island to Antigua, located in the Lesser Antilles, West Indies. This island belongs to the Miocene arch of the Lesser Antilles, along with Grande Terre of Guadeloupe, Marie Galante, and Anguilla. Barbuda, notwithstanding its small size and low elevation, has an exceptionally rich past. Recent investigations by a Brooklyn College, City University of New York led team, has discovered evidence of human activity in and around these caves from the Archaic Period down to the present day. The range of activity at these caves begins with scatters of Archaic lithics, through artifacts and faunal material possibly produced by Obeah rituals to the contemporary celebrations and feasting activities that take place within and around these caves to this day. These contemporary cave based activities are central to the Barbudan people’s relationship to their land and follow in the footsteps of the many waves of peoples that have called this island home for thousands of years. The idea of living from the land is celebrated many times a year through gatherings at the caves in which the food served has both African and Amerindian origins. Barbudans continue a long-term tradition of cave usage as shelter and feasting places where the food is cooked and shared and the only food consumed is what can be hunted and/or gathered from the wild. This tradition has been kept alive in the face of westernization and the threat of modernization. The caves of Barbuda offer a powerful example of changing human activities in one specific place through a truly longitudinal perspective.