This book provides a politically and historically informed review of Cuban archaeology, from both American and Cuban perspectives. Many Americans are aware of the political, economic, and personal impacts of the US embargo on Cuba. But the communication blockade between scholars has also affected the historical course of academic disciplines and research in general. With the easing of restrictions in the 1990s, academics are now freer to conduct research in Cuba, and the Cuban government has been more receptive to collaborative projects. This volume provides a forum for principal Cuban and American archaeologists to update the current state of Cuban archaeological research - from rock art and potsherds to mortuary practices and historical renovation - thereby filling in the information gap created by political separation. Each group of researchers brings significant new resources to the effort, including strong conservation regulations, innovative studies of lithic and shell assemblages, and transculturation theories. Cuban research on the hacienda system, slavery, and urban processes has in many ways anticipated developments in North American archaeology by a decade or more. Of special interest are the recent renovation projects in Old Havana that fully integrate the work of historians, architects, and archaeologists - a model project conducted by agreement between the Cuban government and UNESCO. The selection of papers for this collection is based on a desire to answer pressing research questions of interest for North American Caribbeanists and to present a cross-section of Cuban archaeological work. With this volume, then, the principal players present results of recent collaborations and begin a renewed conversation, a dialogue that can provide a foundation for future coordinated efforts.
L. Antonio Curet is Assistant Curator of Archaeology at the Field Museum and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is author of Caribbean Paleodemography: Population, Culture History, and Sociopolitical Processes in Ancient Puerto Rico. Shannon Lee Dawdy is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences in the College, University of Chicago. Gabino La Rosa Corzo was Research Archaeologist at the Centro de Antropologia in Havana and is author of Runaway Slave Settlements in Cuba: Resistance and Repression.