Volume 3, Number 1 (2012)
Marine Subsistence at St. John Site in Trinidad: A Preliminary Study
This paper examines faunal samples from the shell midden site, St. John, in southwestern Trinidad. Dated to 5000 B.C., St. John and Banwari Trace are two of the oldest sites in the Caribbean. This paper seeks to (1) identify the various species found at the site and (2) determine both diet and resource habitats exploited by the Ortoiroid inhabitants of St. John. The identification of faunal samples from excavations in 2009 and 2010 was based on comparative research of specimens held in the Zoological Museum Collection (UWI), as well as published materials on zooarchaeology and Caribbean faunae. Among the primary animals identified were various species of mollusks, crab, mammals and fish. In general terms, the faunal analysis suggests that a diversity of terrestrial and marine species were procured by the Ortoiroid within a variety of resource habitats in close proximity to the site.