Jamaican Archaeology and High-Tech Human Stories
Zachary J. M. Beier
Like other disciplines in the Humanities, Archaeology is dedicated to uncovering human stories. Archaeologists study the things made and left behind by past peoples. We have come a long way from using simply a shovel and sieve to expose our human past. Today, the availability of innovative technologies for high-tech archaeological analyses produces high-resolution human stories that allows us to engage with a more dynamic and lifelike past. Examples of this technology include x-ray guns that identify an artefact's chemical composition, as well as ground penetrating radar that detects buried sites and ancient DNA from humans that says more about origin and biological makeup than ever before. The application of technology in Jamaican archaeology is particularly significant because of the potential to enhance our understandings about populations that have been "silenced" in popular histories through European colonialism. Archaeological research allows the silenced peoples of the island, such as indigenous Taino and displaced and enslaved African groups, to "speak" to us today.