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Cuban Archaeology in the Caribbean$
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Ivan Roksandic

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781683400028

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683400028.001.0001

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Sedentism and Mobility Patterns at Canímar Abajo Cemetery, Matanzas, Cuba

Sedentism and Mobility Patterns at Canímar Abajo Cemetery, Matanzas, Cuba

Paleodemographic Evidence

Chapter:
(p.70) 5 Sedentism and Mobility Patterns at Canímar Abajo Cemetery, Matanzas, Cuba
Source:
Cuban Archaeology in the Caribbean
Author(s):

Mirjana Roksandic

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9781683400028.003.0006

Shell matrix sites as burial grounds are a common occurrence in littoral areas around the world. Canímar Abajo, an archaeological site in the Matanzas region of Cuba, is quite unique in presenting two levels of burial activities separated by roughly 1200 years of a midden layer. The Older Cemetery is dated at 1380–800 BC, while the Younger Cemetery is dated to AD 360–950. Chapter 5 examines differences between these two cemeteries in juvenile/adult (J:A) ratio and the mean childhood mortality (mcm) in order to assess changes in fertility pattern and potential sources of bias between the two buried populations. The elevated number of buried children is associated with high fertility in cemetery populations. High fertility has, in turn, been associated with a more sedentary lifestyle. Canímar Abajo—with its secure stratigraphic context and a substantial number of 14C dates on human skeletal remains—offers a possibility to examine these models in a single cemetery. The question of the persistent or changing identity of the occupants of the site and the persistence of a cemetery as a focal point after a 1200 year burial hiatus require the author to draw on multiple and varied lines of evidence.

Keywords:   Shell matrix, Canímar Abajo, Matanzas, Older Cemetery, Younger Cemetery, Fertility

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