image/svg+xml247XII/2/2021INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICANATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGYhomepage: http://www.iansa.euOld World Methods, New World Pots. The Introduction of the Potter’s Wheel to the Spanish Colonies of Concepción de la Vega and Cotuí (Dominican Republic 1495–1562)Marlieke Ernst1,2*1Leiden University, Einsteinweg 2, 2333 CC Leiden, the Netherlands2KITLV – Royal Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies, Reuvensplaats 2, 2311 BE Leiden, the Netherlands1. IntroductionThe early colonial Spanish Caribbean, from the arrival of Columbus in 1492 until 1562, was a space in which many cultures were forced to interact through the process of colonization (Hofman and Keehnen, 2019; Ulloa Hung et al., 2021). The island of Hispaniola (present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic) was the frst island to experience large-scale intercultural interactions as a result of Spanish colonial actions. This set the stage for the course of colonization in the rest of the Americas (Hofman et al., 2018; forthcoming). Results of the frst encounters between the Spanish colonizers and the inhabitants of the island encompassed (armed) conficts, invasion, conquest, enslavement, misunderstandings, and a range of other intercultural interactions including intermarriage, as well as exchange of goods, food items, and ideas (Deagan, 1988; 2004; Hofman et al., forthcoming; Sauer, 1966; Valcárcel Rojas et al., 2013; 2019). These exchanges resulted in a process of transculturation; a creative, ongoing process of appropriation, imitation, revision, negotiation, and survival in both social and material dimensions (Ortiz, [1940] 1955). Here transculturation is seen as the (re)negotiation of cultural values and the creation of new materials as a result. Most researchers recognise this process occurring within a somewhat equal colonial situation (Middle-Ground colonialism, Gosden, 2006). However, the agency of colonised and enslaved individuals within a Terra Nullius situation (a more drastic colonial category such as the case in the Spanish Americas), should not be discarded. Scholars have come to understand that subjugated people are not simply victims of their particular colonial histories, but rather that they are active players in the creation of social, political and ideological aspects of social life (Spielman et al., 2006). Here I consider that their (subaltern) agency is therefore also refected within the material culture manufactured and used during the lives of the people of the early colonial Caribbean.Volume XII ● Issue 2/2021 ● Pages 247–256*Corresponding author. E-mail: marlieke_ernst@hotmail.comARTICLE INFOArticle history:Received: 1stFebruary 2021Accepted: 23rdAugust 2021DOI: words:chaîne opératoirewheel-coilingceramic technologycolonialismtransculturationintercultural interactionABSTRACTWheel-made ceramics from early colonial Caribbean sites (1492–1562) have traditionally been labelled as European imports. This paper challenges that assumption, as the intercultural interactions within colonies in the New World have led to the creation of new social identities and changing material culture repertoires. Macro-trace ceramic analysis from the sites of Concepción de la Vega and Cotuí (Hispaniola, present-day Dominican Republic) show that the potter’s wheel was in fact introduced to the Spanish colonies at an early stage. The evidence of RKE (rotative kinetic energy) on sherds and the discovery of parts of a potter’s wheel are the earliest traces of the potter’s wheel found in the Americas. Here we aim to present how the potter’s wheel was introduced within the context of transcultural pottery forming. This paper will show that traditional coiling techniques were supplemented with fnishing techniques on the wheel. The transformation processes within ceramic repertoires are assessed through theories of colonialism and learning processes, combined with archaeological and ethnoarchaeological assessment of the ceramic chaîne opératoire. Evidence from ceramic analysis is combined with historical sources to understand social processes surrounding the technological changes behind the introduction of the potter’s wheel to the New World colonies.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2021 ● XII/2 ● 247–256Marlieke Ernst: Old World Methods, New World Pots. The Introduction of the Potter’s Wheel to the Spanish Colonies of Concepción de la Vega and Cotuí (Dominican Republic 1495–1562)248Interaction, negotiation, and transculturation did not solely occur between the Indigenous peoples of Hispaniola and the colonists from Spain: there were multiple cultures at play. In 1503, the Spanish Crown granted legal justifcation to forcibly remove, relocate, and enslave Indigenous peoples across the islands (Anderson-Córdova, 2017; Hofman et al., 2018; Rivera-Pagán, 2003; Sued Badillo, 2001; Ulloa Hung et al., 2021). As a result, Hispaniola saw an infux of Indigenous enslaved labourers from surrounding islands and the mainland of South America. By 1505, the Crown authorised the relocation of African enslaved peoples to the islands. This was initially for the African enslaved peoples already enslaved in Europe, but later this relocation was also legally justifed for forceful removal of enslaved peoples directly from Africa (Deive, 1980; Palmié, 2011; Rivera-Pagán, 2003). These processes resulted in the formation of communities of enslaved Indigenous and African peoples within Spanish colonial cities, creating a very diverse, multicultural, colonial society.This paper assesses intercultural interactions and the transculturation process within the wheel-made ceramics excavated from two coexisting colonial sites in Hispaniola – the fort of Concepción de la Vega and one of its surrounding goldmines, Cotuí – to show how techniques and styles from diferent cultural backgrounds merged to a new ceramic repertoire refecting the colonial realities. Material culture from early colonial sites can ofer key insights into various interactions between people living within the colonial realities (Deagan, 1988; 1998; 2004; Deagan and Cruxent, 2002; Hofman et al., forthcoming). Within early colonial Caribbean archaeology, the material culture of the colonies has (up until recently) been studied from a historical bias in which Indigenous peoples of the Caribbean disappeared within a couple of decades after the conquest, with no room for much subaltern agency (Deagan and Cruxent, 2002; Rouse, 1992; Ulloa Hung et al., 2021; Wilson, 1990). This was also the case for the ceramics presented here. The sherds of this ceramics have very clear traces that evidence the use of the potter’s wheel and because of this historical bias have thus been labelled as prior European imports (Deagan, 1999; Ortega and Fondeur, 1987b). I would like to challenge that assumption, as the intercultural encounters within colonies in the New World led to the creation of new social identities and changing material culture repertoires. Macro-trace ceramic analysis of the chaînes opératoirespresent within these ceramics show that the potter’s wheel was introduced to the Spanish colonies at an early stage, ofering new venues for studying transculturation within the creation of ceramics. In this article I will frst briefy discuss the historical background of the sites studied in order to better understand the cultures present within the colonies. Then I will go into the ways we can study ceramic change and the methodologies applied in this study; then the ceramic data will be presented. In the discussion, interpretations will be made about the manufacturing techniques, morphologies, and styles in connection to the historical background of the colonial towns.2. The Spanish colonies Concepción de la Vega and CotuíThe colonial town of Concepción de la Vega (Figure 1), consisting of a military fort, a monastery, and a residential