Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Please click on the titles to be taken to the pdf.


Samson, Alice V. M. and Bridget M. Waller: 2010. Not growling but smiling: New interpretations of the bared-teeth motif in the pre-Columbian Caribbean. Current Anthropology 51 (3), pp.425-433.

Samson, Alice V. M. 2010. Renewing the House: Trajectories of social life in the yucayeque (community) of El Cabo, Higuey, Dominican Republic, AD800-1504. PhD dissertation, Leiden University. Sidestone Press. Leiden. (the book can be ordered through http://www.sidestone.com/ or http://www.oxbowbooks.com/)

Samson, Alice V. M. in press: House trajectories in El Cabo, Dominican Republic: The building blocks of Late Ceramic Age culture. Submission for the proceedings of the XXIII Congress of IACA, Antigua and Barbuda, June 29 – July 3 2009.

Hofman, Corinne L., Hoogland, M.L.P. Samson, A. V. M and Oliver J.. 2008: Investigaciones arqueológicas en El Cabo, oriente de la República Dominicana: Resultados preliminares de las campañas 2005 y 2006. Boletín del Museo del Hombre Dominicano, 42.

Samson, Alice V. M. and Menno L.P. Hoogland. 2007: Residencia Taína: Huellas de asentamiento en El Cabo, República Dominicana, El Caribe Arqueológico, 10, pp. 93-103.

Hofman, Corinne L., Hoogland, M.L.P., Oliver, J. and Samson A.V.M. 2006: Investigaciones arqueológicas en El Cabo, oriente de la República Dominicana: resultades preliminaries de la campaña de 2005. El Caribe Arqueológico, 9. Santiago de Cuba, pp. 95-106

Samson, Alice V. M. 2006: Offshore finds from the Bronze Age in north-west Europe: the shipwreck scenario revisited. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 25.4.

Hofman, Corinne L., Hoogland, M.L.P., Oliver, J. and Samson A.V.M.: Archaeological investigations at El Cabo, eastern Dominican Republic: preliminary results of the 2005 campaign. Unpublished report.

Samson, Alice V. M. 2005: Bronze Age seafaring: some thoughts on social and ideological implications. SOJA conference proceedings.

in press. Hofman, C.L., Boomert, A., Bright, A., Hoogland, M.L.P., Knippenberg, S. and Samson, A.V.M.: Ties with the "Motherland": archipelagic interaction and the enduring role of the South American mainland in the pre-Columbian Lesser Antilles. Curet, L.A. (ed), University of Alabama Press.

Alice's CV


Thursday, August 14, 2008

95 boxes loaded into a lorry. the sum total of 4 years of excavation in El Cabo. Manolo and his girlfriend Margarita were also in the Ecological Foundation carpark to witness the archaeological village stacked in beer boxes, ready for transportation to the Museo del Hombre. Burials on top to avoid crushing on tight bends. It was quite a poignant moment, for me at least, and also an achievement and seemed to mark the end of a 4 year relationship we have had with a very special place in the Dominican Republic. as if the boxes of shell, stone and coral, represented boxes of memories containing the village and the people we know now because they are the product of our collaboration.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

last day in the field, after a survey and a swim

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Noortje only likes one type of box – Presidente boxes, capable of holding x24 65ml bottles. This is the national brand of beer. These are big and strong enough to hold large amounts of archaeological material and still be lifted (just). One of the aims of this fieldseason is to pack everything we have excavated over the last 4 years, and send it to the museum in a big lorry. This material fills 100 Presidente boxes. A lot of shell, stone, bone, pottery and coral.

The streets of Beron are awash with rubbish – cardboard, plastic, old shoes, food remains scavenged by mangy mutts, and the only thing people drink next their rum, is Presidente. Hence this is the ideal and most widely available box type in the country…you would think.

Every day for the last 2 weeks, delegations from our group have been sent into Beron to scout for boxes. We visitied every supermarket in the entire town from Supermercado Camilo, Comercial Manzanillo and Colmado Luis, Supermercado Ciabo and Uridy, every small colmado store, several times, sometimes within the same day. Colleen (American friend who lives in Beron) recruited one of the boys from her barrio to comb the streets for us…he managed 6 in a whole day, and they were good, but not Presidente. Colmado Antonio has been the only regular saviour, supplying on average 3-4 boxes per begging visit. Myself, Alexander and Samantha have poked through unappetising rubbish dumps for usable specimens with no success but plenty of ant-bites and encounters with interesting smells.

Today we went on the last scavenge, the same shop to shop trawl, only visiting those who had supplied before and whose promises of “mañana” filled us with hope, but proved empty. On the way back, we went for a last ditch attempt at the club de empleados, just next the the Fundacion where we drink and play pool every night, and who have repeatedly denied our requests for boxes in the past….success! Noortje was happy.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Juana, the alcalde (mayor) of El Cabo and youngest children in their new house in Barrio Lindo in Higuey

El Cabo beach exists! For years (can’t actually believe it’s been years now that we have been coming to El Cabo) I have laboured under the impression that there was just rocky shoreline, needle sharp and buffeted by waves, and no beaches near El Cabo – hence no landing places for canoes or easy access for fishermen other than several kilometres to the north by Juanillo bay, or many kilometres to the south by Boca de Yuma – all too far or too “private access forbidden” for the locals to use. I heard stories about the thriving relationship between Juanillo fishermen and the villagers of El Cabo which existed in the past, and how Juanillo bay was one of the most beautiful natural sandy bays around and THE place to bathe and be seen. This also posed an archaeological problem – why would people live in El Cabo, next to the sea, and not be able to gain access to it (of course, they could have constructed all kinds of jetty-like things which we have not excavated – perhaps there’s a Deal pier underwater somewhere…)? I imagined daily canoe traffic to and fro from El Cabo to Boca de Yuma, Puerto Rico, Isla Mona and Macao as it’s by far the easiest way to traverse large distances, and fishing boats bobbing in the waves by and beyond the reef visible from the roundhouses on the Cabo bluff, but I was puzzled about how on earth they would have managed to drag canoes over corals and rocks as sharp as dog’s teeth (thanks De Las Casas, good description). So when I saw some photos at Belto’s house of people frolicking on a sandy beach, I assumed it was Juanillo, before “development”. Belto however told me it was on a beach where everyone in El Cabo ALWAYS went, just up the road. Seeing that in the past I have had all sorts of conversations with locals and Dominican archaeologists about the access to the sea issue, I assumed “up the road” was a typical Dominican understatement of distance. But no, he assured me it was just in front of Nicolas’house – where else did he get all those burgao (West Indian topshell) from? So we wrapped up feature excavation a few minutes early, and went to do some experimental archaeology (i.e. a pleasant swim). It was gorgeous – two small strips of sand, about 3-4 metres along the beach, leading into deep water, crystal clean (Belto assured me sharks preferred the other side of El Cabo, so we were safe…). I thought that perhaps sandy stretches like this appeared and disappeared regularly with storms and the like, but Belto also said that he swam in the same place 20 years ago, when he was 10. It’s also a favourite landing spot for narcos. But yesterday it was just beautiful and the waves were perfect, and we sat on a log to dry off at the end, and it completely slipped my mind to look for potsherds…

Thursday, July 24, 2008

We got to the site yesterday, ready to do a bit of posthole digging, to encounter the whirring blades of a military chopper, and a group of national narcotics police – dressed to the nines in flak jackets, automatic weapons and helmets. Thinking we had surprised them in the middle of a drugs heist, we stayed in the truck and intended to make our way to Belto’s house for refuge until the nasty men had gone. They hollered at us to stop however, and not being fans of Dominican uniformed, weaponed men, we stopped.

“Can we borrow your flippers?”

“Can we borrow your flippers?” ?? We checked the translation with Erlend (fluent Spanish speaker in the team), but yes, the narco police had indeed just asked us whether it would be possible, please, to borrow some flippers and a snorkel. We stared at them incredulously - had they forgotten to pack them in the heli when they left Santo Domingo that morning? I mean, sometimes we forget things too – the finds list, a spare trowel…

We ate some melon at Belto’s, and as soon as the heli departed, went back to the site. After a bit of a fly and a swim however, they came back and lounged against the fence (see pic, check out heli in background) and asked for telephone numbers and offered a hand with the digging. We spurned their offers and eventually they got bored and left. Meanwhile Kelin and Manolo turned up with that morning’s catch – far more impressive behaviour.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pido Auxilio!!

Copy and paste this link for a feel of the bachata performance we went to last night


The short chap in the white suit is the famous Dominican bachatero, Joe Veras. The beer-drinking dutchies are trying to work up the courage to hit the dance floor….

The Irish and the American beat them to it!

A dominican bar in Beron is quite an experience. The cost of a live concert is too much for the average Beron citizen to afford, and so many of them hang around on motorbikes or on the fence outside, whereas inside its full of Dominican players, young Dominican women, rich white men, and us…a perfect people-watching experience, all to the backdrop of deafening music and a pervasive sweat which gets worse with every dance [read: inept shuffle]. The routine dancefloor conversation with Dominican men goes something like this:

Juan: “Tienes novio?”[have you got a boyfriend?]

Unsuspecting archaeologist: “Que? Hablo poco espanol.” [sorry, I don’t speak much Spanish].

Juan: “You have boyfriend?”

Playing it safe archaeologist: “Si, tengo esposo..y ninos tambien” [Yes, i have a husband, and children].

Juan: “Estan aqui?” [are they here now?]

Naïve archaeologist: “no”.

Juan, triumphant: “Entonces, no tienes novio! Yo soy tu novio dominicano.” [Ah ha! So you have no boyfriend in the Dominican Republic. I’ll be your boyfriend!]

Nonplussed archaeologist returns to seat unable to puzzle over this Dominican logic.