Background


The use of caves in Jamaica as burial sites by Taino Amerindian peoples has been extensively documented (see bibliography). Quite often these cave sites are also the loci for rock-carvings (petroglyphs) and also rock paintings (pictographs), although the latter, are much less frequent. Often, as elsewhere in the Caribbean (Dubelaar, 1986, 1995), these pre-Columbian inscriptions and paintings appear as anthropomorphic representations of human faces or figures, or alternatively of animals (birds, crocodiles, turtles etc.). But beyond these, there are frequently other images which defy such simplistic interpretations and may be thought of as having a cultural, magical or religious content at whose significance we can only guess. These images are of importance in that they provide one of the few remaining links between contemporary society and the, now extinct, Taino peoples (see; Rouse I - bibliography) of Jamaica.

In 1993 a new and remarkable gallery of Amerindian pictographs was discovered in a Jamaica cave. This site provides an online record of some of these images which it is hoped will be of interest to archeologists, anthropologists and others interested in "cave art" and the history of the Caribbean peoples.

This presentation is based on an article published in an issue of the Jamaica Journal in 1998.

Introduction to the pictographs.

 

These pages assembled and maintained by Alan Fincham - July 2002 (afincham@cytanet.com.cy)