More Archaeological Information from White Marl

Photo: Dave Reid Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange (left), points to a section of the White Marl area of St. Catherine, where in 1965 a museum and midden were established to showcase traditions of the Tainos. The Minister, along with a team from the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), toured the area on November 9 to view work being done by a group of archaeologists from the University of the West Indies and the University of Holland. At right is Interim Executive Director of the JNHT, Dorrick Gray.

Story Highlights

  • The Government is making an effort to gather more archaeological information from the White Marl area of St. Catherine, where a community of Tainos lived, even as the Administration is widening the Mandela Highway.
  • “This is a very important site. The development and expansion of the Mandela Highway is important, but we have to preserve our heritage. We have to use the opportunity to do as much research as we can, and (protect) what is important in Jamaican heritage,” Minister Grange told JIS News.
  • The Taínos were Arawaks, the indigenous people of the Caribbean and Florida. At the time of European contact in the late 15th Century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Puerto Rico.

The Government is making an effort to gather more archaeological information from the White Marl area of St. Catherine, where a community of Tainos lived, even as the Administration is widening the Mandela Highway.

While on a tour of the area on November 8, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, said a group of archaeologists from the University of the West Indies and the University of Holland is carrying out excavation work at the site, and the members have requested an additional four weeks for their research.

“This is a very important site. The development and expansion of the Mandela Highway is important, but we have to preserve our heritage. We have to use the opportunity to do as much research as we can, and (protect) what is important in Jamaican heritage,” the Minister told JIS News.

Miss Grange said the researchers are volunteering their skills for the project, because of how “interesting the site is considered,” and time must be given so that the “proper” research can be done.

“Right now, we are of interest to the world and the other Caribbean islands, because of what we are uncovering, and because of the importance of this site,” the Minister said.

She also lauded Lasco Manufacturing, which has its operations nearby, for inviting the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) to examine the site, and praised the National Works Agency (NWA) team for their understanding.

In 1965, a museum and midden were built at another section of the area to showcase traditions of the Tainos.

The Taínos were Arawaks, the indigenous people of the Caribbean and Florida. At the time of European contact in the late 15th Century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Puerto Rico.

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