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Real, Recent, or Replica, Real, Recent, or Replica, 0817320873, 0-8173-2087-3, 978-0-8173-2087-4, 9780817320874, , Caribbean Archaeology and Ethnohistory, Real, Recent, or Replica, 0817393455, 0-8173-9345-5, 978-0-8173-9345-8, 9780817393458, , Caribbean Archaeology and Ethnohistor

Real, Recent, or Replica
Precolumbian Caribbean Heritage as Art, Commodity, and Inspiration
Edited by Joanna Ostapkowicz and Jonathan A. Hanna

2021. 352 pp.
89 B&W figures / 4 maps / 7 tables
Price:  $69.95 s
E Book
2021. 336 pp.
89 B&W figures / 4 maps / 7 tables
Price:  $69.95 d

Examines the largely unexplored topics in Caribbean archaeology of looting of heritage sites, fraudulent artifacts, and illicit trade of archaeological materials

Real, Recent, or Replica: Precolumbian Caribbean Heritage as Art, Commodity, and Inspiration is the first book-length study of its kind to highlight the increasing commodification of Caribbean Precolumbian heritage. Amerindian art, including “Taíno” art, has become highly coveted by collectors, spurring a prolific and increasingly sophisticated black market of forgeries, but also contemporary artistic engagement, openly appreciated as modern artworks taking inspiration from the past. The contributors to this volume contend with difficult subject matter including the continued looting of archaeological sites in the region, the seismic increase of forgeries, and the imbalance of power and economic relations between the producers and consumers of neo-Amerindian art.
The case studies document the considerable time depth of forgeries in the region (since the late nineteenth century), address the policies put in place by Caribbean governments and institutions to safeguard national patrimony, and explore the impact looted and forged artifacts have on how museums and institutions collect and ultimately represent the Caribbean past to their audiences. Overall, the volume emphasizes the continued desire for the “authentic” Precolumbian artifact, no matter the cost. It provides insights for archaeologists, museum professionals, art historians, and collectors to combat illegal trade and support communities in creating sustainable heritage industries.

Joanna Ostapkowicz is research associate in Caribbean archaeology at the University of Oxford. She is coeditor of Iconography and Wetsite Archaeology of Florida’s Watery Realms.
Jonathan A. Hanna is curator at the Grenada National Museum in St. George’s. His research focuses mainly on geoarchaeology and ancient human behavioral ecology in Grenada.
“This important volume explores the practical and ethical challenges of interpreting pre-Columbian Caribbean art and artifacts. Ten chapters use reproductions and looted indigenous objects as a lens to critically address the history of archaeological research in the Caribbean and to reflect on the ways these materials have hampered efforts to properly represent pre-Columbian history. The replication of pre-Columbian art is both a celebration and fetishization of the indigenous Caribbean past. The editors provide an overview of the history of reproductions and looted materials and assess their impact on public heritage efforts. Replicas of indigenous art are often produced within a framework of nationalist ideologies, which have been used to challenge colonial and imperialist agendas. A must-read for Caribbean archaeologists and museum specialists. Highly recommended.”

“An unprecedented exploration of the furtive practices of collecting, faking, and looting as they entangle the scholarly study of Caribbean archaeology and ethnohistory. Local in focus but global in impact, the book has much to teach us about the consequences and unintended consequences of public policy’s embrace of cultural heritage.”
—Neil Brodie, coeditor of Illicit Antiquities: The Theft of Culture and the Extinction of Archaeology
“Real, Recent, or Replica raises important questions and contributes to anthropological perspectives on the entangled and complicated history of collecting, looting, fakes, replicas, authenticity, and cultural heritage. It is encouraging to see that archaeologists in the Caribbean are thinking about these issues.”
—Mary Jane Berman, Miami University
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Historical Archaeologies of the Caribbean
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