Keegan and Carlson, combined, have spent over 45 years conducting archaeological research in the Caribbean, directing projects in Trinidad, Grenada, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, the Turks & Caicos Islands, and throughout the Bahamas. Walking hundreds of miles of beaches, working without shade in the Caribbean sun, diving in refreshing and pristine waters, and studying the people and natural environment around them has given them insights into the lifeways of the people who lived in the Caribbean before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Sadly, harsh treatment extinguished the culture that we today call Taíno or Arawak.
In an effort to repay their debt to the past and the present, the authors have focused on the relationship between the Taínos of the past (revealed through archaeological investigations) and the present natural history of the islands. Bringing the past to life and highlighting commonalities between past and present, they emphasize Taíno words and beliefs about their worldview and culture.