Rediscovering Trinidad and Tobago’s Ancient People

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Banwari Trace in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is recorded as one of the oldest pre-Columbian sites in the West Indies. Located in southwestern Trinidad, this is where the remains of the oldest islander, the Banwari Man, were discovered in 1969. Banwari Trace not only yielded an important icon of antiquity, it has also revealed the migration patterns of pre-ceramic peoples from mainland South America to the Lesser Antilles via Trinidad.

Proof of the earliest settlers in the Caribbean is not solely found in Banwari Trace. An archaeological team headed by Dr. Basil Reid has unearthed ancient artifacts in an area about five kilometers away from Banwari Trace. A senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies History Department, Dr. Reid has found several sites of archaeological importance and has documented his researches in a book called Myths and Realities of Caribbean History.

At St. John’s Road, South Oropouche, Dr. Reid and his students have found more evidence of people who lived in Trinidad 7,000 years ago. During their field work in late 2009, Dr. Reid’s team found a large stone pestle, crab claws, oysters, nerite shells, bird and mammal bones, a sandstone adze which is used for smoothing rough wood, quartz and flint stone flakes, and red ochre. The shell samples from the site were dated at Beta Analytic’s lab in Miami, Florida. Radiocarbon dating results suggest that the site is indeed ancient.

UWI team finds proof of ancient people
Banwari Trace in Trinidad – The Oldest Site in the West Indies


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