As part of the Barbuda Historical Ecology Project, in 2010 and 2011 two historical sites on the island of Barbuda (Antigua and Barbuda) were sampled for archaeobotanical macroremains. Charred cereal grains found at the Castle (17th and 18th centuries) and Highland House sites (1720 to 19th century) were identified as hulled barley (Hordeum vulgare). These remains are the earliest archaeological evidence of European cereals in the Caribbean, and this raises questions about their origin. Strontium-isotope (87Sr/86Sr) analysis was performed on a seed from the Castle and produced a value of 0.7115, beyond the bioavailable strontium-isotope range expected from the West Indies, strongly suggesting importation of this cereal to the island. This analysis, combined with a discussion of imports and exports cited in historical documents, sheds new light on British foodways on Barbuda.
Historical Archaeology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 2, 2017
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