This listing expired on August 1, 2014. Please contact for any updated information.
Island Archaeology: Late 15-Early 16th Century European-AmerIndian Encounters in the Carribean

Location: Gerace Research Centre, The College of The Bahamas, San Salvador, Bahamas

May 24, 2014 to June 22, 2014

Session dates: 
Not applicable

Application Deadline: 
Thursday, May 1, 2014

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Discount for AIA members: 
Not applicable

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



Department of Anthropology, Miami University

Project Director:

Dr. Perry L. Gnivecki and Dr. Mary Jane Berma, Department of Anthropology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 45056 USA

Project Description

Research Program: Islands are dynamic ecosystems, sensitive to human modification and disturbance, as well as climatic and other environmental processes.  Because of its unique geological and environmental circumstances, the central and northern Bahamas are an ideal place to test models of island adaptation, the interplay of subsistence and ecology, and culture change.

The long-term research goals of the Lucayan Ecological Archaeology Project (L.E.A.P.) are to: document and explain migration and colonizing strategies and timing; document paleoenvironmental change prior to and after migration and colonization occurred;  evaluate the impact of initial colonization and settlement on island environments; assess whether human-induced environmental modification occurred over time; identify the ‘early colonizers’ adaptations to the island ecosystems; dcument and explain social and cultural responses; study the implications of observed human-induced modification for later culture change; document and explain the political and economic dynamics of colonizing cultures; document and preserve the cultural patrimony of the Caribbean.

Academic Program: Anthropology 415/Latin American Studies 418 (6 credits) (Summer Term 2014) students will be introduced to the interdisciplinary field and laboratory research methods that archaeologists use to study the environments and cultures of the past.  The Caribbean, and the Bahamas in particular, will constitute a case study of human island adaptations for the prehistoric and early historic periods.  In addition, students will be instructed in the methods of archaeological surveying and mapping, excavation, artifact and ecofact recovery and curation, cataloguing, laboratory methods, and the anthropological interpretation of archaeological data.  Students will also be instructed in Caribbean archaeology, ethnology, ethnohistory, history, geography, geology, and ecology, with special emphasis on the Bahama archipelago.  Evening lectures and field laboratory classes will be supplemented by guest lectures from specialists in other disciplines conducting research at the Gerace Research Centre of the College of the Bahamas, an internationally recognized center for the study of the archaeology, biology, geology, and marine science of the Bahamas.  The course will include field trips to prehistoric and historic (Loyalist Plantation) sites, and other areas of biological and geological interest. 

This academic program, like other undergraduate and graduate field research courses (e.g., marine biology, botany, ecology, geology, and hydrology) offered at the Gerace Research Centre is intellectually and physically demanding.  It is recommended for socially and intellectually mature students in pursuit of a unique international education experience.  Field research takes place six to seven days per week with associated evening lectures and laboratory sessions.  Mandatory field trips are scheduled on Sunday afternoons, as well as occasionally during the week, after field work is concluded.

Program Faculty

Dr. Perry L. Gnivecki is field director of the Lucayan Ecological Archaeology Project (L.E.A.P.) and is director of the Long Bay Site excavations.  He is a Lecturer in Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Miami University (Oxford), and Social Sciences, Miami University (Hamilton), Ohio.  Dr. Gnivecki has conducted archaeological research in Illinois, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Peru, Iraq, Cuba, and, since 1983, in the Bahamas (San Salvador, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Long Island, and New Providence).  His archaeological research interests include the emergence of chiefdoms, comparative urbanism and state formation, material culture studies, island archaeology/ecology, and the study of human spatial organization.

Dr. Mary Jane Berman (subject to availability) is co-director of the Lucayan Ecological Archaeology Project (L.E.A.P.) and is co-director of the Long Bay Site excavations.  She is currently Director, Center of American and World Cultures, and Associate Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.  Dr. Berman has conducted  archaeological research in Arizona, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Malta, Cuba, and, since 1983, in the Bahamas (San Salvador, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Long Island, and New Providence).  Her archaeological research interests include the emergence of chiefdoms, shamanism, prehistoric island subsistence strategies, paleoenvironmental studies, material culture studies (ceramics, lithics, basketry), and museum studies.

Period(s) of Occupation: Late 15TH/Early 16TH Century, Spanish Contact Period

Students will be engaged in the excavation of the Long Bay Site, San Salvador, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, believed to be one of the earliest Spanish Contact Period sites in the Americas.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 4 weeks

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
None; recommended sophomore standing, 1 introductory course in archaeology, good general health.

Room and Board Arrangements

Students will stay at the Gerace Research Centre, The College of The Bahamas, San Salvador Island, Bahamas.  Students will be housed 2-4 students per room in a dormitary with a shared bathroom on the dormitary floor.  Meals are served in a dining facility (vegetarian or protein choices). Participating students in the archaeology program will have lunches in the field.  Transportation on San Salvador is included in the cost.  Gerace Research Centre estimated costs: $1682.00 (includes room, board (food), mandatory insutrance and a refundable security deposit).  
Excludes roundtrip airfare from the United States to Nassau, New Providence, to San Salvador, Bahamas (estimated airfare: $900.00).  Mandatory HTH World Insurance (Miami University requirement: $60.00 (estimated).  All students are required to pay a field and laboratory fee for $275.00 (provides each student with textbooks and a "dig-kit" which participants keep).  
Students will also spend 3 days in Nassau, New Providence, visiting archaeological sites and national parks to introduce them to Bahamas Antiquities, Monuments, and Museums Corporation heritage management and Bahamas National Trust conservation management (estimated cost: $300-400.00).  Spending money for program (estimated: $300.00). Contact: Dr. Perry L. Gnivecki ( for payment details ASAP.

$6875.00 (estimated total cost for the program)

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 45056
Number of credits offered 6 semester hours credit
$3150.00 + $125.00 Study Abroad Registration Fee


Contact Information
Dr. Perry L. Gnivecki, R.P.A.
Department of Anthropology, 120 Upham Hall, 100 Bishop Circle, Miami University, Oxford
513.785.3271; 513.529.8399 (main dept. office)