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Antigua Amerindian Site

ACHAIC PERIOD: The Amerindian Jolly Beach site belongs to the earliest age of human settlement in Antigua and Barbuda and is the best-known complete habitation site of the archaic age. Two radiocarbon dates of 1,775 and 1,589 BC show the site was occupied about 3,500 to 4,000 years ago. By the archaic age we mean the people's technology had not reached the stage of pottery making or even the practice of agriculture.

Flints for lighting fireFLINT: The Jolly Beach people had lived simply off marine resources and various native plants. Their toolswere made of volcanic stone, flint, shell and wood. Tools excavated archaeologically include hand tools or chisels formed by the grinding of thick conch shell lips, ground stone axes or celts for making canoes, pestles for preparing food, flint blades for cutting and scraping, and simple beads and pendants.

The Jolly Beach site is situated between two small hills east of the hotel gate.  On the eastern part of the site a large house has already been built.  Unfortunately there is no legislation to preserve our istoric sites so that future Antiguan archaeologists may study them.

Axe used by AmerindiansAXE BLADE: When the site was originally occupied some 3,500 years ago, it would have been a peninsula, as sea levels were about 10 ft. higher than today.  The rocky area on which the supermarket is situated was at the end of the peninsula.  Indeed at the end, there is a cave water worn by the sea in former times.

The Jolly Beach people may have originally come from South America as similar tools have been found there. They have also been collected at Ortoire in Trinidad, hence archaeologists call the Jolly Beach site "Ortoiroid." We have no idea of the name of the tribe that lived there or the name of the language they spoke, unlike the later Tainos and Island Caribs who were observed by the European missionaries and explorers.