SPEAKER EVENT: John W. Foster (California State Underwater Archaeologist [ret.]) on: “A Taíno Underworld and Sacred Landscape in the Caribbean.”

Join SCAS for a presentation by John W. Foster on “A Taíno Underworld and Sacred Landscape in the Caribbean.”

DATE: Thursday, April 11, 2024

TIME: 7:30 – 8:30 PM (Pacific)

This is a hybrid speaker event (in-person & streamed online via Zoom). We invite you to join us in-person at the Resource Center for Nonviolence, 612 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, CA  95060, or via Zoom (see below for Zoom registration form)!

ZOOM REGISTRATION FORM: Santa Cruz Archaeological Society (google.com)

***RSVP for Zoom by 6:30 PM on Thursday, April 11, 2024   *** Or show up to the Resource Center for Nonviolence by 7:30 to join us in-person!

Once you have registered for the event using this form, a link and instructions for joining the virtual event via Zoom will be sent to that email address approximately 1 hour before the event starts.

Manantial de la Aleta is a flooded limestone sinkhole deep within the tropical forest of Cotubanamá National Park in eastern Dominican Republic.  Archaeological investigations were requested by Dominican authorities in 1996 to determine the nature of the site and how to preserve it in a National Park. This led to a 3-year research effort by Indiana University that documented La Aleta as the first known offertory site in the Taíno culture area – a Taíno cenote. Underwater preservation conditions were extraordinary – allowing the recovery of select artifacts that normally don’t survive in tropical climates. These examples, some 600-1000 years old, reveal much about Taíno material culture and their offerings to sustain a watery underworld. This talk will examine some of the La Aleta artifacts and the sacred landscape they occupy. It reveals the complexity of a maritime-oriented, chiefdom-level society who did not leave behind monumental architecture – similar to Native California.

John W. Foster earned a BA (UCLA) and MA (Long Beach State) in Anthropology (Archaeology) and did further graduate study at the University of Arizona.  He was hired by Fritz Riddell to develop and manage CRM programs in State Parks. John retired from a 34-year park career and held an Adjunct Faculty position at Indiana University for 20 years.  As the California State Underwater Archaeologist, John helped extend state park management offshore in California to include shipwrecks and submerged cultural features. John has published widely on underwater archaeology, rock art, park management and other research topics.  He has done field work across California, the American Southwest, Baja California, central Mexico, and the Caribbean. He has been part of 4 National Geographic specials including the search for a Columbus shipwreck and Capt. Kidd’s pirate ship. He also worked with INAH of Baja California to record and identify a Manila Galleon shipwreck.

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