Archaeological History, Memory, and Heritage at the White Marl Site, Central Village, St Catherine Parish, Jamaica

Peter E. Siegel, Zachary J.M. Beier, Kalaan Nibonrix Kaiman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


White Marl is the largest, most complexly organized pre-colonial site documented for Jamaica and it is increasingly at risk due to plans for highway improvements. The site is of fundamental importance to overlapping sets of stakeholders: local residents, descendant communities, professional and avocational archaeologists, and heritage managers. We consider concepts of memory and heritage, linking decades of archaeological research at White Marl to current conceptions of the place by descendants of the first Taíno settlers and by residents of Central Village, the modern community surrounding the site. We review White Marl’s archaeological history and situate the site in its current social, cultural, political, and economic context of Central Village. White Marl has been the focus of varied archaeological interpretations since the nineteenth century. In addition to the archaeological community, this heritage resource is important to local community members and descendants of the original Indigenous occupants. The Taíno Museum adjacent to the site, established by the Institute of Jamaica in 1965, now serves as a church and school for local residents. Continuities are explored between the Indigenous pre-colonial occupants of White Marl, current occupants of Central Village, and the Indigenous descendant community.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Archaeology
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Indigenous West Indian heritage
  • Taíno identity
  • heritage management
  • multiple stakeholders


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