Arawak: At the time of Columbus, Arawak speakers inhabited the Greater Antilles and parts of mainland South America. Since languages of the Arawakan family are not found in North or Mesoamerica, it is likely that these people reached the islands from the south. In support of this view, pottery of the Saladoid type is found in a great arc from western Venezuela to the West Indies, and in the northern islands there seems to be a ceramic continuity from Saladoid ware to insular Arawak. Spanish sources describe the island Arawaks as settled farmers with an elaborate religion based on a Zemi cult.”

Excerpted from: Bray, Warwick, and David Trump. The Penguin Dictionary of Archaeology. New York: Penguin, 1984.

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