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A revolution of island archaeology
Walked daily by tourists, this pontoon that allows docking on Madame islet in the Baie du Robert was also used for the landing of two teams of archaeologists in August 1975 during earthworks and in July 2012. The Archéologie des petites îles de la Martinique (Archaeology of the small islands of Martinique) project initiated in 2006 by the archaeological survey of Oscar islet continued in 2012 on Madame islet. It relied on the postulate that small islands - traditionally considered by archaeologists as places of little interest as their natural conditions do not allow permanent settlements and, therefore, the realization of transcendental activities - could provide information on local and regional archaeology. Excavations on Madame islet have thus revealed that it was an integral part of the existential and perceptual landscape of Amerindian societies and had played a role in their socio-cultural, political-economic, and ideological life. Field studies combined with an oral survey of the local population and the use of satellite images and cartographic, historical, and ethnological sources made it possible to establish a biography of the occupation of the islet and its connection to the main island of Martinique. The Amerindian ceramic shards collected have established that the site had been visited by groups of Amerindians during the last centuries of the first millennium of our era and that human activity there had intensified during the three or four centuries before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1502. The presence of many tripod dishes, spindle whorls used for the preparation of cotton, body tampons, shell objects, wheels, drills, and stone scrapers even suggests that the islet hosted a stable habitat.
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