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CAST IN STONE - Taino exhibition on

By Howard Campbell Observer senior writer

Saturday, October 06, 2012    

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A six-day exhibition of stone artifacts by the Taino people, opened yesterday at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.

'Treasures of the Ancestral Spirits' will showcase 35 pieces from the private collection of a Jamaican student of Taino art.

Paul Banks, organiser of the event, told the Jamaica Observer that all of the artifacts at the Spanish Court exhibition were found during the last 30 years in Dallas Mountain (overlooking Harbour View in St Andrew), the Yallahs Valley region of St Thomas and Port Maria, St Mary.

He said Taino pieces from Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, have been documented in numerous books. Not so with Jamaican discoveries.

"That is where Jamaica has fallen down. The documentation of our Taino artifacts is miniscule compared to the Greater Antilles," Banks said.

David Johnson, who Banks says found 80 per cent of the artifacts, will be at the exhibition which is to be officially opened by Ainsley Henriques, chairman of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.

Historians say the Tainos had a strong presence in the Americas at the time Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus arrived in the region during the late 15th century.

Columbus eventually called the indigenous people Arawaks.

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