Dig site at the Turks and Caicos Islands

Who Were the Ancient Inhabitants of the Turks and Caicos?

Caribbean Islands have been occupied by humans for more than 1,000 years

While Providenciales, Turks and Caicos is now known as a tourist destination for beautiful beaches and sparkling clear waters, it was once home to an ancient Caribbean people called the Lucayan. The Lucayan people lived in the Bahamas and TCI and were a culturally distinct branch of the Taínos indigenous group who inhabited most of the Caribbean islands. Interestingly enough, the Lucayan people were the first indigenous group encountered by Christopher Columbus.  

Arawak Indigenous people of the West Indies

The discovery of a new archeological site on Long Bay, located on the Southeastern part of Providenciales, is of great interest to archaeologist Dr. Shaun Sullivan, who is leading a dig on the site in late 2018. 

Reported in the Daily News by Gemma Handy, who interviewed Dr. Sullivan, Dr. Sullivan explained: “Some prehistoric populations came to the Caribbean from South America, some evidently from Central America and it’s possible some even came from North America. In the next few years, genomic studies of human remains from the Caribbean will tell us a great deal more about that.” 

Newly discovered archeological dig site gives insight into the ancient Lucayan people

The dig is long due since Dr. Sullivan first discovered the archeological site in 1976. Artifacts uncovered in the dig could answer many questions about the daily lives of the Lucayan people, and how much contact they might have had with other islands. These artifacts will be given to the National Museum. 

Dig site at the Turks and Caicos Islands

Dr. Sullivan further explained: “This work is an important step in allowing locals to explore and uncover the history of these islands. The Islands have been occupied by humans for more than 1,000 years, well before colonization. We want to teach young people archaeological techniques, increase their knowledge in prehistoric cultural history before written records began, and start to develop indigenous archaeologists.” Dr. Sullivan plans to involve local high school and community college students in the dig. 

Discover facts about the island’s first inhabitants at The National Museum in Provo’s village

If you are visiting Providenciales and would like to learn more about the island’s first inhabitants, be sure to visit The National Museum located in the Village at Grace Bay on the western side of the Grace Bay region. Though the current museum is small and contains only a hand full or outdoor exhibits, it is conveniently located and may spark the interest of a history buff or student! Funds are currently being raised for a larger more modern museum facility. This exhibit is part of the larger Turks and Caicos National Museum in Cockburn Town on Grand Turk, which is another island.

Turks And Caicos National Museum

Providenciales National Museum Directions: 

Look for the large roundabout near The Sands resort, and take the exit with the arched entry. Once through, continue straight (through the second roundabout) for 1400 feet (420m) to the museum and heritage site.

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