The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 38, Issue 2

Article 4
Reconstructing the Saladoid Religion of Trinidad and Tobago

Basil A. Reid


Abstract

This article examines the Saladoid religion of Trinidad and Tobago as reflected in Saladoid ceramic art and site(s). Archaeological’, ethnohistorical and ethnographic data indicate that pre-Columbian South American cosmology was an important underpinning in Saladoid religion. Important themes in the discussion are Saladoid notions of animism, genealogical association with ancestral spirits, the axis mundi and cyclical time, together with sacred and profane space. Given that archaeological remains are “mute” and “static”, the Spanish ethnohistory of the Tainos in the northern Caribbean, coupled with ethnographic studies of living populations in South America and elsewhere, will be used as “bridgingarguments” in interpreting the cultural meanings associated with Saladoid archaeological materials in Trinidad and Tobago.