Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust
Three views of the weaving tool with a handle recovered from Pitch Lake in 1965. Length 55cm, maximum width 2.7cm, maximum depth 2.4cm. Courtesy of Peter Harris collection, Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust.
From the descriptions of the Caribbean’s early explorers and the extremely rare surviving woven creations, it is clear that Caribbean indigenous cultures excelled at weaving cotton and vegetable fibres. Made of perishable materials which quickly disappear in the archaeological record, we have few surviving clues to the variety and complexity of their woven sculptures, ornaments or such everyday essentials as hammocks – still less of how they were made, who made them and using what tools.
The two weaving tools recovered from Pitch Lake in 1965 therefore provide unique insights into a little-known area of indigenous material culture. One features a handle, with a slightly rounded, tapering shaft (top image), the other is flatter, and has no handle (bottom image).
Both may have been used in loom weaving, the flatter of the two as a batten. Such large weaving tools were most likely used during hammock construction, though they may also have been used in the making of baskets, which is a similar process to weaving.
Both are currently displayed as part of the Peter Harris collection at the Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust.
Three views of the flat weaving tool recovered from Pitch Lake in 1965. Length 55.5cm, maximum width 4.2cm, thickness from 1cm at tip to 2.2cm at base. Courtesy of Peter Harris collection, Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust
Updates on the radiocarbon, wood identification and strontium results for these pieces will be added here soon.