Starting with the first century A. D., the Antilles were settled in different stages, causing groups to assimilate each other, and developing their own individual characteristics. This was a slow process which isolated some groups in certain regions for a long time until they left for other islands or were assimilated by new settlers.
It is thought that these migratory waves were caused by constant violent confrontations with other more aggressive groups in the Venezuelan-Amazon area.
Arriving in the Antilles, these groups already had the basic knowledge of a sedentary life: agriculture and ceramics. Their varied ceramic styles gave them the classification of Agro-Ceramic.
Due to the likeness with the classical Venezuelan styles, a new sub classification was established for the Caribbean islands. The main styles being: a. The Salaloid, from the Saladero deposits, one of the oldest in Venezuela and represents a ceramic with stylized decorative motifs painted in black over red, white over red or black, and white over red. b. The Barrancoid, from the area of Barrancas, is ia thick clay of lesser quality, of red-brown and black colors with incising and punctuation, with animals and bird decorations.
Within the Salaloid-Barrancoid traditions, we have the following cultures that inhabited the island of Santo Domingo:
Igneris of Salaloid Style (S. I-IV A.D.)
Belonging to the "Neo-Indian" period of the Antilles. Use an Arawak dialect different than the later Taino dialect. They lived mainly in Trinidad, and it is believe they only lived in the Eastern area of Santo Domingo, since sherds of their ceramics have been found only in the Caleta beaches, La Romana, Juan Dolio, and San Pedro de Macoris*. We find the Igneri ceramic peculiar; it is beautifully decorated with abstract designs in white or black over a red background and sometimes with orange shades, reminiscent of Greco-Roman styles from European antiquity. There are many vessels with handles in a D shape, and you could say that their ceramics are very delicate.
Sub–Taino Ostionoid STYLE (C. VI–VII B.C.)
Also from Arawak origins, it is considered as a facet in the cultural development that culminated with the Tainos; they possessed the same characteristics and it is assumed that they also used the same dialect.
Their ceramic is found primarily in the birth of the Ostiones Point, Puerto Rico, from where it gets its name. Some authors believe that it presents a light influence from the Salaloid style, conserving handles in the shape of the letter D, and red or rose clay over which they paint black bands. It is a ceramic of modest quality with a thick and rough texture, abundant pieces sport rustic incisions. The Ostionoid style is found in the areas of Anadel, Samaná, Santo Domingo, and Macady, Haiti.
Sub-Taino Mellacoid Style (C. VII-XVI B.C.)
Intermediate groups between Ostionoid and the classic Taino Chicoide. Named after the Melliac site, northern Haiti. Inherits some Ostionoid influences but is notably different from the Salaloid. Crisscross incisions stand out as well as clay strips used as decorative elements (appliqué). This ceramic has been related with farmers that inhabited the river beaches in the Cibao valley. Pieces commonly found in the Yaque del Norte river basin.
Chicoide TAINO STYLE (C. IX–XVI
Represent the last historical development stage of Taino culture. The style is names after Boca Chica, Distrito Nacional, and it is assumed that it originated in Santo Domingo, and from here it spread, with slight variations, to Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Bahamas.
It is a ceramic with Barrancoid characteristics but a bit more expressive, rich in symbology and abundant in symbolic decorative bands with geometric motifs. Specimens of various sizes and shapes have been found, which implies that they possessed skills in modeling the clay. Mythological and religious representations are common in the handles as well as the body of the vessels.
Chicoide constitutes the sum of all the previous styles but with it's own unique characteristics defining the maker's higher level of craft and artistic development.
The Igneri and Sub-Tainos, still depended on hunting, fishing and collecting. However, in the Taino phase, more advanced farming techniques allowed them to achieve intensive farming, evolving into a sophisticated tribal social organization that the Europeans found at the end of the XV century.
Chapter III – Bibliography
D3: Design: J. Arvelo. Drawing: F. Castro
Viñeta Decorativa: Motivo Taino. Estilo Boca Chica: Arqueologia Prehistorica de Santo Domingo, Marcio Veloz Maggiolo, Fundacion de Credito Educativo de la Rep. Dom., Santo Domingo, 1972, page 147.
Salaloid Style: Album Indios de Quisqueya. Manuel Garcia Arevalo, Inc. Santo Domingo, 1982, page 3.
Ostionoide Style: Museo Arqueologico Regional Altos de Chavon. Altos de Chavon, La Romana, R. D.
Mellacoide Style: Marcio Veloz Maggiolo. Ibid; page 302
Chicoide Style: Marcio Veloz Maggiolo. Ibid, page 147.
Dibujos: Betsy Arvelo
* Ver al respecto, Manuel García A., Museo Arqueológico Regional, Altos de Chavón, 1982, page 28, y Marcio Veloz M., Arqueología Prehistórica de Santo Domingo, 1972, page 309.