The islands of the Antilles were home to thriving cultures for some 3,500 years before Europeans and Africans arrived in the late 1400s. These early people included the Tainos and the Island Caribs. They used stones, bones, and shells to make tools and ornaments. Their tools, like this fishing hook, were uncovered by later settlers, often by accident while digging up the earth for farming and building, and deliberately by archeologists. Other fragments from the Amerindian cultures, found in the Virgin Islands, include parts of their villages including ball court, ceramic bowls and vessels, cassava mounds, and tools.
In this activity, students will use the questions from an Artifact Analysis worksheet to observe the artifact of an Amerindian fishhook that was found at Longford, St. Croix.
Primary Sources in this Activity
Suggested Teaching Instructions
Before beginning this activity, help students to understand the definition of primary source. The teacher may want to share the About paragraph with students and discuss the definitions of any terms that are new to the class, including artifact, Antilles, Amerindian, Tainos, Island Caribs, and archeologist.
Load the photograph of the Amerindian Fishing Hook found at Longford, St. Croix onto an interactive smart board and have students make observations together. If there is not a smart board, students can work in small groups at computers.
Also load the Analyze Artifact worksheet on the smart board or on computers so that you can lead students through answering the questions on the worksheet.
Analyze the Primary Source
Using the questions from the Analyze an Artifact worksheet, lead students through artifact analysis and a discussion about the item. Ask students to go through all four sections, as outlined in the worksheet. After completing the worksheet, engage the students in the class discussion. You may load the Analyze an Artifact worksheet on the smart board or on computers so that you can lead students through answering the questions, print the worksheet and distribute to your students, or adapt the questions from the worksheet to create your own. Primary Source Analysis Worksheets
How do you think the fishhook was made? What do you think was used to make the fishing line? How does this fishhook differ from the ones we use today? Use the fishhook as historical evidence: What does the fishhook suggest about the things Amerindians might have eaten? Can all fish be caught with a fishhook? What types of fish are caught with fishhooks?