Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Joanna Ostapkowicz; Alison Roberts; Jevon Thistlewood; Fiona Brock; Alex C. Wiedenhoeft; Chrostophe Snoeck; Rick Schulting; Warwick Bray
    Date: 2018
    Source: The Antiquaries Journal. 00: 1-32.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Forest Products Laboratory
    PDF: Download Publication  (6.0 MB)


    This paper focuses on the material study (radiocarbon dating, wood identification and strontium isotope analyses) of four large ‘India occidentali’ clubs, part of the founding collections of the Ashmolean Museum, in Oxford, and originally part of John Tradescant’s ‘Ark’,in Lambeth (1656). During the seventeenth century, the term ‘India occidentali/occidentales’ referred not only to the ‘West Indies’ (its literal translation), but to the Americas as a whole; hence, the Ashmolean clubs and, indeed, the c forty examples of similarly large, decorated clubs known in international museum collections had no firm provenance and lacked even the most basic information. Previous attempts at attribution, based on stylistic comparisons with nineteenth-to twentieth-century Brazilian and Guyanese clubs, have proved inconclusive given the unique features of this club style, raising the intriguing possibility that these may be exceptionally rare examples of ‘Island Carib’ (Kalinago) material culture, particularly as images of such clubs appear in seventeenth-century ethnographic accounts from the LesserAntilles. This paper provides new data for these poorly known objects fromearly collections, revealing not only the type of wood from which they were carved (Platymiscium sp. and Brosimum cf guianense) and their probable dates of manufacture (c AD 1300–1640), but also their possible provenance (strontium results are consistent with a possible range from Trinidad south to French Guiana).

    Publication Notes

    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Ostapkowicz, Joanna; Roberts, Alison; Thistlewood, Jevon; Brock, Fiona; Wiedenhoeft, Alex C.; Snoeck, Chrostophe; Schulting, Rick; Bray, Warwick. 2018. The origins of Tradescant’s ‘India Occidentali’ wooden clubs: 14C dating, material identification and strontium isotope studies. The Antiquaries Journal. 00: 1-32.


    Google Scholar


    Taino, radiocarbon dating, strontium isotopes, wood identification

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page