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Last edited by J Gill
April 1, 2012 | History

J. A. Bullbrook

1882 - 1967

John Albert Bullbrook

John Albert Bullbrook, born 1882 in Medway, Kent in English was an archaeologist and historian, who came to Trinidad in 1913 as a petroleum geologist. He began his archaeological career in 1919, pioneering the search on the indigenous population of Trinidad.

By the early 1930s, he already provides evidence of the prominence of reflections on the indigenous history of Trinidad, and on the figure of the Carib, in some of the élites’ writings of local history.

Famously in a public lecture in 1938, John Bullbrook, by then a local specialist in the Amerindian history of Trinidad, made the comment that: "To this day we speak of the Queen if the Caribs at Arima, yet I doubt if there is much--if any--Carib blood in her race." (Bullbrook 1940: 4).

In 1940, for a public lecture and book published under the Royal Victoria Museum and the Historical Society of Trinidad and Tobago, entitled 'The Ierian Race', John wrote: “Probably, if I were to ask any of my audience this evening what was the predominant or even the only race in Trinidad at the time of the discovery by Cristobal Colon, the reply would be unhesitatingly: ‘Why, Carib, of course’” (1940: 1).

Throughout the 1940s, he conducted extensive excavations in the Amerindian middens in Cedros, Erin and Palo Seco. He later became curator of the Royal Victoria Institute (now the National Museum).

Indeed, John Bullbrook, as a partisan in the local debate over whether the true natives of Trinidad were Carib or Arawak, lamented later, in 1960, that the “tradition” of believing that Caribs were the indigenous people of Trinidad was “deep rooted and hard to destroy” (1960: 54-55).

In July of 1960, John Bullbrook, at the first conference in the West Indies on pre-Colombian archaeology held in Fort-de-France, Martinique, discussed his research into the 'Arawaks and Caribs of Trinidad' along with the likes of Rev. Father Pinchon and A. H. Anderson. Articles of his have been published magazines with a varying range of readers such as 'The Caribbean', 'The Caribbean Quarterly', and 'Shell Magazine'.

He died in 1967.

His collection of correspondence with Yale University (1941-1963), with a variety of people on the subject of archaeology in the West Indies (1917-1960), with the Historical Society of Trinidad and Tobago (1939-1949); and correspondence with the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists Club, have all been donated to The University of the West Indies by Carlisle Chang (in October 2000).

Works by the author

Notes Concerning Excavation Of Shell Mounds Or Kitchen Middens, (1963)

The Aborigines of Trinidad. Royal Victoria Institute Museum, Occasional Papers No. 2. Port of Spain: Royal Victoria Institute Museum (1960); Also appeared in Shell Trinidad 4(9), Christmas: 4-7 (1956).

The Carib-Arawakcontroversy. Trinidad and Tobago (1957); Originally appeared in Shell Trinidad 4(10), Mar.:7-9 (1957).

Excavations at Wari, Ayacucho, Peru and on the Excavations of a Shell Mound at Palo Seco, Trinidad, B. W. I. co-authored with Wendell Clark Bennett and Irving Rouse; New Haven, Yale University Press, (Jan 1, 1953) reprinted (Oct 15, 2011).

The aboriginal remains of Trinidad and the West Indies: A commentary on the pre-European cultures of Trinidad and the neighbouring West Indies in connection. Caribbean Quarterly 1(2), A. L. Rhodes, Govt. Printer, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, (December, 3-14, 1914); Reprinted (1941)

The Ierian Race. (A lecture delivered at the meeting of the Historical Society of Trinidad and Tobago held in the hall of the Victoria Institute on Friday Evening 8:30 o’clock 3rd March, 1939). Port of Spain, Trinidad: Historical Society of Trinidad and Tobago, (1940).

The aborigines of Trinidad. In Richards, Alfred, comp. Discovery Day celebration, (1927)

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History Created April 1, 2008 · 4 revisions
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April 1, 2012 Edited by J Gill Edited without comment.
April 1, 2012 Edited by J Gill Edited without comment.
September 9, 2008 Edited by RenameBot fix author name
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user initial import