Inora Newsletter #44

(1917 – 2005)

I am sad to report the death of a pioneer in South American rock art, a really great man and friend: Dr. Cornelis Nicolaas Dubelaar, better known as “Kees”. He died in his home country, the Netherlands, on October 28th, 2005, at the age of 88.

We met on several occasionswhich was always enjoyable. During theInternational Rock Art Congress organized by the Bolivian Rock Art ResearchSociety SIARB in Cochabamba in1997 he received a special tribute.

Here is a brief curriculum vitæ of Kees Dubelaar:

He was born in Amsterdam on 22nd June, 1917. He studied Dutch language and literature. These subjects were taught by him in grammar schools; from 1941 to 1951 in Holland, from 1951 to 1965 in Suriname, from 1965 to1971 again in Holland. His interest turned from applied linguistics to the phenomenon of language proper. In 1971 he obtained a M.A. in General Linguistics at Nijmegen University. From 1972 to 1982 he was a lecturer at the Institute Ubbo Emmius, a joint venture of Groningen University and the Noordelijke Leergangen. Another shift in his interest led to the study of Cultural Anthropology, again at Nijmegen, and to a Ph.D. in Archaeology at Leiden University. His dissertation dealt with South American and Antillean petroglyphs.
Dr. Cornelis
Nicolaas Dubelaar

During his sojourn in Suriname he worked on three subjects: Negro folk tales; the Afaka script (an indigenous syllabic script of the Ndjuka Maroons of Suriname); and petroglyphs. He recorded several tales told by Suriname Bush Negroes; this led to a monograph on Negro folk tales in Suriname (1972). He published various articles on the Afaka script (1970, 1980, 1992) and in 1999 a book written together with the indigenous (Bush Negro) investigator André Pakoste.

He accomplished an inventory of the rock engravings of the various Guianas: Brazilian, French, Dutch and Venezuelan Guiana; this led to a publication on the Guianese petroglyphs (1986), a study on South American and Antillean petroglyphs in general (1986), an extensive bibliography on the subject (1991), and various articles.

The fact that the Antilles were populated by people from the South American continent shifted his activities to the study of the petroglyphs in the Lesser Antilles. From 1981 onwards he recorded the rock drawings of the various islands, from Trinidad in the south up to the Virgin Islands in the north. The results of these investigations have been published in his study “Lesser Antilles Petroglyphs” (1995).

Since 1993 he worked on the subject of rock art of the Major Antilles starting with Puerto Rico. In 1995 he finished a detailed inventory of the numerous sites on the island, together with a voluminous bibliography. This book was published in 1999 by C. N. Dubelaar, Michele H. Hayward and Michael A. Cinquino.

The factual material for these studies was collected during his stay in Suriname and during near annual study tours to the Caribbean area from 1967 to 1992. In 1988 the Dutch Government awarded him the ‘Pieter de la Court’ prize for unpaid scientific labor. Since the foundation of SIARB, Kees Dubelaar supported our work as member of our editorial board. We will remember him gratefully trying to follow his outstanding example.

SIARB, Secretary/Editor

Principal rock art publications by Dr. C. N. Dubelaar

1981. — Petroglyphs in Suriname. A survey. Archaeology and Anthropology, 41(1-2), p. 64-81. Georgetown.

1986. — The Petroglyphs in the Guianas and Adjacent Areas of Brazil and Venezuela: an Inventory. Monumenta Archaeologica, nº 12. The Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles.

1986. — South American and Caribbean Petroglyphs. Caribbean Series, nº 3. Royal Institute of Linguistics and Anthropology, Leiden.

1991. — Bibliography of South American and Antillean Petroglyphs. Foundation for Scientific Research in the Caribbean Region. Archaeological Museum Aruba.

1992. — Lesser Antilles rock art. The “State of the Art”. INORA, 1, p. 26-31.

1995. — The Petroglyphs of the Lesser Antilles, the Virgin Islands and Trinidad. Foundation for Scientific Research in the Caribbean Region. Amsterdam.

1996. — Rock art research in the Caribbean islands during 1990-1994. Rock art Studies. News of the World I (P. Bahn & A. Fossati eds.), p. 207-213. London.

1999. — Puerto Rican rock art. A resource guide. San Juan, Puerto Rico. (C. N. Dubelaar, M. Hayward & M. Cinquino).

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