Culture Ministry launches Denis Williams's Prehistoric Guiana
Stabroek News
March 21, 2004

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I need a copy! This must be what Dr Rupert Roopnaraine was telling Dr Ian McDonald on Friday evening at the launching of Denis Williams' Prehistoric Guiana at the Umana Yana. (Photo by Lawrence Fanfair)

A work by the late Dr Denis Williams on Guyana's prehistory was launched on Friday evening by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport.

Prehistoric Guiana represents the findings of more than twenty-five years of archaeological research undertaken by Williams in this country, and the book is copiously illustrated with sketches and photographs. It also includes maps and tables, and an extensive bibliography.

It was edited by Dr Mark Plew, Professor and Chairman, Department of Anthropology, Boise State University, USA, who expressed himself honoured to have had the opportunity to work with Guyana's lone archaeologist. He recalled fondly the long hours spent preparing the work for publication, and acknowledged that he had learnt a lot from Williams.

Publication of the work was undertaken by Ian Randall at the behest of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, and in her remarks on behalf of that ministry, Minister Gail Teixeira gave recognition to all those who had assisted Williams in his quest to have the book published. The original notes for the work, she said, were now archival property.

Dr Ian McDonald in a tribute to Williams, described the late archaeologist as a genius. He read a message from his family in the United Kingdom, in which they thanked everyone who had contributed towards the publication of the book. Launching an important piece of history: From left are Permanent Secretary Ministry of Culture Keith Booker, who chaired the proceedings; Dr Ian McDonald; Minister of Culture Gail Teixeira; Dr Desrey Caesar-Fox and Dr Mark Plew at the head table for the l

Dr Desrey Caesar-Fox of the Amerindian Research Unit, University of Guyana, said the work should be a 'must-read' for all Guyanese, because it recorded the early part of our history and culture.

The occasion was enlivened by a cultural presentation from the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, while there was also an exhibition of some of Williams's other publications as well as his paintings, including a portrait of the late archaeologist done by Aubrey Williams.

Denis Williams, who died in 1998 was an artist, historian, novelist, anthropologist and archaeologist, who had worked not just in South America, but also in Africa and Europe.

Copies of the book are available locally.