Pork-knockers are freelance Guyanese prospectors who mine for diamonds and gold in the alluvial plains of the Guyanese interior. The name "pork-knockers" refers to their regular diet of pickled pork of wild pig that is often eaten at the end of the day. Caribbean author A. R. F. Webber suggested that the term may have originated as "pork-barrel knocker".
A 1921 account observed that most pork-knockers of that era were of African descent and worked individually or in small groups. Pork-knockers have often been dependent on bush traders, who carry mining supplies and sometimes grubstake the pork-knockers' operations. Pork-knockers may work in close proximity to each other and disputed claims may lead to violence.
Pork-knockers have been responsible for discovering large deposits of gold and diamonds. Many Guyanese stories describe pork-knockers who have made fortunes only to lose them in a tragic or comic fashion. Guyana-born author Jan Carew's 1958 novel Black Midas involves a boy leaving his coastal village to become a pork-knocker.
The presence of pork-knockers in the Guyanese interior has upset traditional Amerindian life there. The Akawaio people have experienced land disputes with pork-knockers and have been adversely affected by a rising cost of living. Amazonian anthropologist Audrey Butt Colson observed that mining has led to a collapse of the subsistence economy. Butt Colson writes that mining village Kamarang, known as "Red Light City", typifies the "pork-knocker syndrome of drink, gambling, sex, conspicuous consumption and, from time to time, violence."
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- Menezes, Mary Noel, ed. (1979). The Amerindians in Guyana, 1803-73: A Documentary History. London: Cass. p. 300. ISBN 978-0-7146-4030-3.
- "Diamond Production Makes Great Increase". Engineering and Mining Journal. 111 (8): 363. February 19, 1921.
- The Journal of Gemmology. Gemmological Association of Great Britain. 17: 477. 1980. Missing or empty
- "Mining Reporter: Life on the Cayenne Gold Fields". Mining American. 49: 86. January 28, 1904.
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- "Maps, Power, and the Defense of Territory". Communities and Conservation: Histories and Politics of Community-based Natural Resource Management. Walnut Creek, Calif.: AltaMira Press. 2005. p. 289. ISBN 978-0-7591-0506-5.