Archaeological excavations at Schotsenhoek plantation, St. Eustatius, Caribbean Netherlands

In May 2012, the St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research was contracted to carry out an excavation on the NuStar property locally known as ‘the Farm’. NuStar’s plan to construct a new laydown area was going to impact an archaeological site identified by the author in 2011 during an initial survey and test. Situated on a slope, the area was planned to be leveled thus impacting any features of past human activity that may have survived in the ground. During the 2011 campaign, the site was determined to be the late eighteenth- to early nineteenth-century dumping area for adjacent Schotsenhoek plantation. Beneath the thousands of artifacts collected in the test trench, several earlier features (postholes and pits) were discovered.


The main goal of the 2012 campaign was to document any additional features present underneath the deposits from the dumping area. For six weeks in May and June, the St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research and several volunteers excavated and documented 188 features and collected and analyzed numerous artifacts.


After analysis of the findings, the site was interpreted as a slave village. The investigators suspected that there were still parts of the slave village that had not been excavated. Therefore, in January, February and March 2013 a field school was set up and the remaining parts of the settlement were investigated with the help of students and volunteers. In these subsequent campaigns, another 175 features were excavated and documented. In this report, the combined findings of the 2012 and 2013 campaigns are described in detail and an interpretation as to the nature of the site is given.


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