St Kitts Maritime Archaeological Project 2003 – 2008 Major English Shipwreck Uncovered

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St Kitts Maritime Archaeological Project

2003 – 2008

Major English Shipwreck Uncovered
The Anglo~Danish Maritime Archaeological Team (ADMAT), directed by Simon Q. Spooner BSc, MRICS, MIFA, a final year PhD student in Maritime Archaeology at The Centre for Historical and Maritime Archaeology at University of Bristol, has successfully finished a five week interim survey of an important large wreck site in White House Bay. This was the first ever Maritime Archaeological project in St. Kitts, and took nearly 2 years of planning by ADMAT and the St Christopher Heritage Society, headed by Jackie Armony. This phase of the project was a complete success and is an excellent start to the project, which will be looking at a number of wreck sites around the island over the next 5 years.
To make the operation possible ADMAT erected a small tented base camp on the shore of the site. Whilst the project was partly financed by the students and participants, valuable sponsorship was given by; The Geest Line for the loan of two containers and the shipping of about 20 tons of equipment required for the project, Polypipe for the dredges, Kawasaki Motors UK for assistance on the water pumps and generators, Delta Petroleum (Nevis) Ltd for tax free fuel, NIBCO for the 1 ½ inch pvc grid crosses, Abyss UK for a drop camera, Delisle Walwyn & Co. Ltd. & Tropical Shipping for the use of a container, Dee Cee Trading Ltd, for the PVC Grid, TDC for water connections and assistance with a minibus, Cable & Wireless for the loan of Mobile Phones, Nova Foods for empty barrels, the Montessori Academy for the site preparation as well as Aquascan International Ltd, who provided the scientific equipment. Additional vital governmental support was given by: Ministry of Health & Environment, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Finance and Customs, Port Authorities, Water Department, St. Kitts & Nevis Defence Force & Coast Guard, the St. Kitts Police Force, Woodsrite Enterprises Ltd and members of the St. Christopher Heritage

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A quarterly

publication of

the S C H S


S. W. Tapley Seaton
Vice Presidents

Prudence France

Hans Mallalieu

Kathleen Orchard

Hazel Brookes

Kenneth Martin

(Brimstone Hill Society)

Percival Hanley (TDC)

Gregory Pereira

Toni Frederick

Creighton Pencheon

Donato Wharton Jr.

Carol Henry (Ex-officio)

Lindon Williams

Government Member

Allison Richardson

Executive Director

Jacqueline Armony
Secretary/Office Assistant

Shauna Huggins
Send comments and/or suggestions to
P.O. Box 888,

Old Treasury Building,

Bay Road,

Basseterre, St.Kitts

Tel./Fax (869) 465-5584


“Anyone who discovers an underwater site has a very special responsibility. By making the discovery you have formed a direct link with our past, and all prospects of enhancing our knowledge and understanding of life and past events lie in your hands. Such sites are part of our cultural heritage and you have become one of the guardians of our past, so it is essential that you take the right course of action.”

Robinson, Wendy (1998)


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The ADMAT Team are very grateful to all these companies and individuals who volunteered and gave assistance.

The team consisted of archaeological students and divers from Canada, USA, Mexico, France, Denmark and the UK. In all 17 participants took part in the project, plus the special assistance of Lt Jason Maloney and his coast guard dive team. This was a great asset and the Coast Guard team was invaluable.
The team recorded the main wreck in the bay, as well as locating two new wrecks near by. This large wreck was uncovered in a Hurricane, and according to testimonials from divers, when uncovered it had at least 13 iron cannons on the deck. Unfortunately the wreck has been totally looted since then with very few surviving artefacts. However by careful analysis of the ship construction and the wrecking process, nearly 300 artefacts, ranging from musket balls to pot shards were saved and recorded. Significant and historically important finds were made, with numerous regimental buttons, spoons, a wooden and copper alloy rule, wooden pulley wheel, French bar shot, and cannon truck pins. Research has already started on the buttons, as these are from 11 different English regiments, including the Royal Irish Brigade, 40th, 56th, 69th and 99th regiments; Armagh Volunteers; Somersetshire 40th Regiment and others. Some of these regiments were unknown to St. Kitts, and this important new historical information will add to the history of the island.
From the archaeological information found on the wreck, the artefacts give an initial date pre 1760 possibly as early as 1690. The most important find was the remaining hull timbers of the ship. These massive timbers were in excellent condition, stretching for about 60 ft and consisted of the lower hull arrangements of the bow section, going as far as the main mast step which was not found. It is calculated that the ship originally could be as long as 100 to 130ft.The stern section has not been found. From the remaining timbers, this ship is a very important example of pre 1760s ship construction and falls within the top 3% of the best historic wrecks in the Caribbean. The finds point to this being an English troop ship. The 5 cannons nearby, appear to be from the wreck, and are thought to be the secondary armament for the ship. A full report and wrecking theory are underway, with over 3,000 photographs taken and all of the ships remaining timbers measured and recorded. It is envisaged that the artefacts found will be displayed in the National Museum, with the drawings and slide show. The ADMAT Team will be returning to St Kitts, later this year to look at other sites, which are in danger and need addressing.

For further information on how you can join the project, contact Simon Q. Spooner at:

E-Mail: Web:

Several artifacts were left with the SCHS so that they might go through a process of conservation. Lindon Williams has undertaken the responsibility of changing the water they are immersed in once a week. He has been assisted by Hazel Brookes and Trevor Orchard. Given the nature of the artifacts it is likely that they will eventually be housed and displayed at the Military Museum at Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park.
In the meantime Mr. Spooner has donated the book “First Aid for Underwater Finds” by Wendy Robinson (1998) to provide information for their care.

Hon. Dwyer Astaphan, Randolph Hamilton, Michael Brisbane, Major Wallace, Anthony Davis, Hans Mallalieu, Hazel Brookes, Deidre Stubbs, Ron Jorgenson, Kate & Steven Orchard, Superintendent Ivor Blake, Bernie Greaux, Greg Pereira, Vandel Berry, Larry & Jacqueline Armony, 1st. Lieutenarnt Jason Maloney, 2st. Lieutenarnt Lynn Wilkin and Sargeant Brian Mills and Chef Collins, Toni Fredericks, Penny Pereira.

Several artifacts were left with the SCHS so that they might go through a process of conservation. Lindon Williams has undertaken the responsibility of changing the water they are immersed in once a week. He has been assisted by Hazel Brookes and Trevor Orchard. Given the nature of the artifacts it is likely that they will eventually be housed and displayed at the Military Museum at Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park.
In the meantime Mr. Spooner has donated the book “First Aid for Underwater Finds” by Wendy Robinson (1998) to provide information for their care.
8th May: A meeting of a Technical Group to discuss Heritage Site clean up and maintenance procedures towards compiling a brochure for community action as part of the Country Above Self Project. (See P. 4)
14th May: A Meeting of the National Advisory Committee for the UNESCO Intangible Culture Project is held at the SCHS.
15th May: Kate Orchard attends a stakeholders round table meeting at the Foundation for National Development on Problems Impacting the Implementation of the St. Georges Declaration of Environment Principles.
A meeting of the Technical Committee for the Heritage Sites Sub-Committee convenes.
16th May: ED meets with Anne Rainsbury of the Chepstow Museum to discuss the Nathaniel Wells Exhibition and his connection to St. Kitts.
21st May: ED meets with Kate Orchard and Bryan Farrell to fill out a survey related to the St. George’s Environment Declaration of Environmental Principles.
22nd May: ED, Kate Orchard and Shauna Huggins meet with Earl Jeffers of Simmonds and Associates to discuss the SCHS 2002 Audit.
ED meets with Nigel Williams of the Department of Culture and Dr. Samuel A. Floyd Jr., a Music Researcher from the University of Columbia, New York to discuss possible collaboration on a project for St. Kitts and Nevis.
26th-27th May: A 2-day UNESCO Intangible Culture Project workshop for Field Assistants and volunteers is held on St. Kitts and Nevis.
29th May: ED attends a OECS Cultural Participants Network Group meeting at the Ministry of Culture.
3rd June: ED meets with David Vousden a Coastal Zone Management Consultant.
4th. June: A UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Management Committee meeting is held at the SCHS.
8th June: A group of 15 SCHS members hike to Nags Head on the South East Peninsula to look for evidence of maroon settlement in the area.
19th June: Tapley Seaton attends a National Capacity Self-Assessment (NCSA) Orientation Mission meeting at the Ministry of Health to discuss potential projects with a UNDP and GEF international and national consultant
2nd April: The Anglo-Danish Maritime Archaeology Survey (ADMAT) begins at White House Bay.
9th April: Meeting of the National Advisory Committee for the UNESCO Intangible Culture Project. (See P. 5)
ED attends a Country Above Self Steering Committee meeting convened by the Ministry of Social Development, Community and Gender Affairs.
11th April: ED attends a St. Paul’s Community Project Committee meeting at the St. Paul’s Church.
15th April: David Rollinson, consultant for the MUKTI Museum Exit Grant meets with the National Museum Committee to discuss proposals for advancing the Museum Project.
16th April: ED meets with Cecilia Babb and Mr. Sinclair of Caribbean Policy Development Centre.

17th April: The First Meeting of the Country Above Self Heritage Site Subcommittee takes place at the SCHS.
23rd April: A Meeting of the National Advisory Committee for the UNESCO Intangible Culture Project.
24th April: Maritime Project Committee meeting.
25th April: Kate Orchard represents the SCHS at a meeting convened by the Department of Environment to discuss a User Fees System for Forest Nature Trails.
26th April: A BBQ is held at the home of Greg Pereira for the ADMAT team and project volunteers.
28th April: ED attends a Country Above Self Steering Committee meeting at the Ministry of Social Development, Community and Gender Affairs.
29th April: ED and Randolph Hamilton of the Ministry of Tourism are interviewed at WINNFM about the Maritime Archaeology Project.
ED attends a luncheon hosted by the Ministry of Tourism for the ADMAT Project Team at the Frigate Bay Beach Resort.
ED attends a Press Conference at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC) Conference Room for the Launch of Country Above Self Project.
A public lecture about the Maritime Archaeology Survey conducted at White House Bay is given by Simon Spooner at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College.
1st May: Mona Bacchus, Shauna Huggins and Kate Orchard mount and attend to a display on Biodiversity for the Small Islands Voice Project at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Open Day.

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COUNTRY ABOVE SELF– Building For Tomorrow Together’


Heritage Sites Subcommittee
The SCHS has been invited to sit on the Country Above Self Steering Committee which has been set up by the Ministry of Social Development, Community & Gender Affairs to organize commemoration activities for the 20th Anniversary celebrations of our country’s Independence. The Society has been asked to coordinate the Heritage Site Subcommittee which will seek ways of involving the communities on St. Kitts in becoming more aware of the Sites in and around their community and to be actively engaged in their protection and upkeep. Several meetings have been convened to this end and it has been agreed that a data base on the communities on the island will be established and a brochure to guide heritage site preservation will be undertaken.
Data collected from the various ministries of Government has been collected and inserted onto a computerized form. The information includes lists of community groups, special community events, resource persons and community leaders among other things. This information will be made available to whoever wishes to use it to advance community development and capacity building
Another product of the Sub-committee is a brochure which will be printed and circulated among community groups and leaders to encourage the clean up and maintenance of Heritage Sites around the island. This step by step guide will hopefully encourage careful and appropriate rehabilitation of some of the numerous sites which have laid abandoned for many years. The growing appreciation for these sites is encouraging and it is hoped that this project will promote their protection and careful management.
Members of the Heritage Sites Sub-Committee are: Nigel Williams (Department of Culture), Mr. Daniel Henry (Department of Environment), Mr. Therold Grey (SSMC), Ms. Carol Henry (Solid Waste Management Corporation), (St. Kitts Scenic Railway), Mr. Larry Armony (Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society), Lindon Williams, (SCHS), Campbell Evelyn (SCHS), Jacqueline Armony (SCHS, Chairperson).







(Excerpts from our brochure)
d) Where and how are small items found on location going to be stored for safekeeping ?

(Business places and professional persons in the community might be approached to provide financial and other assistance for the Project)

A meeting of the volunteers and other persons involved in the clean up should take place and the plan of actions explained. The group should be made aware of the significance of the site. Divide the work force up to do the various tasks related to the clean up.

All work must be supervised by person (s) involved in the first two steps of the project.. The Sketch Map and Plan of Action should be made available so that the clean up takes place according to plan.

After the clean up of the site the whole group should meet to evaluate the activity and decide on follow up action.

Things to consider:

How will the Site be kept clean and maintained?

How can the site be protected from vandals especially from persons taking the old machinery and cut stones?

How can the Community as a whole benefit from the site?

What can be done to educate the community and the country about the significance of the site?

Should signs be designed to identify and interpret the site for visitors to the area?

How can the site be developed into an attraction for income generation activities without destroying any part of it?
What other sites are there that the Community might clean up and maintain in a similar way?
Identify the Heritage Sites in or around your community and select one or more for clean up and preservation action. The ownership of the site must be determined. If it is privately owned, the owner’s permission must be granted. If it is owned by Government, permission must first be sought from the Department of Physical Planning.

Organize a group of persons to visit the site. Ensure that persons who might have been associated with the site in the past are part of the group.

Take photographs to document the site before you start any work and continue to do so throughout the project.

The following assessment of the site must be made before any action is taken to clean it:

a) Consider carefully the lay of the land
b) Identify any stone or other structures, machinery, and other objects that were once part of the site and its operations. (Get advise with this if necessary)
c) Observe carefully the growth of the vegetation with a view to deciding what will be cut back, destroyed or left at the site. (At all times try to avoid cutting down trees unless they are growing on or too close to the structures and might be destructive to the standing walls)
d) Draw a simple sketch map of the site, with the location of the structures, machinery or other significant objects, the trees and other vegetation to ensure that important significant is destroyed during clean up.
e) Have one of the members of the group make a list or inventory of all objects (other than garbage) identified at the site.
Walk through the site again planning a course of action.

a) What are you going to clean up, what areas need to be manually cleaned and what areas with the use of equipment? (avoid the use of heavy equipment i.e. bulldozers, backhoes etc).

b) What tools are you going to need to do the job and where will you get them?

b) Who will provide the man power? (seek volunteers from among the community)

c) What arrangements will have to be made for the disposal of i) vegetative waste ii) garbage and iii) any other waste.


Take great care when cleaning in and around old structures. They can be unstable. The trees growing in the walls of old structures should be cut from the root where they enters the ground and not pulled out as the walls can collapse and cause injury.


On Friday 11th, John Guilbert, Executive Director of the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society and Jacqueline Armony, Executive Director of the St. Christopher Heritage Society returned to the Federation from Dominica where a two day Regional Management Committee meeting was held to discuss the status of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Project: “The revitalization of the Traditional Masquerade Performing Arts & costume making, developing a Tourism Product for the Caribbean”. Mr. Guilbert, representative from the National Advisory Committee for the Project and Mrs. Armony, National Project Coordinator, joined counterparts from St. Lucia and Dominica, the other participating countries. The Host Institution for the Project is the Folk Research Centre of St. Lucia while the implementing agency on St. Kitts-Nevis is the St. Christopher Heritage Society.

In late January of this year, near the end of the first Phase of the Project, a Regional Training Workshop took place in St. Kitts & Nevis. The Project, now in its second phase, is carrying out field research in communities around the islands. In late May, an in-country Training Workshop was held to expose staff and volunteers to techniques in field research. A Project Manual is being compiled which will serve to guide future work. Other project personnel are Ava Henry, Halstead Byron, Shauna Huggins and Chesley Davis.
A proposal for a Phase 3 of the Project calls for the convening of a regional conference in St. Lucia. This event is carded for 2004 and will see the coming together of countries from around the Caribbean, along with countries from other continents which are engaged in similar intangible cultural heritage studies. At that conference, the Folk Performing Arts will be showcased and discussed. The potential of these art forms for income generation will also be high on the agenda and is a very important component of the Project. In St. Kitts & Nevis, once a product survey is conducted, the Craft Houses on both islands will be invited to participate in training programmes for local crafts practitioners to develop traditional and new products that may be marketed as part of the tourism industry.
This UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Project seeks to focus on the Masquerade Arts with a view to fostering greater understanding and appreciation for these traditional art forms, recognizing them as an important part of the cultural legacy of those who came before. In St. Kitts and Nevis these art forms, referred to as Christmas Sports, continue to be performed on our streets and villages. They have also become a feature of our tourism product which we must nurture ensuring at all times that the integrity of the performances is not jeopardized in our pursuit for economic gain.


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New Members



Resident Student Members: Iesha Smithen, Renice George, Marecia Maynard, Paulisa Charles, Kishon Rawlins, Abishek Nariani, Randell Thompson, Quincy Edwards, Vanisha Webbe, Colondre Caines.

Resident Ordinary Members: Brenda C. Charles, Warren Wyatt, Laura L. Smith, Marilyn Rogers.

Resident Corporate Member: Mac Pennies.


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1. 3 Admiralty Charts: Caribbean Sea d.d. 12/18/02, Approaches to Nevis d.d. 08/02/02, Saint Christopher, St. Eustatius & Saba d.d. 11/03/02.

2. Assessment about the Trade of the Sea Turtles and their products in the Central America Isthmus by Didiher Chacon (June 2002)

3. Of Nevis Lighters and Lightermen: The Sailing Lighters of St. Kitts & Nevis by Kieran J. Hackett (2003)

4. The Community Planning Handbook by Nick Yates (2000)

5. The Maintenance of Cultural & Personal Identities of Enslaved Africans & British Soldiers at the Brimstone Hill Fortress, St. Kitts by G. I. Schroedl & Todd M. Ahlman (2002)

6. Journal of Archaeological Science; 2001: Sugar Monoculture, Bovid Skeletal Part Frequencies and Stable Carbon Isotopes: Interpreting African Diet at Brimstone Hill, St. Kitts by W. E. Klippel

7. Clay Tobacco Pipes from the Brimstone Hill Fortress, St. Kitts, - Brimstone Hill Archaeological Report # 23 by Amy D. Hill & Gerald F. Schroedl (March 2003)

8. Wise Practices for Coping with Beach Erosion: St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Turks & Caicos Islands.(2003)

9. Mukti Fund History—Our First 20 Years 1983—2003

10. Eradication of Black Rats (Rattus Rattus) from Sandy Cay, B.V.I. By Karen Varnham (March 2003)

11. Poems of R..L..Bradshaw; A Tribute to our National Hero & The Life of Robert L. Bradshaw by Christine Clarke Nisbett

12. Information on the Sotheby & Pitcher family.

13. First Aid for Underwater Finds by Wendy Robinson (1998)

14. Excerpt from World Heritage Review No. 27, 2002: The Slave Route


We wish to express our sincerest thanks to the following who made donations of various kinds to the SCHS during the last quarter.

Simon Spooner

Kate Orchard

David Rollinson

Edward Rutherford

Gerald F. Schroedl

Todd M. Ahlman

Ed Towle

Judith Towle

Hazel Brookes

Jacqueline Armony

Christine Clarke Nisbett

Robert Cramer

Frank Sharman

Vicki O'Flaherty


*- A still camera and flash

*-Microwave Oven

*-CD-Rs and CD-RWs

*-Chargeable Batteries

*-Electric Kettle

*-Small Fridge

*-Zip disks (100 & 250 MBs)


At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the SCHS in 1998, a resolution was unanimously passed that the designation August Monday should be changed to Emancipation Day in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. This resolution was sent to the Prime Minister and in that same year the name change was made.

Long standing members of the Society would know that, through the initiatives of our organisation, collaboration activities to commemorate the Freedom in the Caribbean have been taking place. Each year the Department of Culture ensures that the Emancipation Proclamation is read on ZIZ, the Christian Council and Evangelical Association conduct a joint service in Independence Square, Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society presents an Emancipation Concert, and the Public Library mounts book displays. The Society has mounted exhibitions, held lectures in conjunction with the Extra Mural Department of the University of the West Indies, conducted field trips through the forests where runaway slaves would hide, and generally try to inspire and coordinate activities through a Committee comprising interested individuals and agencies.
The move to institutionalize the commemoration of Emancipation has not been as easy as one would expect in a country which comprises the majority of persons whose forbearers were brought here in bondage from Africa. The reasons for this are complex and need to be explored and examined especially in the light of the recent heated debate on the erection of a Monument to our Slave Ancestors and its location.
The SCHS has therefore decided this year to present a lecture series to look closely at the issues relating to our African Heritage and the legacies of colonialism which might colour our attitudes and behaviours. The lectures will take place at the National Museum during the month of August and will be announced through the local media.
A new activity to be organised this year is a hike to Nags Head on the South East Peninsula which may have been a camp for runaway slaves.
The Emancipation Commemoration Committee persists with its mandate of ensuring that this very significant event in the history of our islands, and indeed the Region, continues to feature on the national calendar of events. We urge that you support its efforts.


As part of the activities to commemorate the Emancipation of Slaves in the Caribbean, and having regard for the critical role played by the early Moravian missionaries in preaching Christianity and also providing basic primary education to the slaves in St. Kitts and other parts of the Caribbean, the Zion Moravian Church, in collaboration with  invited artistes and choirs, will present a Treasury of Negro Spirituals at the Church on Victoria Road on Sunday 3rd August, 2003 at 7.30pm.

Proceeds will go towards church repairs and the St. Christopher Heritage Society.
Davis, Darien. Slavery and Beyond (1995)

Herskovits, Melville J. Myth of the Negro Past (1941)

Beckles & Shepherd, Caribbean Freedom (1993)

Klein, Herbert S. The Atlantic Slave Trade (1999)

Mintz, Sidney W. Caribbean Transformations (1989)

Dirks, Robert. Black Saturnalia (1987)

Pope-Hennessy, James. Sins of the Fathers (1960)

Holloway, Joseph E. Africanisms in American Culture (1990)

Curtin, Philip Africa Remembered, Narratives by West Africans from the Era of the Slave Trade (1967)

Mullin, Michael. Africa in America, Slave Acculturation and Resistance in the American South and the British Caribbean 1736-1831 (1994)

Mintz & Price The Birth of African-American Culture (1992)

Thornton, John. Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic world, 1400-1800. (1992)

Eltis, David. The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas (2000)

Baker & Bruyn St. Kitts and the Atlantic Creoles (1999)


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