Five pre-Columbian sites, one Archaic Age, three Early Ceramic Age, and one late Ceramic Age, are currently being investigated by archaeologists working out of the the Field Research Centre.
Beside the many interesting artifacts that have been recently unearthed, such as the vessel depicted here, our current research is beginning to shed light on this poorly understood period of Antigua history.
Historical Period Archaeology
Historical period research currently focuses on the life and times of eighteenth century Antigua. Sites under investigations are within the military establishments and fortifications in and around English Harbour. Excavations are now being conducted in the Nelson's Dockyard.
Research projects include underwater archaeology. Seen here are some of the more than one thousand artifacts recovered from the July 2001 Nelson Dockyard Seawall Project. While conservation remains a problem, these artifacts below provide remarkable insight into life at this British naval outpost during the Age of Sail.
The Field Research Centre is dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge through multi-disciplinary field research. It provides workspace, storage, comparative collections, and logistical support for students and academics conducting field research on Antigua.
Knowledge gained is imparted to the public through publications, research bulletins, lectures and museum exhibits. Here, we can see a student volunteer upgrade some of the Museum's main exhibits, imparting current information and displaying newly unearthed artifacts. Meanwhile, Centre archaeologists conduct preliminary analysis of recently excavated one thousand eight hundred year old Arawak pottery.
Field Research Centre
Situated in the ruins of the Napoleonic Period Artillery Officers Quarters at Dow's Hill, Antigua, and upstairs the Nelson's Dockyard Museum, the Field Research Centre is dedicated to the study of Archaeology in Antigua and the Lesser Antilles.
The Field Research Centre was founded in June 2000 by Antiguan archaeologist Dr. Reg Murphy and is a collaborative venture by both the National Parks, Antigua and Barbuda and the Historical and Archaeological Society of Antigua. Both organisations are dedicated to the research and preservation of Antigua's history and cultural patrimony.
The function of the Field Research Centre is to provide logistical support, facilitate, coordinate, supervise, and encourage multi-disciplinary field research on Antigua. Through this mission, it will essentially fulfil the mandate of both founding organisations.
The Field Research Centre (FRC) functions as a place for conducting the initial stages of lab work and analysis. Worktables, stationery, storage bags, bins and containers, and basic field equipment, such as screens, shovels, and buckets are made available. This has proven popular, not only with field school students and academics conducting field research, but also with high school students and teachers who are seeking information beyond the norm.
Although, the primary focus of the Centre is archaeological research, a wide variety of disciplines have used the facilities, including geologists, palaeontologists, botanists, and physical anthropologists. Interestingly, visiting researchers using the facilities have provided voluntary assistance to the Antiguan authorities and public in a number of ways, such as human forensic analysis (on recovered skeletal remains of missing individuals), advise on the restoration of historical structures, salvage archaeology, and museum development.
Through a recent generous donation by UNESCO, the research capabilities of the FRC was greatly enhanced. Now microscopes, computers, multi-media equipment, cameras, and other essential equipment have been purchased and are already setup and in use.
As a branch of the Historical and Archaeological Society of Antigua, the Centre is an established non-profit organisation and survives financially on student funds and small donations. We have no secure or regular sources of funding.
We need your help to continue our research, to publish, and to expand our stroage and research capabilities and facilities.
If you are interested in making a donation of material, books equipment, or funds, pleased contact Dr. Reg. Murphy at the below address. As a donor, when visiting Antigua, we will be pleased to give you a behind the scenes tour of our archaeological sites and facilities.
For further information, contact Dr. Reg Murphy. PO. Box 312, St. John's, Antigua