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Shirley's Heights
Historical Period

With the rise of Napoleon France and increasing military tensions in Europe, British economic interests in the Caribbean were under threat of invasion.

In the 1790,s a campaign was begun to strengthen the fortifications of Antigua. In light of the fact that the Naval Dockyard at English Harbour was of strategic importance to British interests, gun platforms and barracks with support facilities were constructed on the surrounding hills to house and support a large military force that could be quickly deployed in the region.

These fortifications and barracks were manned primarily by numerous British Regiments, but due to the high mortality rate among the white British troops, African (black) soldiers from the West India Regiments were station here at various times. All of the construction and support work at this large site was conducted by enslaved Africans.

The result of this cultural melting pot, is a rich archaeological assemblage with many avenues for theoretical and field research. Current research activities include, mapping the cemeteries and burial sites scattered across the hillsides, excavations at the artillary officers quarters, the barracks and canteen, and mapping all previously unrecorded structures.