Archaeological investigations at the New River Villages

archaeologists digging

Digging shovel test pits at New River

The New River estate is located on the Atlantic side of Nevis. The site of its 18th-century slave village, New River I, was known from documents. A walking survey of the area in May 2008 identified the location of a likely 19th-century village, which the archaeologists named New River II. The survey team excavated a total of 381 shovel-test-pits (STPs) at New River I, covering all of the documented spatial extent of the village. Twenty STPs were excavated at New River II to allow a preliminary assessment of its age. Complete exploration of New River II awaits additional funding.

A wide range of artefact types were found at both New River I and II, including architectural remains, pottery sherds, glass bottles, animal bones, and personal items such as tobacco pipes and buttons. When the spatial data from each STP (i.e. where each pit was located) is combined with the manufacturing dates of specific artefact types, such as pottery, we can see clear temporal differences in artefact patterns that pinpoint the location of an 18th century village occupation and a separate 19th century village occupation.

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