The St Kitts-Nevis Digital Archaeology Initiative

A location map for the Leeward Islands from the North American Pilot, dated 1800. This atlas of charts belonged to I Tully of the vessel Old Maid, who marked the route of the ship bound for Jamaica. Reference: OA/1866. From the Maritime Archives and Library.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, sugar produced by enslaved Africans and their descendants made the islands of the Caribbean the wealthiest places in the New World. As a result, the Caribbean was home to one of the largest populations of enslaved humans in the Atlantic world. Thus the Caribbean is central to our understanding of how people from Africa coped with slavery and other aspects of their New World experience.

St Kitts and Nevis, two small islands in the eastern Caribbean, were dominated by sugar plantations that were fuelled by the labour of thousands of enslaved Africans. The villages that were home to these people offer the opportunity to advance our understanding of the daily lives of enslaved Africans in the Caribbean, as well as the strategies they employed to cope with their enslavement.

The St Kitts-Nevis Digital Archaeology Initiative is a multiple-year project to create an integrated digital archive of archaeological and historical data related to the experiences of the enslaved men and women who laboured on three 18th and 19th century sugar plantations on Nevis and St Kitts.

Through this website you can:

  • view, read and search the historic documents on the Jessups and New River Estates on Nevis and The Spring Estate on St Kitts;
  • read summaries of recent archaeological research and analysis conducted at Jessups and New River;
  • explore and download the actual data from recent archaeological excavations;
  • watch videos of archaeologists at work;
  • look at 3D images of some of the artefacts found;
  • watch videos of the island and villages in which descendants of slaves talk about the landscape of Nevis today;

This innovative collaborative research project involves archaeologists from the University of Southampton and the International Slavery Museum in the United Kingdom and archaeologists from The Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery ( in the United States. This research was funded by a joint JISC-NEH Transatlantic Digitisation grant awarded in 2008.