Falkland Islands archaeological survey programme

Since 1992 Rob Philpott of the Field Archaeology Unit has undertaken a survey of the early settlements in the Falkland Islands. Although the rich maritime history of the islands has attracted much attention, notably by Mike Stammers of National Museums Liverpool, this is the first archaeological work on the land-based sites of the islands.

The programme has investigated a range of sites in the islands, including:

  • Port Egmont, the first British settlement in the islands, dating from 1765
  • Port Louis the earliest French settlement, founded in 1764 and the chief settlement until 1844
  • Keppel Island, the home station for the South American Missionary Society from 1855-1911
  • The Falkland Islands Company cattle ranching establishment at Hope Place, begun in 1847, with outlying houses at Tranquilidad, Orqueta, Dos Lomas and New House in Lafonia

The programme has been funded by the Falkland Islands Museum and National Trust in Stanley and National Museums Liverpool.

Find out more about the Falkland Islands surveys by following the links below.

Book about the archaeology of the Falkland Islands

A new book by Rob Philpott, 'The Archaeology of the Falkland Islands 1: The Early Falkland Islands Company Settlements: An Archaeological Survey' came out in December 2007. Published by the Falkland Islands Museum and National Trust and National Museums Liverpool, it covers the archaeological research on the early Falkland Islands sites.

The Falkland Islands Company was enormously influential in the mid 19th century development of the economy and settlement of the Falklands. Developing out of the ranching business of two Liverpool merchant brothers, Samuel and Alexander Lafone, the company’s primary source of income was cattle. The ranching business left its mark on the landscape and in just over a decade, at least eight ranching sites were established, ranging from the extensive headquarters at Hope Place to more modest single houses in northern Lafonia.

The present study is an archaeological survey of the Falkland Islands Company’s early sites, including its first headquarters at Hope Place, and sites in Lafonia and elsewhere in East Falkland. The surveys examined the surviving physical remains with interpretation of their original function and an examination of the documents, maps and contemporary illustrations to shed light on the establishment and running of these remote settlements. The archaeological work has concentrated on the earliest phase of the Falkland Islands Company sites, broadly up to the foundation of the settlement of Darwin in 1859.