Florida Museum of Natural History


4-28-2002 to 5-19-2002


museum logo Leiden Logo

Project Directors:
W.F.Keegan (FLMNH), C.L. Hofman and M.L.P. Hoogland (Leiden University)

Ben Castricone, Patti Yamane, Bob Gezon, Robert Hoffman, and Warren Stortroen

Student Assistants:
Maaike de Waal and Jochem Lesparre

St. Lucia

Map of St. Lucia

south coast of St. Lucia

South Coast of St. Lucia



The volcanic island of St. Lucia is one of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles. The island lies approximately 210 miles north of Trinidad, at a position of 130° 50' latitude by 600° 58' west longitude. A 21-mile ocean channel separates it from St. Vincent to the south, and Martinique lies 24 miles to the north. St. Lucia is one of the larger islands in the chain measuring 27 miles in length and 14 miles in width, with an estimated area of 233 square miles.

The island of St. Lucia played a central role in the earliest systematic study of Caribbean prehistory. Through the efforts of the St. Lucia Archaeological and Historical Society (AHS) the Fourth International Congresses for the Study of Pre-Columbian Cultures of the Lesser Antilles was held at Reduit Beach in 1971 (AHS 1973). The AHS was one of the first heritage organizations in the islands, and has continued to serve the people of St. Lucia through its daughter organizations the St. Lucia National Trust and the St. Lucia National Archives. Despite its early role in stimulating archaeological research in the West Indies, very little formal archaeological work has been conducted in the past 25 years. Notable exceptions are the research undertaken by the University of Vienna in the 1980s (Friesinger 1984,1986) and current research by the University of Bristol at historical sites. However, prior to these, the last major field investigation was conducted by Marshall B. McKusick during his Ph.D. research in 1956 and 1957 (McKusick 1960); and the last major summary of St. Lucian archaeology was compiled by the Reverend C. Jesse in 1960 and revised in 1968.

Lavoutte figurine

Ceramic figurine from the Lavoutte site.

Archaeologically, the island can be divided into three main areas: the interior, the leeward coast, and the windward coast. The interior is very densely vegetated and therefore very difficult to prospect. Only a few pre-Columbian sites are known from that area. Most of the known sites are situated along the coast. In total about 40 pre-Columbian sites have been inventoried up until now. The AHS has continued to maintain an inventory of archaeological sites as they are discovered, and has provided excellent care for the collections recovered during archaeological work on the island. All of the collections from our research are deposited with the AHS at their facility in Vigie.

On the basis of the earlier work a chronological sequence that is still in use today was established for St. Lucia (Jesse 1968; Mc Kusick 1960:152-154). The sequence starts within Rouse's Period IIb (A.D. 150) with the Cedrosan Saladoid subseries. Cedrosan ceramics are characterized by their thinness, hardness, and overall quality. They are highly decorated with paint, incisions, and modeled-incised adornos. Ceramics of this subseries have been found at the site of Grande Anse, and others. A Troumassoid series divided into Troumassée A and B follows the Cedrosan Saladoid series during period IIIa (A.D. 350) and a late Troumassée during period IIIb (A.D. 750). Troumassoid ceramics are thick with relatively soft, grit-tempered paste, which splits rather easily. Vessel shapes are varied with forms including boat-shapes, kidney-shapes, pedestal, bottomless, double, hemispherical, and inverted bell shaped bowls. Rims tend to be thickened with a variety of forms including flanges and rim bevels. Painted decoration is common including bichromes and polychromes with red, white, and black. Some modeled-incised motifs are present. Over time the painted decoration disappeared, as did fine-line crosshatching. Tripod griddles were introduced and modeled-incised decorations became more elaborate. The type site for the Troumassoid series is the site at Troumassée River. Period IV (A.D. 1150) is characterized by a Micoid series with the Choc and Fannis style ceramics. Dominant characteristics of the Micoid series are the introduction of leg bases, clay pestles, and a thickness and crudity of construction. Decoration tends to garish -- heavy incised lines and complicated model-incised lugs frequently with human figures. Overall red paint is common and bichrome is rare. Finger-notched rims become predominant in the later phase of the series. The Choc style is named after the site with the same name in the northwestern part of the island, and Fannis is named after the proprietor of a property at Micoud.

It should be apparent from this brief outline that St. Lucia has had a significant impact on the archaeology of the entire region. All of the archaeologists who work in the West Indies use this terminology and compare their materials to artifacts described from St. Lucia. However, time and knowledge march on. It is clear from research conducted on other islands that this schema is now outdated and that it needs to be refined and reconsidered. For example, there are problems with the notion Troumassoid, and the Micoid is no longer used in Caribbean terminology. This does not mean that these concepts are no longer worthwhile. What is needed is new efforts to integrate this earlier work into a modern frame of reference. Although prospecting for sites and describing their characteristics is a major part of what we do, our primary objective is to redefine the sequence and put it in a regional framework. In sum, we hope to develop a better understanding of the native peoples of St. Lucia as well as their place in the broader Caribbean culture history.


Victor Poyette, Tennyson Joseph, Anne Stokes, Bill Keegan, Jim Miller, Eric Branford, and Fortuna Anthony meet prior to the cultural heritage workshop sponsored by FAVA/CA at the Auberge Seraphin. (Photo © Jim Miller)


In July 2001, the St. Lucia Archaeological and Historical Society invited us to undertake archaeological investigations on St. Lucia. The AHS is one of the oldest archaeological societies in the West Indies and they were interested in having new investigations begin before they celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2004. In addition, Keegan was invited by the government of St. Lucia to provide advice concerning the three island's main heritage organizations. Their invitations were accepted and an international team consisting of eleven members from Leiden University and the Florida Museum of Natural History went to St. Lucia from April 28 to May 19, 2002. The main purpose of the project was to familiarize the investigators with the archaeology of St. Lucia, and to investigate sites to establish a possible field school in archaeology. In addition, we used a global positioning system (GPS) to map the sites and to place them in the local and global coordinate systems. Known sites around the island were visited. After the first week we decided to focus our efforts on the southeast coast between Micoid and Vieux Fort. The project was highly successful. New information was collected on all of the sites, several new sites were identified and mapped using GPS, and the GPS coordinates for all of the sites were recorded. This report presents the preliminary results of our investigations.



On the beach with L'Islet Point in the background.

Between April 28th and May 4th, Hofman and Hoogland conducted surface reconnaissance at a variety of known sites identified by Mr. Eric Branford (AHS). [Keegan was involved in a cultural heritage workshop sponsored by the Florida Association of voluntary Agencies for Caribbean Action (FAVA/CA) in Castries.] During this period they visited the Pointe de Caille site; the Troumassée site; the Troumassée River North site; the Balembouche petroglyphs towards the coast and along the river; the Morne Lezard site on the Bernard family property; and the Lavoutte site.

The Lavoutte site was of special interest because of the large ceramic figure that the Bullens (1960) found there. However, is not very large and the Bullens'excavated a large number of test units (which they documented on a sketch map). It does not appear that additional work is needed here at the moment. The eastern part of the site, toward the shoreline, is heavily eroded and not protected by enough vegetation to stop this process. Some lithic surface materials were collected for analysis at Leiden University. An unusual find was a fragment of what looks like St. Martin chert. St. Martin chert was traded widely in the Lesser Antilles but was not previously recorded for St. Lucia

In addition, the baseline information was obtained during a meeting at the Survey and Mapping Department, Castries. Mr. Vincent Jn. Baptiste helped in obtaining the coordinates of the 26 reference points in WGS84 and the transformation to the local grid.


Based on the reconnaissance it was decided that we would focus our efforts on the southeast coast. There was not enough time to cover adequately the entire island. We moved our base of operations to Vieux Fort and began a program of survey, test excavations, mapping, and collecting GPS coordinates. During this phase we moved between sites, often returning to a site several times. In this report each site is discussed individually, even if our work there was not on consecutive days. In addition, we developed a numbering system to facilitate recording the sites. Our system is similar to that used by the University of Vienna (1980s) in that it uses the first two letters of island's "quarters", but because we were unaware of their system the numbers that we used are different from the numbers they used.

profiling bank

Ben Castricone (left), Patti Yamane, Maaike de Waal, and Robert Hoffman profiling bank at Troumassée River (Photo © Bob Gezon)

Troumassée River North site (MI-2)

The first site we returned to was the Troumassée River North site (MI-2) on May 5th. This is where on May 1st we observed some pre-Columbian materials eroding out of the riverbank, just south of the village and north of the river facing east. There is a light scatter of pre-Columbian and colonial material on the ground surface along the river. The ground surface is covered in grass.

In order to observe the strata, a 3-m wide section was cleaned within the exposed area of the riverbank, to a depth of 75 cm below surface (cmbs). Cleaning of the section was stopped at this depth because very little material was found and the clayey soil was extremely compact. Very little pre-Columbian material was collected. Most of it was found between 50 and 60 cmbs. A total of 5 layers could be distinguished. The topsoil, which is disturbed, consists of very dark grayish brown clayey sand. The layer below the topsoil is more sandy and darker in color. The subsequent layer is clayey and it has a lighter color with darker stains. It contains some sand. The layer below is very clayey and contains no artifacts. It is mottled. A very dark gray feature-like area reaches the lowest part of the section, but no artifacts were found in this section.

A surface collection also was made. The Troumassée River North site seems to be restricted to a relatively flat, grassy point of land at the base of the hill next to the river mouth. The walkover survey indicated that the site area is restricted to the cleared area of the point; virtually nothing was found back in the bush. One possible interpretation is that the site is composed materials redeposited from the Troumassée site (MI-3), which is located a short distance upstream.

Micoud Beach Site (MI-1)

Because we were already in the area we revisited the Micoud Beach site on May 5th. The site is on the beach at the foot of the bluff overlooking downtown Micoud. The area is heavily disturbed by burials in the town cemetery. The freshly dug graves are covered with sand that is full of sherds. In addition, a lot of Amerindian materials were observed on the margins of the cemetery where debris of all ages had been cleared away from the graves. A surface collection was made, including one sherd with a lug and one large rim decorated by thin, parallel incision.

Patti and Ben

Patti Yamane and Ben Castricone battle the clay.

Massacré Site (MI-4) and Lascalle Point (MI-12)

The crew moved on to relocate the Massacré site (May 5th). On the way to the site we observed a few small sherds on Lascalle Point (MI-12). The point is very eroded and exposed, and there was very little material on the surface.

The Massacré site is located in the inland part of the bay between Micoud Point and the protruding point north of it. The site has been dramatically disturbed as a result of sand mining. A lot of ceramic material is exposed in an area where a deep depression has been dug by sand miners. No shell or other faunal remains were found. The material is thought to continue outside this dug out area. However, nothing was visible on the surface, and any site material is probably buried under sandy coastal sediments. The complete dimensions of the site are not clear. There is a dirt track leading to the site from the west and to the west of the surface scatter in the mined area, the area has been bulldozed. The location matches McKusick's (1960) description of a "lagoon," which is actually a small river bordering the site to the north. The open area is about 40-100 m with the North-South axis longer. A surface collection of rims and other diagnostic ceramics were made from this dug out area.

It is not clear where McKusick (1960) excavated his test units. He noted that some 50 units were excavated north and south of a "gully." We did identify what we think is his gulley to the southeast of the sand mining area. However, we cannot be certain that this is the gully to which he was referring.

Micoud Point Site (MI-5)

We continued our May 5th survey to the northeastern side of Micoud Point. On the north side of the point we made a collection of nicely flaked honey-colored and red chert. These flakes are similar as to those collected at the Saltibus Point site (MI-10). This side of Micoud Point is also exposing heavily eroded ceramics. When we revisited the site on May 11th we found that the sherds are coming from the top of Micoud Point. The point is very exposed to the easterly trade winds and has little soil.

Bill and Ben

Bill Keegan and Ben Castricone examine sherds on Pointe des Canelles.

Pointe des Canelles Site (MI-6)

Also on May 5th we went to the Pointe des Canelles site. Here we found a site, but it appears to be heavily eroded as well. The point looks very much like Saltibus Point. It is covered with grass and there is a lot of cactus on the northeast end of the point where pre-Columbian pottery was found and collected from the surface. The sherds are along the cliff edge where they have eroded out. There does not appear to be much topsoil left. A small collection of surface material was made here. We also checked the southwestern corner of the point, which is where McKusick (1960) said the site was located, but we found nothing there. It should be noted that the cliff here is very high and there is an extensive shallow tidal pool area at the end of the point. The tidal pool should be exceptional for collecting mollusks.

Troumassée Site (MI-3)

The Troumassée site is one of the most important in the West indies. It is from this site that the category of pottery classification for all of the Lesser Antilles was defined (see Rouse 1992). Because this "Troumassoid series" is not well-defined in the literature, we felt that it was important to re-examine the site and to better describe the materials that are present.

We first visited the Troumassée site on May 5th. It is largely situated in a banana plantation so it is likely that most of the site has been disturbed to a depth of 40 cmbs. The site is rather large. We did not attempt to measure the dimensions of the site because the surface scatter likely does not match the distribution of subsurface deposits. There is a dense scatter of sherds among the banana plants to the south of the road. A surface collection was made, mainly consisting of rims. A lot of the rims are outward thickened and unmodified. One zoned-incised-crosshatch (ZIC) decorated sherd (although the ZIC decoration is rather coarse), one sherd decorated by parallel incision, and numerous red slipped sherds were collected. After walking over the site we decided to conduct test excavations. We waited until we could obtain permission to excavate the site, and ended our initial survey.

We returned to the site on May 7th and excavated test units in order to collect stratigraphic information about the site deposits. We start to excavate three 1x1-m units that are oriented to the north. The southwestern corner has been marked with pink flagging tape and this point was positioned with GPS or a Total Station laser theodolite (TS). Unit 1 was excavated by Castricone and Gezon; unit 2 by Yamane, Stortreon, and de Waal; and unit 3 by Keegan, Hofman, and Hoffman. The units were excavated by 10-cm arbitrary levels and was dry screened on ¼" mesh hardware cloth.

Because hardly any pre-Columbian material was found subsurface during the excavation of these units we abandoned this strategy, and adopted the strategy described by McKusick (1960). It is clear from his notes that he was digging features and that he located these features by digging shallow test units in the irrigation ditches between the bananas. He reported that the features (including burials and ashy layers) were easily distinguished because they were 'humus' while the surrounding soil was clay. We found no evidence for features like those described by McKusick despite digging 4 small shovel tests in the western ditch, 18 shovel tests in the middle ditch, and 3 shovel tests in the eastern ditch. Soil from these shovel tests was not screened. The shovel tests were separated by 2-m intervals, and all had clay soils with hardly any pre-Columbian material at all. At this point the excavation was stopped. It should be noted that the site is above an oxbow lake and that the river runs along the northeast side of the site. The Troumassée River North site is visible from this site.

We returned to the Troumassée site again on May 11th, this time with Mr. Eric Branford. Mr. Branford reported that McKusick (1960) had excavated closer to the river than we had, and that a large portion of the site has since been washed into the river It seems that there is little reason to initiate large-scale excavations at the site. However, additional testing is important to gain a clearer understanding of the site. Our observations, and McKusick's notes, indicated that he was working in a settlement area. Moreover, the fact that he excavated features indicates that the ceramics he described may not be characteristic of the total ceramic inventory for this site or time period

Pointe de Caille (MI-10)

Pointe de Caille was visited on May 7th. We made a thorough survey of this very large and beautiful plateau. The Point is covered in dense grass so it is only possible to look for artifacts along the exposed and eroded perimeter. Despite complete coverage the only pre-Columbian material that was found was a small red chert flake and 1 sherd that were front of Troys' house near the top of the point.

Warren's site

Corinne Hofman, Warren Stortroen, and Robert Hoffman near "Warren's site".

Anse l'Islet Site (MI-11), North of Anse l'Islet Site (MI-7), East of Anse l'Islet Site (MI-8), Pointe l'Islet Site (MI-9)

The beach at Anse l'Islet was visited on May 7th. Warren discovered a site in the mangrove swamp behind this beach. This site is located north of Pointe de Caille. It is limited to the west by the mangrove area. to the south by a creek, and the ocean is approximately 300 m to the east. Surface material consists of pre-Columbian pottery sherds and fragments of West Indian Top Shell (Cittarium pica) and Queen Conch(Strombus gigas).

We returned to the site on May 8th, to conduct shovel testing. A total of 6 small shovel tests (approximately 50 cm sq.) were made in a line to the northeast. Soil from the units was dry screened on ¼" mesh hardware cloth. Unfortunately, the soil matrix is so compact and sticky that it really involved squeezing the mud to find hard objects. The first 2 shovel tests were located in the mangrove area; the other 4 in the open grass area south of it. Surface visibility was poor due to the dense grass cover, and therefore a systematic surface survey was not possible. Distances between units are approximately 10 m (unit 1 to 2), 7 m (unit 2 to 3), 8 m (unit 3 to 4), 10 m (unit 4 to 5) and 8 m (unit 5 to 6). Only a few sherds were found in the units closest to the mangroves.

We also made a surface survey of the entire area. The distribution of cultural material was rather vague. An isolated surface find was made on top of a small elevated point bordering the mangrove area, north of the Anse l'Islet site. A shovel test at this spot demonstrated that more pre-Columbian ceramic material had been deposited here. This concentration, which is actually an extremely small find-spot, has been labeled MI-7. In total, 3 small shovel tests (approximately 50 cm sq.) were excavated at this isolated find spot, but only the first contained artifacts. Dirt from the units was dry screened on ¼" mesh hardware cloth.

Another small surface concentration was found on Pointe l'Islet (MI-9). This consisted of heavily weathered pre-Columbian potsherds and lithic flakes and small flake cores of red and honey-colored chert. A surface collection was made. The concentration is rather small and the finds are dispersed. It is not clear whether artifacts are located on the plateau or on the Pointe itself because surface visibility is not sufficient to check this. Small shovel tests or auger tests should be made to get an idea of the layouts of these sites.

Finally, a small concentration (MI-8), consisting exclusively of 4 small pre-Columbian pottery sherds, was identified. This concentration is located very close to the dirt track leading to Pointe l'Islet. It is east from the Anse l'Islet site (MI-11). The material found at this location was collected.

laying out grid

Menno Hoogland lays out the grid at Morne Lezard.

Morne Lezard Site (LA-1)

We were invited to visit the site of Morne Lezard on the property of Mr. Bernard. This property was formerly part of the Balenbouche Estate. The site was previously reported because a large number of ground-stone axes were found in the field when it was planted in potatoes (Jesse 1960). We went to the site on May 9th and were shown where the stone axes in the family's collection had been found. The site is located on flat terrain above the Balenbouche River along which petroglyphs have been found. A total of 18, 50 cm sq. test units were excavated on an approximate 10-m grid. The locations of the SW corners of the shovel tests were measured simultaneously by TS. The shovel tests were excavated until a layer of compact, almost impenetrable clay was reached, and in which no finds were made. Soil from the units was dry screened on ¼" mesh hardware cloth. For some of the units, bulk samples were taken in order to wet-screen those on finer mesh sieves (1-mm). A substantial number of very small red and honey-color chert flakes were recovered, along with a few blade tools, and a number of hammerstones. The scatter covers an extensive area, although we were able to distinguish an area with higher concentrations of materials.

Saltibus Point (MI-10) [Pointe de Caille]

A careful examination of the map of the south coast of St. Lucia reveals a very large point that has two heads separated by a small bay. The northern of these points is called pointe de Caille, while the southern is labelled Saltibus Point. A large and very rich archaeological site was discovered many years ago on the southern point (see Jesse 1960). For some reason, the site was called the "Pointe de Caille site" despite the fact it is located on Saltibus Point. It is not our intention to confuse the issue, rather we feel it is important to correct any misperceptions due to place names. After several visits to Saltibus Point we decided to return here to do testing in one of the areas excavated by the Austrian team. The units excavated by their 1983 and 1984 excavation teams were relocated and measured by TS (as far as the units could be retraced in the field). These include trench 12 (consisting of 4 smaller units) and S4 and S11. In addition, one other obvious rectangular disturbance, situated to the east of S4 and S11, was recorded. This might have been one of McKusick's (1960) units. The location of unit 1, which we started to excavate today, was measured by TS. In addition, 2 locations at integer coordinates for 1x1-m units to be excavated in the future are positioned more to the northeastern part of the site. These are located next to each other, in order to allow excavation of a 1x2-m unit.

excavating test unit 1

Maaike and Warren excavating test unit #1.

A 1 x 1-m unit was excavated in 10-cm levels using trowels and finer tools. Unit 1 is immediately to the west of Trench 12, excavated by the Austrian archaeological team in 1983 and 1984. The unit is located in the midden area and it is extremely rich in material, including pottery, shell, bone and lithics. Soil from the units was dry screened on ¼"mesh hardware cloth. In some of the deeper levels, sea water was used to wet screen the clay matrix. The aim of the excavation is to investigate the geological and archaeological stratigraphy represented in the section excavated by the Austrian team. A drawing of the stratigraphy was published in their 1986 report (Friesinger 1986). We also wanted to obtain faunal remains for analysis. The soil of the two upper levels is very dark brown, almost black, and consists of very compact clayey sand. We decided to wet the surface of each level in order to facilitate excavation and to prevent damage to artifacts through heavy troweling.

Two levels were excavated on May 10th. At a depth of 25 cmbd, a complete unidentified ceramic object was discovered. It is a Y-shaped object with rounded sides and 'ears'. Later, a similar fragment was found. At a depth of 25 cmbd, a large fragment of human bone was found, which might be part of a femur. This fragment of human bone came out of the north section, and it is at 20 cm from the west section. Some large turtle bone fragments were located very close to these human skeletal remains. At 28 cmbd, a Strombus gigas celt was found. In addition, a Strombus gigas pick and several Cittarium pica "scoops" were found. However, not all of the scoops have smooth edges and thus may simply reflect breakage and not tool manufacture. There was also a very large Helmet shell (Cassis sp.)

In general, it can be remarked that the find density in the upper levels of the unit is rather high. Several large fragments from a tripod bowl that can be crossmended were found. Pottery sherds are very large in the upper level and they articulate along break lines, which indicates very little trampling. Large flat griddle fragments, a deeply incised triangular sherd, and a Caliviny sherd with concentric black paint were also found. Bones included a lot of sea turtles, a rodent jaw, a large bird femur, parrotfish, reef fish and what appears to be bonefish. Separate faunal samples will be taken to be wet-screened on 1-mm mesh screens, as soon as the complete unit has been excavated and documented. Stone includes basalt flakes, red chert flakes, and round balls from the beach. There is a very strange pointed piece of what appears to be rubber or plastic. Shell includes a variety of mangrove species (Oysters, Melongena melongena), rocky intertidal species (Astrea sp., Chitons., Cittarium pica and Nerita sp.) and sea-grass species (Strombus gigas, Strombus alatus and Lucina pectinata) (see Mauser 1995).

Saltibus Point

Maaike and Patti at Saltibus Point.

De Waal, Stortreon, and Gezon continued the excavation of unit 1 on May 11th. Levels 3 (30-40 cmbd), 4 (40-50 cmbd) and 5 (50-60 cmbd) were excavated. A rim fragment with an anthropomorphic adorno was found at a depth of 36 cmbd. This fragment was located in the southeastern part of the unit where most of yesterday's large fragments had been found. At 43 cmbd a rim fragment with a complete handle was found. Its deepest part was at 49-cm depth. A large fauna fragment, which might be a manatee bone, was found at a depth of 47 cmbd and its deepest part was at 50 cmbd. From level 5 onwards, the unit starts to contain far less material. The fauna material is getting particularly scarce when compared to higher levels. The soil appears to be less compact than in levels 1 and 2. probably because these levels have dried out.

On May 12th, de Waal, Yamane, and Gezon continued the excavation of unit 1 at Saltibus Point. Level 6 was completed. This level contains much more material than expected. Among these were a spindle whorl fragment, a body stamp fragment and a shell inlay shaped like a set of teeth (cut and shaped shell pieces were inserted into wooden and stone statues to reresent eyes and teeth. The soil in level 6 starts to be more compact than the layers above, which makes excavation harder, although screening remained relatively easy.

On May 13th, the crew went to Saltibus Point to continue excavation of unit 1. A total of 3 levels were dug. These hardly contained any artifacts and the soil became more clayey while descending. Levels 7 and 8 are full of archaeological material but nothing spectacular was encountered. There was a broken Strombus gigas celt in level 7. The soil at level 8 is looser and grayer but not light gray. A cut limpet was found in this level. The rim of a large bowl was found along the east wall in the southeastern part of the unit. Level 9 was virtually empty. There is a small oval feature in the middle of the unit close to the west wall that appears to be a crab burrow. Excavation was stopped at 100 cmbd.

Hoogland, de Waal, and Stortroen excavated a small strip (approximately 20-cm wide) in front of the north section on May 14th. Because these layers proved to be sterile, it was decided not to excavate them levels for the complete unit even though bedrock had not been reached. The north section was photographed, drawn and described. The upper layer consists of very dark gray (10YR;3/2) compact sandy clay with many complete shells, shell and coral fragments and a lot of ceramic fragments, lithics, and faunal remains. The underlying layer is very dark gray (7.5YR;3/1) sandy clay, which is less compact than the uppermost layer and the layer beneath the present one. This layer still contains a lot of archaeological material. The lowest layer consists of very dark gray (10YR;3/1) compact heavy clay, with almost no finds. This lowest layer exposes 3 feature-like areas that are yellowish-brown (10YR;5/6) compact heavy clay without finds.

Hoogland and Keegan returned to the site on the morning of May 15th to collect 20-liter (20 cc) bulk samples from the southwest wall. Individual samples were collected for every 10-cm level for faunal analysis. The excavation unit was closed and backfilled. Later, the samples were wet-screened to remove the soil, dried, and a preliminary sorting was made.

Survey from Saltibus Point to Vieux Fort - Burgot Point Site (VF-2), St. Urbaine Ravine Site (VF-1), Club Med Site (VF-3)

In order to gain a clearer understanding of possible Amerindian settlements between Saltibus Point and Vieux Fort, we decided to undertake a walkover survey. On May 13th, Keegan and Castricone surveyed south toward Vieux Fort into the mangrove area known generally as Savannes Bay. They encountered severe problems trying to traverse this area. Just south of the beach the mangroves are impenetrable and they had to return to Saltibus Point. In one area of the mangroves many of the same mollusks as in the Saltibus Point site was encountered. No Amerindian sites were found.

View Fort

View towards Vieux Fort from Savannes Bay Nature Reserve.

On May 14th, Keegan continued this survey alone. This time he started to the south of the impenetrable mangroves just beyond where he and Castricone had stopped the day before. The mangrove area up to Burgot Point was difficult to traverse because the area is densely overgrown. Nothing was found until Burgot Point was reached. The seaward side of Burgot Point was thoroughly searched but no artifacts were observed. But on the highest point on the hill, a Strombus tool and a chert flake were found (VF-2). To the west of the high point there is a saddle between two hills. A road has been cut through here and there are Strombus and Cittarium pica shells and Elkhorn coral scattered on the surface of the road. Several sherds were found as well, including a Troumassée B rim and a cylindrical pot leg. The road seems to go right through the site because material was observed washing out on both sides of the road. A surface collection was made.

Keegan walked completely around the lagoon south of Burgot Point but nothing was found. This area is very disturbed. A canal has been dug on the north side and there are bulldozer piles of earth near the beach. There is another hill to the south of the lagoon. The only named geographic feature in this area is the St. Urbaine ravine (VF-1) so the site was given this name. On top of the hill 2 pre-Columbian sherds and numerous colonial sherds were discovered and collected. No dense deposit was found. A couple of shell and coral fragments were observed as well. From the hill he descended to the beach that is very narrow with dense mangroves to the west. Nothing was found here. A lot of crab activity was observed along the beach but no evidence of pre-Columbian activity. The survey continued on to Club Med. The dirt road was recently bulldozed so the survey progressed along a road to the west of Club Med. There was nothing along the road. The Club Med compound was entered near the small building on the beach with the blue roof. Nothing was found until the building that has children's play sets was reached. Behind this building a single sherd was found on the dirt road (VF-03). There was nothing else visible in the area, but the compound is landscaped. A security guard made an end to the explorations at the Club Med property and the survey was ended here.

Collections Research

On May 15th Hofman, Hoogland, de Waal, and Keegan met with Eric Branford at the collections repository at Vigie. We were assisted in the collections by Carola Wala. It was during this visit that we first fully realized how extensive the Austrian's investigations were. The collection is extremely well curated, and contains a wealth on information for the Saltibus Point site. We also learned that the Austrian's are in the process of publishing a four-volume work on their studies in St. Lucia. It would make no sense to do additional work at Saltibus Point until their final report has been published.

GPS unit

Jochem Lesparre with GPS unit.

GPS Survey

While the rest of team was conducting archaeological surveys and excavations, Hoogland and Lesparre conducted the mapping and GPS survey. The reference GPS receiver was positioned on the roof of our apartment. The first two reference points points were near the lighthouse (DOS104) and on the jetty of the container harbor (T1). The next two points are located on remote hilltops (DCS40 and DCS17). Because the way to the points is now known they managed to incorporate another point (DOS147). They also visited the reference point in Choiseul (DCS10). From these reference points Hoogland and Lesparre were able to exactly locate all of our survey and excavation points in terms of the local grid and WGS84.


Although most of the sites that we investigated during this project were known previously (Jesse 1960), this expedition provided us with the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the archaeology of St. Lucia. Moreover, the GPS mapping of the sites provides a more detailed record of their locations that will be invaluable in future efforts to protect the cultural heritage of the island. In addition, the information collected will be of great use in creating a national database of archaeological sites.

At the outset it should be noted that a number of excellent archaeological investigations have been conducted on the island in the past (see Jesse 1960; McKusick 1960). The work by the team from the University of Vienna was of the highest quality, and the curation of materials from their excavations, which are housed at Vigie, was outstanding. We look forward the publication of their final report.

Maaike and Bob

Maaike with Bob Gezon at Anse l'Islet.

Several conclusions are immediately apparent. First, there is a definite tendency for windward sites in St. Lucia to be located on points extending into the sea. These points are comprised of broad plateaus above high cliffs. It is surprising that relatively fewer sites are located on the flat lands and coastal dunes close to river mouths and sand beaches. This unual pattern demands further attention. Second, many of the sites are in very bad condition due to historical intrusions (e.g., roads, house construction, plantations) and severe erosion. To a large degree, the integrity of pre-Columbian sites has been compromised. Third, the lithic workshop at Morne Lezard presently is unique in the Windward Islands. The site is extremely interesting in that it contains very small flakes of red and honey-colored chert. The size of the flakes, averaging about 4 mm, suggests that retouched tools were being manufactured. Very few retouched tools have been identified in the West Indies. Our investigations delimited the boundaries of the main concentration of lithic flakes, but further research is warranted. Finally, it was surprising to learn that the type site for the Troumassoid series (Rouse 1992), was composed entirely of pit features. Because features are used for special purposes they often produce a very different collection of materials than do excavations in middens or surface areas. It is clear that this ceramic type requires further study.

In conclusion, the project provided a great deal of information about sites along the southeast coast of St. Lucia. It is clear that additional research is needed, both in the field and in existing collections. We look forward to conducting addition investigations on the island, and to helping the AHS celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2004. We plan to continue fieldwork in St. Lucia for years to come, with a focus on completing a survey of the entire island.


This project would not have been possible without the extraordinary contributions of our volunteers and staff. Ben Castricone, Patti Yamane, Bob Gezon, Robert Hoffman, and Warren Stortroen were invaluable volunteers. In addition to Dr. Ben's never ending bag of tricks, he also provided site coordinates with his hand-held GPS as well as photographs of several sites and numerous artifacts. As we learned, don't leave home without him! (But make sure Patti's along to remind him where he put everything!!). Thanks to Robert for driving endlessly as we searched for roads that were never exactly where they appeared on the map. Bob Gezon is responsible for most of the photos, including the sunset below. If you borrow any of his pictures please give him photo credit. Maaike de Waal was the graduate assistant for the survey and excavation components of the project, and was also responsible for daily record keeping. Jochem Lesparre was the project surveyor. The troops endured difficult field conditions with good cheer. One thing we hadn't counted on was that this was summer in St. Lucia -- at noon the sun was directly overhead.

We are also extremely grateful to Eric Branford for helping to arrange this project, and for all of his assistance in the field. It was a real pleasure working with the St. Lucia Archaeological and Historical Society and their President Mrs. Fortuna Anthony. Mr. Terry Bernard and his father provided access to the Morne Lezard site, and were very gracious hosts. We are also grateful to the women at Balembouche Estate for their hospitality. Jolene Harmsen provided good company and sound advice concerning local operations in Vieux Fort. Also, Carola Wala was extremely helpful during our visit to the archaeological collections at Vigie. She has also been instrumental in putting us in contact with our colleagues at the University of Vienna.

Finally, Keegan is most appreciative of the support received from the Florida Association of Voluntary Agencies for Caribbean Action for supporting the cultural heritage workshop at the Auberge Seraphin. He learned a great deal from all of the participants in the workshop, and is heartened by government efforts to strengthen heritage management in St. Lucia.



AHS (1973). Proceedings of the Fourth International Congress for the Study of Pre-Columbian Cultures of the Lesser Antilles. Castries, St. Lucia.

Bullen, Adelaide K. and Ripley P. Bullen (1968). Two strategraphic tests at the Grand Anse Site, St. Lucia. In The Amerindians in St. Lucia (Iouanalao), Revd. C. Jesse (ed.), pp. 24-41, The Voice Publishing Company, Castries.

Friesinger, H., E. Reuer, F. Steininger and P. Faupl., (1986). Grabungen und Forschungen auf St. Lucia 1984. Mitteilungen der Prähistorischen Kommission der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Band XXIII. Vienna.

Jesse, C., Revd. (1960). The Amerindians in St. Lucia (Iouanalao). The Voice Publishing Company, Castries. Second revised edition, 1968.

McKusick, Marshall (1960). Distribution of ceramic styles in the Lesser Antilles, West Indies. Ph.D. dissertation, Yale University.

Mauser, Mag. Elfriede (1995). Untersuchungen über Ernährungsstrategien der präkolumbianischen Siedlung von pointe de Caille, St. Lucia, West Indies, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Mollusken. Dissertation, Fakultät der Universität Wien.

Rouse, Irving (1992). The Tainos. Yale University Press, New Haven.

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