The pre-historic people’s of Antigua fall into two distinct groups: the Archaic Age (2000BC-600BC) and later Ceramic Age (600 BC-1400AD). Since neither of these cultures left any written material detailing their lives, archaeologists have to reconstruct their life through excavation and analysis of the things they left behind. Antigua and Barbuda offers a large number of these Amerindian sites for research and investigation.
Five pre-Columbian sites, one Archaic Age, three Early Ceramic Age, and one late Ceramic Age, are currently being investigated by archaeologists working out of the the Field Research Centre and the National Parks Authority Heritage Affairs Department.
Antigua was part of an important driver of the early modern British economy: sugar. The Heritage Affairs Department supports academics and interested researchers through contacts, permissions, and consultation. The Department also periodically undertakes its own excavations, usually when cultural material is found during construction or after a storm.
The Field Research Centre is dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge through multi-disciplinary field research. It provides workspace, storage, comparative collections, and logistical support for students and academics conducting field research on Antigua.
Knowledge gained is imparted to the public through publications, research bulletins, lectures and museum exhibits. Here, we can see a student volunteer upgrade some of the Museum’s main exhibits, imparting current information and displaying newly unearthed artifacts. Meanwhile, Centre archaeologists conduct preliminary analysis of recently excavated one thousand eight hundred year old Arawak pottery.