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The University of Southampton
ArchaeologyPart of Humanities

Research project: NEVIS heritage project

Currently Active: 

In 1995, the Government of St Kitts-Nevis in the Leeward Islands announced that it would begin to develop the Newcastle Airport on Nevis in response to demand from increasing tourism and general economic growth in the Caribbean.

Preserving the island's history

The plans indicated that all structures in the village of Newcastle would be demolished to facilitate this development. One unusual building which fell directly within the line of the extended runway was the Redoubt, an English colonial fortification. In response to this threat, a small team of researchers organised by Archaeology at the University of Southampton was quickly assembled to conduct a structural survey and archaeological excavation of the building with the aim to preserve the memory of this remnant of the historical past by archive records and photographs. The Nevis Heritage Project was created out of that experience.

The Nevis Heritage Project aims:

  • to investigate the prehistoric and historic physical and social landscapes of Nevis as a sample of human history in the Lesser Antilles of the Eastern Caribbean prior to the destruction of that history by natural and human agencies
  • to disseminate information about the heritage of Nevis (and St Kitts) through a variety of publications and other media such as radio, television, exhibitions, internet
  • to train undergraduate and postgraduate students of history and archaeology in the methods needed to research the heritage of this island
  • to involve Nevisian schoolchildren, teachers, citizens and visitors in exploring the heritage of Nevis

The goals of the Nevis Heritage Project are:

  • to raise awareness of the remarkable prehistory and history of this tiny island amongst not only the citizens of the Federation of St Kitts-Nevis but also archaeologists and historians around the world
  • to provide an impetus to make Nevis heritage a significant factor in tourism revenue
  • to encourage government to improve heritage legislation and respect for the past as part of the future prosperity of the islands
  • to help train the next generation of Caribbean archaeologists and heritage managers
  • to begin the process of establishing a community heritage officer for Nevis

Related research groups

Archaeological Prospection Service of Southampton (APSS)
Classical and historical archaeology
Social prehistory
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