Explore the sites

Map of the islands showing the estates of New River, Jessups and The Spring

Slavery was fundamental to the creation of the early-modern Atlantic system and the historical trajectories of societies that comprised it, trajectories that would lead to the world we inhabit today. This fact has placed slavery at the forefront of recent archaeological and historical studies of the early modern Atlantic World. There are two sources of primary evidence on which scholars can draw to understand the experience of enslaved people and the evolution of early-modern slave societies: the archaeological record and historical documents. Primary documents related to particular slave-based plantations and the societies they comprised are scattered in archives on both sides of the Atlantic. The archaeological record left behind by enslaved people lies buried on plantation sites in the New World.

The SKNDAI team, comprised of archaeologists and historians, chose to investigate slavery on three 18th-century sugar plantations that have significant archaeological and documentary resources: the Jessups and New River Estates on Nevis and The Spring Estate on St Kitts. Archaeologists conducted fieldwork at the villages in which enslaved labourers lived at these estates. Historians worked in the archives in the Caribbean and UK. Together they unearthed long buried artefacts and documents that shed light on the lives of the enslaved men and women who worked these plantations, as well as on the men and women who controlled their labour and lives.

The following sections provide a brief overview of each plantation. You are then invited to read more about the archaeological investigations at the slave villages at Jessups, New River, and The Spring, where hundreds of enslaved Africans lived. You'll see artefacts that were recovered from each village. You will be able to view and download the archaeological data from each site through the Explore the Archaeological Data section. You can also read about what we've learned about each plantation and the enslaved women and men who lived and worked on them. Visit the Explore the Documents page to view original primary sources related to slavery at each plantation.

Further information