Formed early in 2010, The Nevis Maritime Archaeology Group is dedicated to the preservation and study of Nevis`s priceless and irreplaceable archaeological heritage. The Nevis Maritime Archaeology Group consists of resident and overseas experts in several scientific and academic disciplines, including but not limited to, maritime and terrestrial archaeology, underwater mapping and surveying, historical research and marine biology. The NMA also includes senior members of the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) in an oversight and consultancy capacity.
Working in conjunction with experts from Texas A&M University, San Jose State University, University of Bristol, Finger Lakes Community College, Envision Mapping UK Ltd, The Nevis Historical & Conservation Society, The Nesoi Foundation, the University of Southampton and others, the NMA endeavours to bring together a truly multi-disciplinary approach to maritime archaeology and environmental science.
Nevis`s location in the central portion of the Eastern Caribbean gave it a front row seat to the emergence of the European and later America powers in the 17th & 18th centuries within the region. Indeed Nevis played a pivotal role in the development of the global sugar industry, bore witness to the horror and injustice of the slave trade, and was front and center for the frequent conflicts between the French, Dutch, Spanish and British Empires; Pirates and privateers too, were not unknown in our waters.
Surprisingly given our rich cultural and historic past, very little off-shore research has been conducted around the island and for this reason, a major part of our mission is to conduct a full and comprehensive survey of Nevis`s coastal waters. By using the latest in marine sensor equipment including, magnetometers, side-scan sonar, sub-surface profilers, towed video cameras, ROV`s and scuba.
These ongoing surveys are intended to not only uncover previously unknown archaeological sites but also to build up a comprehensive database of our sea bed habitats, including coral reefs, turtle grass beds, volcanic vent area and other environmental niche regions. This information in turn can be used to create detailed maps that are invaluable for use in designating National Parks, Marine Protected Areas (MPA`s), critical fisheries habitats, such as nursery areas, and of course special areas of cultural significance such as wreck sites.
*St. Kitts & Nevis signed the UNESCO Convention December 2009
Banner Photo: ‘Repulse of the French at Frigate Bay St Kitts, 26 January 1782’. Date 1783. Artist Thomas Maynard (1777-1812)