Jamaica National Heritage Trust -  Pedro Bank - Jamaica

About JNHT- Archaeology at the JNHT

Archaeology is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains from our past.

The Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) is the agency responsible for regulating all archaeological research in Jamaica. This includes public archaeology projects, salvage/rescue archaeology, archaeological impact assessments and research on major development projects. The Archaeology Division at the JNHT practices collection management of artifacts and conservation to stabilize and extend the life of the artifacts. It also maintains a National Inventory of Historical and Archaeological Sites. The JNHT now has a complement of 8 archaeologists and cultural resource managers.

The Core Activities of the Archaeological Division include :

  • Identification, inventory, assessment, research, interpretation and monitoring of archaeological sites and objects
  • Conducting Archaeological Impact Assessments (AIA) of proposed developments nationwide
  • Conducting arcaheological research projects with national, regional and international partners
  • Conservation and protection of moveable and immovable objects
  • Maintenance of a national inventory of archaeological and historical sites
  • Maintenance of a GIS data base of sites
  • Maintenance of a data base of archaeological objects, photos,
  • Participating in the development of a National Heritage Information system
  • Maintaining national, regional and international networks on conservation, preservation and protection of archaeological sites, monuments and objects.

Major Archaeological Projects in Jamaica

Modern Archaeology in Jamaica began with excavation of the White Marl Taino Site in 1947 by Robert Howard. He published the first scientific study of the pre-history of Jamaica. Other major archaeological projects include: English archaeologist Phillip Mayes' excavations in the Old Naval Dockyard in Port Royal; Texas A&M/INA and the JNHT's underwater excavations on the sunken city of Port Royal; The excavation of the African Jamaican Village at Seville in St. Ann and the Simon Frazer's University/JNHT's excavation of the Spanish Sugar Mill and Stone Masons Workshop, St. Ann.

Stages of Archaeological Research

Pre Excavation

  • Desk Based Assessment (Archival Research)
  • Archaeological Brief
  • Archaeological Appraisal (Reconnaissance Field Walk)


  • Clearing of site
  • Laying of grids 1 m x 1m
  • Digging of test pits
  • Retrieval and labeling of artifacts
  • Recording stratigraphy of pits and other features
  • Geographical Information System
  • Photography

Post Excavation

  • Processing of Artifacts
  • Recording
  • Washing/cleaning
  • Inventorizing
  • Illustrating
  • Photography
  • Analysis
  • Conservation

Preparation of Report

  • Archaeological Evaluation Report
  • Archaeological Impact Assessment (AIA)


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