Nevis, one of the first British colonies in the Caribbean, is very rich in archeological interest.

Teams of archeologists from the U.S. and Britain have, during recent years, examined many prehistoric and historic sites on Nevis, ranging from 2,000 year old settlements to 19th century plantations. Some of this work was featured in a well-received, two-part BBC “Time Team” television program in 1998.

The first settlers on Nevis, 2,000 years ago, were Amerindians who traveled up from what is now Venezuela, colonizing the Lesser Antilles as they went. Nevis was an easy place to settle, because there was a good supply of freshwater, and rich intertidal areas where fish and conch were a steady source of food. So Nevis became home to a succession of prehistoric Amerindian cultures, both pre-ceramic and ceramic, and they lived all around the island.

Prehistoric ceramic vessel handle from Nevis in the form of a head of an imaginary creature

By the time the first British settlers came to Nevis in the 17th century, the Amerindians were no longer there, but the new settlers themselves left an interesting archeological record. Jamestown, the original settlement, was supposedly destroyed by an earthquake and tidal wave in the late 1600s; the remnants of the old town are currently being investigated.

On Nevis, the archeological record of slavery and slave villages will likely turn out to be very complete, but research on those topics is still in its earliest stages. 

The 18th and 19th century plantation sites on Nevis also carry a full archeological record of times past, and in some cases there is surviving documentation and even photographs to back up the physical record.

For more information on the archeology of Nevis, specifically 'The Nevis Heritage Project', see: