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Department of Archaeology


This project integrates maritime archaeology, history, geophysical survey and anthropology to investigate illicit trade between the Caribbean islands St. Eustatius, Saba, St. Thomas, St. Bartholomew and St. Maarten from 1816 to c.1840 with the aim of understanding:

-The entanglements between international, regional and local factors that drove these islands to engage in illicit trade.

-How these islands functioned together as a network for illicit trade, smuggling and laundering, the processes involved, and how long it occurred.

-The dialectics between the acquisition of these illicit goods, consumption of these goods, and race, class, and gender; as a means to understand who purchased illicit goods, why they took these legal risks and how it scaled according to race/class/gender, and who fulfilled these demands as pirates, privateers, smugglers, and illegal slave traders.

- Archaeological evidence of these activities, via maritime surveys with deep-water side scan sonar, multibeam side scan sonar, and a remotely-operated vehicle.

- How illicit trade from this period informs the ‘theories of piracy’ proposed by scholars in the 21st century.


Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Researcher (MCIF) scheme, Horizon 2020

Team Members

Supervisor - Paul Lane

Project Tags

Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Material Culture
Periods of interest: 
Geographical areas: 
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Socio-Politics of the Past
Archaeological Theory
Computational and Quantitative Archaeology
Heritage Management
Environmental Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, and Landscape studies
Cultural Heritage
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