Kathryn E. Bequette
AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL RECONNAISSANCE OF THE ANCHORAGE, SEAWALLS, AND SHIPWRECKS WITHIN ORANJE BAY, ST. EUSTATIUS, NETHERLANDS ANTILLES.
(Under the direction of Gordon P. Watts, Jr.) Department of History, September 1992.
The purpose of this study is to document archaeologically the extent of the historic anchorage at St. Eustatius, to locate and identify submerged cultural material within Oranje Bay, and to accurately map identified resources. Research methodology includes establishing a permanent datum point on shore to facilitate controls for work underwater, visual surveys of the harbor, a magnetometer survey of Oranje Bay, conducting test excavations outside the confines of shipwreck structures, and a general examination and assessment of submerged cultural resources. Using a grant from the College of William and Mary and the St. Eustatius government the author, accompanied by an underwater archaeologist from the Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology in Curacao and an underwater archaeologist from the University of Puerto Rico, surveyed Oranje Bay during the 1982, 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1988 summer field seasons.
With a boat, survey equipment, and diving gear, the project staff surveyed Oranje Bay in June and July, 1982 and 1985 to form a basic knowledge of the harbor. During this time the confines of the historic anchorage was established. The 1986 work centered on a magnetometer survey of the harbor to identify additional submerged cultural material. 1987 and 1988 field season focused on mapping shipwrecks, photographic documentation, and excavation work.
The historical background produces an overall view of Caribbean trade and St. Eustatius' involvement in this commerce. The author carried out historical research in conjunction with the reconnaissance investigations at Oranje Bay to support assessment of the archaeological record. The development of a synopsis of the history of St. Eustatius using available primary and secondary sources will provide a context for archaeological interpretation.