Land Archaeology

Land-based archaeology documents, analyses and interprets what humans have left behind—objects, structures, changes in the landscape, and layers of debris, including ‘trash’. Through scientific examination, historical ‘rubbish’ can reveal the intimate details of daily life that are not always found in the written record. Archaeology involves surveying, mapping and excavating historic sites in conjunction with archival research. Archaeologists interpret the relationships that are revealed between layers of soil, rubble and artifacts and features in the landscape. Building construction, architectural design, date of construction, duration of use, and function, as well as the status and occupation of those associated with the site can all be revealed through archaeology.

Bermuda’s human history dates back to early shipwreck victims in the early 1500s. There was no indigenous population so most of the archaeological work carried out on the Island concentrates on the post-settlement period, beginning in 1612.

Museum Projects

Archaeology is central to the Museum’s work. Since the late 1980s the Museum has carried out land archaeology in partnership with overseas Universities and has also supported projects conducted by the Bermuda National Trust. Investigation of these heritage sites provides a glimpse of the social, economic, and political history of Bermuda and offers the community opportunities to learn more about local history and preserve local historical sites.

All archaeological data, finds and reports are held in trust at the Museum for the benefit of the public. The results are published in the Museum’s annual journal and in the members’ magazine, and the research underpins all exhibits and educational programming.

Land Archaeology Project Timeline