Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Frederick Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Pamela Stone

Third Advisor

Dr. Catherine Julien

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


In 1996 and 1999 two previously unknown graveyards were discovered in separate sections of Bridgetown, Barbados. Emergency excavations of the sites recovered the skeletal material of at least thirty-two (MNI=32) individuals as well as a number of grave goods. While the artifacts were from the historical period there was continuing speculation as to the ancestry of the individuals interred within these graveyards. During the summer of 2004 the first preliminary osteological analysis of the skeletal material was conducted to identify the biological characteristics, including the ancestral affiliation, of these individuals. The analysis determined that the individuals interred at these sites were of African ancestry and were most likely part of Bridgetown's enslaved population. While archaeologists have previously investigated the lives of enslaved peoples in Barbados using skeletal evidence from Newton Plantation, a rural sugar estate in the parish of Christ Church, the materials from the Bridgetown are the first of their kind and are beginning to shed new light on urban slave life.