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On July 18, 1995 the Soufriere Hills volcano erupted in the southern half of the Caribbean island of Montserrat, destroying the capital city of Plymouth and countless archaeological sites, and also forcing two-thirds of the island’s population of 12,000 to flee abroad. Since 1995 the volcano has remained active, dramatically transforming the "Emerald Isle's" landscape and causing Montserrat's remaining inhabitants to relocate and to rapidly develop new settlements in the northern portion of the island. This area is home to numerous significant prehistoric and historic archaeological remains, many of which are undocumented, but are now under threat from relocation and volcanic activity.
The Survey and Landscape Archaeology on Montserrat project (SLAM) involves a team of archaeologists from Brown University, Wayne State University, Boston University, and University College Dublin in collaboration with members of the local Montserrat community and the Montserrat National Trust. Krysta Ryzewski (Wayne State University) and John F. Cherry (Brown) are the project Co-Directors. In January 2010, SLAM began to record and map the standing structures and archaeological sites within the pedestrian-accessible non-exclusion zone using traditional and innovative survey methods. Archaeologists returned in 2011 to continue the initial phase of research and recovery.
SLAM has two aims: 1) to produce, from pedestrian survey and targeted excavations, a thorough inventory and chronology of archaeological sites in the non-exclusion zone, and to develop from this inventory (in collaboration with local cultural resource authorities) heritage management strategies; and 2) to examine the relationship between people on Montserrat and their environment over the course of the island's history. This interdisciplinary and diachronic research focus explores aspects of settlement, sustainability, environmental management, intercultural interaction, and risk awareness on Montserrat. GIS, landscape, archival, and artifact-based interpretations are generated through several collaborative relationships within and beyond the academic community. Dissemination practices include a range of presentation formats, publications, and exhibit preparations.
Questions: Please contact Krysta_Ryzewski(at)brown(dot)edu or John_Cherry(at)brown(dot)edu