Archaeological Investigations at Cas en Bas

Archaeological Investigations at Cas en Bas

Members Answer the Call To Action

The Archaeological site at Cas en Bas, also called Anse Lavoutte, has from the 1960’s been identified as an important archaeological site, not only in Saint Lucia but in the Caribbean. The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) and the Saint Lucia Archaeological and Historical Society (A&HS) have been advocating since 2019 for the conduct of a thorough Archaeological investigation of this important site prior to development of the 300-acre site by Cabot (Saint Lucia). In May 2021, archaeologist, Dr. Reginald Murphy, returned to Saint Lucia continue his assessment of the site and the A&HS approached the SLNT for assistance with volunteers, to assist during this second phase of investigation from 14th – 28th May 2021.

More artefacts were unearthed during the archaeological dig in an area designated as the Archeological Priority Area (APA). In this phase of the investigation, members of the SLNT, A&HS and the public were able to get further insight into the historical importance of this site which is a possible first contact site between the Kalinago and the Europeans. During this dig, evidence of the Kalinago diet, their utensils and tools were found, as well as several decorative pieces of pottery. This second trip of Dr. Murphy was longer and allowed for some valuable and much needed interaction with the public, enabling them to convey their concerns in relation to the significant socio-cultural contribution of the area.

The SLNT is aware that due to time limitations, Dr. Murphy was only able to focus on a portion of the (APA) identified in the earlier Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report, and he was also unable to undertake investigations of other possible Kalinago settlement sites within the development area, including at Secret and Donkey beaches. We were however, pleased to have been able to work in partnership with the A&HS and we thank Dr. Reginald Murphy for ensuring that all volunteers were oriented in the investigation approach, for providing a wealth of information on the importance of documenting, protecting and promoting the unique history of the Caribbean Region and for providing basic training to two of our staff in ceramic identification and cataloging.

In accordance with our legal mandate, we look forward to receiving Dr. Murphy’s report from this second visit and to further consultation with the broad group of stakeholders to develop a sustainable future for this important heritage site, for the continued enjoyment and education of all. As such, in fulfillment of Saint Lucia’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and for the benefit of the State, we continue to urge the Government to work with the relevant referral agencies, developers and stakeholders to ensure that the areas of historical and archeological importance are properly defined, set aside and developed into places of learning and memory. We do hope that the Government hears our call to have this important archaeological site at Cas en Bas set aside as a Place of Learning and Memory, to serve as a place for education and reflection by residents and visitors alike. Its development as a Place of Learning and Memory has the potential to generate much interest, creating new and diverse opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship and interpretation, and would ensure that our unique history is not erased but safeguarded and promoted to tell the unfolding story of Saint Lucia.

We wish to thanks our members, members of the A&HS and the general public who volunteered their time to support this invaluable work.