The St. George’s Archaeological Research Project (S.GARP) began in 2008 as a cooperative agreement between the Bermuda National Trust (BNT) and Boston University (BU). Its aim was to create a single archaeological database for research within the historic preservation area of St. George’s, create and complete site reports for all projects conducted over the last thirty years, and coordinate future projects within the town. With the upcoming 400th anniversary of both the wreck of the Sea Venture in 2009 and the official founding of the Bermuda colony in 2012, archaeology remains a vital component to our understanding of St. George’s from both an academic and a cultural heritage perspective.
Archaeology in St. George’s began in 1973 with David Fleming’s work at the President Henry Tucker house on Water Street. In 1988 the Archaeological Research Committee of the Trust, a subcommittee of Preservation, was established. Since then the Bermuda National Trust has coordinated a majority of the archaeological research in the town with various universities, such as the College of William, Bristol University UK, and Boston University, as well as heritage foundations and companies such as the Colonial Williamsburg Department of Archaeological Research in the US and Ironbridge Archaeology in the UK. Since 1973 research has been undertaken on a wide variety of sites within the town and encompasses differing aspects of colonial life on Bermuda. The main challenge to understanding the varying excavated archaeological components in St. George’s is the fact that different researchers and institutions implemented different recording and cataloguing methods. Artefact catalogues, reports, and publications need to be completed for several of the research projects. S.GARP hopes to bring the thirty plus years of archaeology in St. George’s under a single research framework and bring all of the projects into the same artefact catalogue, report structure, as well as begin publishing the backlogged archaeological projects.
The S.GARP project has four overarching goals:
1. Conduct an audit of all archaeological material in the Bermuda National Trust Archaeology Lab in Reeve Court, St. George’s, cataloguing the artefacts into a single universal database.
2. Complete an archaeological report under a universal standard for the Bermuda National Trust collection.
3. Create a public website and database for the public and academic access to the archive.
4. Coordinate future archaeological research projects within St. George’s historic preservation area and its environs.