Betty's Hope Antigua Archaeological Field School

Location: Antigua and Barbuda

Saturday, June 7, 2014 to Saturday, July 5, 2014

Session dates: 
June 7- July 5, 2014

Application Deadline: 
Friday, April 4, 2014

Program Type

Field school


California State University, Chico

Project Director:

Dr. Georgia L. Fox

Project Description


Welcome to the 2014 Betty’s Hope Antigua Archaeological Field School!

Join us this summer for an opportunity to work on the beautiful island of Antigua.

Betty's Hope Sugar Plantation

Betty's Hope Plantation, now in its eight year, is an award-winning field school as designated by the American Anthropological Association and the Register of Professional Archaeologists.  Our research questions concern multiple lines of inquiry, including: slave life and the African Diaspora, the site's spatial and human dynamics on the landscape, daily life on a sugar plantation, and the environmental impact of the plantocracy system at Betty's Hope and in the Eastern Caribbean region.  Betty’s Hope is unique in that it is the only sugar plantation on the island that has been undergoing full-scale excavations since 2007, and one of the few sugar plantations in the Eastern Caribbean with extant standing structures. Because we have graduate students involved, this makes for a full, well-rounded experience for all participants. As an island-based economy, sugar, the “green gold” of Antigua, profoundly affected the island, its peoples, and ecology, and was integral in the developing Atlantic World and slave trade of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The desire for sugar transformed the lives of those who worked the plantation, as well as those who consumed this commodity as part of their everyday lives and rituals.

Field School Activities

This summer our excavations at Betty’s Hope will concentrate on two main areas: the rum distillery, and the slave village, which was located during the summer of 2013.  The field school was developed to provide hands-on professional training in archaeological field work.  Students will be trained in:

  • How to set up and properly record excavation units and features.
  • Use of a total station to take elevations, mapping, and surveying.
  • Drawing features and profiles, and understanding the basic principles of stratigraphy.
  • Field methodology and excavation techniques.
  • Creating accurate and professional field notes.
  • Developing familiarity and knowledge of Antiguan and Caribbean archaeology.
  • Processing and cataloging archaeologically recovered materials.

Field school students will be assigned weekly readings that pertain to Caribbean colonial history and the methodologies of historical archaeology.

Daily and Weekly Schedule

Weekdays will comprise field work, Monday through Friday.  Students will also have the opportunity to hear evening lectures on Antigua’s prehistory and history.  Weekends will be devoted to field trips, exploring the island’s rich geography and history, points of interest, and trips to Antigua's lovely beaches. Participating in the field school will allow students to experience contemporary Caribbean culture and cuisine.  No previous experience is required, and we welcome students from all academic disciplines and in various stages of their academic and professional training (undergraduate, in-between programs, and graduate), who are interested in archaeology and anthropology.  We also encourage students who are interested in architectural history and history.  Credit and non-credit options are available; both include room and board, insurance, and ground transportation.  This is an RPA approved field school.  For more information, please contact Dr. Georgia Fox at  Applications are now available at .


Period(s) of Occupation: Historical archaeology, British Colonial, 17th-19th centuries.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 4 weeks

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
No experience required.

Room and Board Arrangements

Accommodations and meals are provided by the field school. Living accommodations will be in comfortable guest houses that are fully furnished and located in the quiet residential area of historic Nelson's Dockyard National Park at English Harbor. The houses are set on a hillside, and are cool and spacious, with adequate workspaces and a great scenic view of the sea. Three delicious meals a day are provided by our own fabulous cook. Everyone will meet at the main house for meals. All meals are varied, well balanced, and delicious. Breakfast is light - fresh fruit, cereal, and toast; Lunch is a brown bag sandwich affair to be eaten in the field during the week, with a warm lunch being served on weekends; Dinner is a full hot meal. Meals can be supplemented with snacks that are available at local shops. Students are not permitted to cook in the accommodations houses. All students will be expected to assist with kitchen duties on a rotational basis. Although we always try our best to accommodate those who have dietary restrictions, it is not always possible to provide meals that allow for restrictions in certain instances, as all students must be on the group meal plan.  If you have dietary restrictions, please contact Dr. Fox.

$3,925.00 (non-credit); $4,185.00 (credit)

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
California State University, Chico
Number of credits offered 4


Contact Information
Dr. Georgia Fox, Professor
Department of Anthropology, CSU Chico
(530) 898-5583
(530) 898-6143
Recommended Bibliography: 

Dyde, Brian. 2000. A History of Antigua. New York, MacMillan Education, Ltd.

Mintz, Sydney W. 1985. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York: Penguin Books. Singleton, Theresa. 1985. Archaeology of Slavery and Plantation Life. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press.