Underwater Survey of the Historic Anchorage for Portsmouth, Dominica


The town of Portsmouth, located on the northwestern coast of Dominica, is bordered by Prince Rupert’s Bay.  Utilized as a deepwater port off the Guadeloupe Passage, this coastline was preferred as a watering site by the indigenous Kalinago and by sailing ships entering and leaving the Caribbean Sea.  Dominica, originally a British colonial outpost (1763-1977), is strategically situated between the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.  From its inception, Portsmouth was a planned community and exchange depot.  Resources and troops for security of the area were provided from Fort Shirley, situated on the adjacent peninsular Cabrits.  During this archaeological project, diving surveys were made of GPS-referenced areas using 15-meter circle searches for exposed artifacts within the area designated on historic charts.  Artifacts were identified, photographed in situ, and their distribution recorded to delineate the anchorage.  These data document European visitations to Dominica and development of today’s vibrant community at Portsmouth.  

Cite this Record

Underwater Survey of the Historic Anchorage for Portsmouth, Dominica. Dennis Knepper, Raymond L Hayes, Bill Utley, Jim Smailes, Greg German, Francois van der Hoeven. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 434059)


Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 474