Contemporary Archaeology of the Recent Soufrière Hills Volcanic Eruptions on Montserrat

Author(s): Miriam Rothenberg

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

In July of 1995, the Soufrière Hills volcano began a series of eruptions that would fundamentally alter the communities and landscapes of the small Caribbean island of Montserrat. By the turn of the millennium, two-thirds of the island had been abandoned or destroyed, and a comparable proportion of the population had relocated abroad. This paper presents the initial results of an ongoing research project investigating the villages lost to volcanism, and the Montserratian community’s material engagements with this disaster. The project combines archaeological survey with ethnography to better understand the interplay between human actions and natural processes throughout the volcanic crisis. The findings of the project are employed to expand archaeological knowledge in two distinct ways: to understand Montserrat’s material record in its distinctly contemporary and Caribbean context, and to offer a degree of detail on site formation processes in volcanic landscapes that cannot generally be achieved when looking at the archaeological record of ancient disasters.

Cite this Record

Contemporary Archaeology of the Recent Soufrière Hills Volcanic Eruptions on Montserrat. Miriam Rothenberg. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449338)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24279