NOTES and NEWS
ONE of the biggest excavations ever to take place in the British Commonwealth will shortly begin in Jamaica. The idea is to excavate and reconstruct Port Royal, which was the capital of Jamaica from 1655, when the British captured the island from the Spaniards, till 1694 when it was destroyed in a disastrous earthquake. During much of this time the governor was the notorious pirate Captain Henry Morgan. The ex cavations are planned from a tourist point of view: tourism is concentrated on the north coast of the island, and Port Royal is on the south, and it is hoped to pro vide a new form of attraction for a more sophisticated type of tourist. After excavation the build ings will be rebuilt and re-roofed, and perhaps even re-peopled, to provide a vivid picture of life in the early Americas.
Jamaica was originally discovered by Columbus in 1494, and for a century and a half it was a Spanish possession, with its capital first at New Seville, and later at Spanish Town, both of which may be excavated at a later stage. In addition there is under-water archaeology: two of the ships which accompanied Columbus on his last expedition are sunk in the bay, and it may prove feasible to raise them—and think what an attraction that could be to the inhabitants of the New World!
The vast scale of this sort of archaeology would deter many archaeologists, so the Jamaican Government has been very fortunate to secure the services of Mr. Philip Mayes as Technical Assistant to direct the excavation. Phil Mayes is an extrovert Yorkshireman who started as a P.T. instructor but then turned to archaeology, where he specialised in conducting largescale rescue digs for the Ministry and became an extra-mural lecturer in archaeology at Leeds University. His excavations at South Witham are included in this issue, and we reported on his successful reconstruction and firing of Medieval pottery kilns in our September, 1967 issue. His particular interest in later medieval pottery which led him to become the secretary of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology will prove very useful in identifying the colonial wares in Jamaica.
and much of it is highly relevant to British archaeology. The main problem is that of selection. But if only it is possible to compress a quarter of the information into the narrow confines of Current Archaeology, our German issue (probably March 1969) should not lack interest.
The outstanding site for us was Feddersen Wierde, a marsh village on the North Sea coast which was gradually drowned by the rising sea level in the first four centuries of our era. One by one the inhabitants slipped off to the drier climes of England, and their homes in Germany, well-stratified in the boggy tells have been brilliantly excavated and show a fascinating story of the social structure of the Anglo-Saxons in their original homes.
WE spent the month of June in Germany, which was, as always, a most stimulating place to visit. Germany is in many ways so similar to Britain in its size and its problems, yet the solutions to the problems are often so very different.
Archaeologically we had a very good visit, for we met practically everyone we wanted to meet, and we had a wonderful reception everywhere: there is so much going on.
ONE of the best villa excava tions in Southern England will be open for visitors on three days a week this summer, on Tues days, Thursday and Saturday after noons from August 12th to Sep tember 14th. This is at Sparsholt, just to the west of Winchester (grid ref. 168/415301) where our book reviewer David Johnston has been excavating for the last three years. The chief attraction is the fine mosaic floor which will be un covered once again: an appeal is being launched to raise this and