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Kevin Farmer, Deputy Director of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, during his lecture at the Holetown Methodist Church, yesterday.


Archaeological legislation beneficial

One historian believes that the establishment of archaeological legislation would be of great benefit to Barbados.

This is the view of Kevin Farmer, Deputy Director of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, who, during his lecture at the Holetown Methodist Church, revealed that archaeology was not yet legislated in Barbados, but could be of great benefit to the island.

He explained that because of this lack of legislation, the excavation of historical sites depended on the ‘moral suasion’ of institutions like the Museum and UWI in speaking with developers and land owners, in hopes that permission would be granted that allowed for the excavation of the property.

He stated that sometimes this excavation was usually carried out before development of after a landowner found something interesting in their backyard.

Farmer believes that the legislation should follow that of some North American jurisdictions and in Europe, where before development occurs, archaeology is allowed to be a part of the mitigation for a site.

“And what it then does, because all of this in those countries is paid for by the developer, it allows us a better understanding of our past and allows for the growth or the outlet for researchers and contributors to not only practice their craft but practice their craft in understanding how to reconstruct our past and understanding how we can learn from it,” he said.

“It also then allows us to in fact honour some of the international agreements that we have signed in the country and by doing so once we know what we have and are able to identify it, can retard and slow down that trade of illicit trafficking of cultural goods that happens around the world as we are tied into that system.”

Farmer told media that he believes this legislation would help them, as historians, piece together Barbados’ history.

He explained that as it stood now, there were some gaps in the historical record and the only way to fill those gaps was through archaeology.

“This is both land and marine-based archaeology so we get a better understanding of who we are, how we would have utilised particular spaces, how we would have lived, worked and died and thereby knowing who we are,” he said.

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