Historical documentation and archaeological investigation of Codrington Castle, Barbuda, West Indies
Annals of Carnegie Museum 66(3): 229-288
ISSN/ISBN: 0097-4463 Accession: 008779772
Codrington Castle was Barbuda's principal structure for almost two centuries (1680s-1870s) while the island was leased by the Codrington family. The building no longer exists because it was razed near the turn of the 20th century. Analysis of historical documents determines the Castle's position, configuration, and architecture; analysis of archaeological data verifies its chronology, construction, and renovation. The study concludes that: (1) three rectangular buildings sequentially occupied the same location; (2) these structures had different long-axis orientations; (3) the Castle's functions included defense, storage, administration, and habitation; and (4) an expansive subsurface archaeological feature delineates the extent of the second Castle. Descriptive analysis of the ceramics distinguishes imported wares from Afro-Caribbean pottery and defines three intermediate ceramic categories in which the syncretism of two pottery-making traditions is correlated with the ethnicity of the potters and manufacturing locations. Lithic artifacts are interpreted as evidence for direct exploitation of West Indian chert sources during the historic era or, alternatively, for the recycling of prehistoric artifacts by historic inhabitants. Manufacturing timespans and stratigraphic positioning of imported ceramic, glass, and kaolin pipe artifacts corroborate Codrington Castle's duration of occupation as determined from historic records. The Castle exemplifies Barbuda's role in provisioning the vast sugar estates that were the basis of the Codrington family's wealth.