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THE ROOTS OF MHRP - JAMAICA

Since 1989 archaeological investigation into the heritage of the Maroons, groups of people who escaped from slavery and formed independent communities and pioneered struggle against slavery in the New World, was initiated by the University of the West Indies. Established and directed by E. Kofi Agorsah, then the Moulton Barrett Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of the West Indies, the project has undertaken archaeological surveys, mapping and excavation of Maroon sites in Jamaica and Suriname. The research project was initially dubbed UWI Mona Archaeological Research Project (UMARP) and later Maroon Heritage Research Project (MHRP). The main objective of the project is to identify, through archaeological investigation, supported by ethnographic evidence, cultural responses of the Maroons to transformations in ecological, political, social and economic conditions occurring in the New World during colonial times. In addition to general data collection on site distribution in the Caribbean and the Americas, the project has so far conducted investigations in Jamaica generally and specifically at the sites of: Nanny Town, Marshall's Hall, Old Accompong and Seaman's Valley and located a host of others in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. Additional ethnographic data on Maroon warfare, political and social systems, herbal medicine and other aspects of Maroon heritage have been and will continue to be collected at subsequent stages of the project.

The MHRP project is the first of its kind of research on the archaeology of Maroon heritage in the New World, and the support received from Universities, individuals, and other research institutions in the Caribbean and North America has been enormous, resulting in the accumulation of a large body and a wide range of data in the laboratories of the University of the West Indies, Jamaica and the Suriname National Museum in Paramaribo. >>>