Muddy Bay

Late Ceramic Age (Post Saladoid)

Muddy Bay (PH-14) is a late period ceramic age site situated in Nonsuch Harbour. The area of prehistoric settlement is delineated by large quantities of shell and ceramic debitage. The site was investigated by Reg Murphy for his Masters Degree at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. David Cruz, also of Trent University completed a comparative study of the faunal remains for his Masters. Several others have conducted research at the site. Of note are, Christy de Mille, lithic analysis, and Dr. Paul Healy (Trent University) (field research and radiometric analysis).

While not rich in exotic artifacts, Muddy Bay provided good information about the late ceramic age on Antigua. It is situated in the dry northeastern section of the island, and has exceptionally good preservation of organic material. Phytoliths, pollen, and microbotanical remains have been recovered and further investigations of the site is pending. The site is classified as a coastal fishing village. It is in close proximity to a larger site that predates it (Nonsuch PH-11) by 300 years. As the lands on which the site is situated are privately owned, its destruction is inevitable.


In 2006 the amazing post Saladoid site PH-14 Muddy Bay was revisited by Dr. Murphy and Ph.D. candidate CUNY, Matthew Brown. Previous research in 1991 – 94 recovered a significant sample of ceramics, lithic material, and worked shell in dense midden deposits 1.5 meters deep. But the most interesting aspect of PH-14 is the remarkable preservation of organic material and many kilos of bone and carbonized material were recovered. Muddy Bay has been radiocarbon dated to AD1220. The site will eventually be lost to luxury waterfront residential development; a most unfortunate occurrence for such a special archaeological site with excellent organic preservation.

The excavated faunal material will provide training and research material for students for years to come. Most of the bones are from small reef fish, those typically caught in fish traps today, but many birds, iguana, and rodent bones were also noted. Rare species identified include a large Wood Stork, Burrowing owl, manatee, snakes, rice rats and guinea pigs. In addition, skeletal remains of a young female were excavated that were in direct association with the Wood Stork.

Post Saladoid SitesCoconut Hall | Mill Reef Muddy Bay | Winthorpes West